Ch. 12 - Read pg. 471-478 (editors introduction); 492-501...

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Read pg. 471-478 (editors introduction); 492-501 (Maitland on sweatshops); 501-516 (Arnold and Bowie on sweatshops) Ch. 12 Notes Ethics in the context of MNCs o Multi national Corporations pose a special and very interesting problem when it comes to business ethics When corporations operate in an international context, which laws and ethical norms are they obliged to follow? o This is an important question both for proponents of classical, free market economics (CSR) and for socially-minded business ethicists (SJ) What if a corporation operates in more than one society and these societies have differing laws and ethical customs? How do executives decide how to operate? How do business owners, boards of directors, and stockholders provide input? What principles should be used? The answer can’t simple be: Always do what is most profitable , because high profits can be consistent with atrocious, horrific working conditions and treatment of people (think of the links between fascism and corporations) Also, the answer can’t simply be: Do whatever is the custom in the place you are doing business, because the place you are doing business might be engaged in committing just such atrocities And NO! you can’t get out of this by finding some lawless slice of land in the middle of nowhere and operating from there. So, let’s try to work our way out of this one o We’ll assume with our editors that a relativist, head-in-the-sand, who’s- to-judge? Approach won’t work o And here, the critique of relativist position gains some real force This is not an abstract theoretical question about whether we can find the grounds for objective morality (perhaps we can’t) This is a real-world situation in which laws and norms can come into conflict and demand resolution (some decision has to be made one way or the other, so we need some decision procedure, value, criteria, principles, etc.) Most mainstream business ethicists offer a variation on what we have seen thus far—they try to build non-relativist theories, frameworks, and policies that appeal to widespread, widely shared ethical principles (rights, social utility, virtues, etc.) o They also appeal to international legal agreements and the principles that underlie them o This provides them with a kind of critical lens through which various international business practices can be assessed
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It’s important to appreciate the force of this situation for the CSR model; it will not be enough to preach the virtues of the market and denounce fraud, coercion,
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This note was uploaded on 05/03/2008 for the course PHIL 320 taught by Professor Calarco during the Spring '08 term at CSU Fullerton.

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Ch. 12 - Read pg. 471-478 (editors introduction); 492-501...

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