Consider an ethical issue faced by American businesses in the international arena. What are the ethical issues involved? If the issue was domestic, what would the proper solution be? How does expanding into the global context change your analysis? Do we have to consider ethics universally or in terms of specific practices within a country?
Please cite a case or news article that contributes to your answer. You do not have to agree with the result or the analysis in the article.
Respond to two peer post:
Peer Post 1:
Many companies choose to seek cheap labor in many different countries because of the willingness to work for far cheaper than would be possible in the states. A lot of the products that make their way onto American retail stores are made abroad in places like Taiwan and China. Because there are no labor laws or unions in these foreign countries, the labor and wages are extremely cheap, thereby increasing the overall profit after markup of an already cheaply made product. There are a couple different reasons this is ethically wrong. For one, they are avoiding the creation of jobs in the US that could be used in helping their own economy. Additionally, there are often children that work in these factories abroad that could be considered “too young” to be working in factories that sometimes have harsh conditions.
Whether or not work conditions and labor laws differ from country to country is a moot point. In other areas of the world, cultures have different views on age limits of workers and also the conditions that are considered appropriate or inappropriate. This context doesn’t change my personal belief that it is wrong for a child to work in a factory or that it is somewhat wrong for big name corporations to send work overseas in order to make a bigger profit. However it doesn’t matter what I THINK is wrong in another country. It is what it is and what I deem to be immoral or unethical doesn’t necessarily hold weight in another region. Because of this, I don’t think it is possible to hold a universal standard across the globe for their practices as well as our own.
Peer Post 2:
An example of ethical issues that involve American businesses, in the international arena, would be organizations that hire children, and pay them very low wages for them to produce our goods. This is called child labor and there are Child Labor Laws against this type of treatment. Bureau of International Affairs watches and monitors countries that they believe are involved in the production of produced goods in violation of child labor laws (United States Department of Labor, 2016).
Ethically, organizations paying children pennies a day to work themselves to the point of exhaustion so they can afford a piece of bread is beyond disgusting. Especially when those companies turn around and sell that product for a large mark-up to make huge profits. A solution to child labor laws, may be to out these companies that choose to make money this way. By outing companies that conduct business this way, you can cause damage by hurting their profit. If people choose to boycott, investors may pull out to save themselves and then those companies cannot survive (Short, 2014).
Reference: Short, K. (2014). The Global Crisis of Child Labor, In 1 Map. Retrieved from Huffington Post:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/29/child-labor-map_n_5631384.html
United States Department of Labor. (2016). List of Good Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor. Retrieved from:https://www.dol.gov/ilab/reports/child-labor/list-of-goods/