M12 Mondelli

I was very curious as to what the Drowning Child was going to be about. It made sense in the end, and got me to really think about how we as a society spend our money. Everyone spends money on things that are valuable to them. Having a job to earn money is laborious, so the resources we obtain with that money have to be worth our time and effort. The fact that we don’t spend money to help others is very alarming. As one of the richest countries on the planet, we have the potential to be the nation with the largest generosity. That title falls to Myanmar according to the World Giving Index . The United States ranks fifth, while Myanmar is only classified as a middle income country.

The government tries to encourage people to donate and help others by giving people deductibles on their taxes. The speaker in the video brought up an interesting idea. At what point is our money not ours to use? We should money to help others. This video has challenged me in the way I think about generosity and giving. When society finally decides it wants to help everyone and not just themselves, then the world will be a better place.

M9 Mondelli

The Hawthorne effect is a huge motivator. For a couple summers I worked in a landscaping job. I was a member of a small crew of six. We worked outside for 8 hours a day in all weather conditions. Occasionally, our boss would buy us pizza for lunch. While that may seem like a small thing, we really appreciated it when he did. When the board of the company commented on what a nice job we were doing, it gave us pride in our work and we were more motivated to be more efficient.

On the other hand, our boss was mainly un-motivating and indecisive. He would tell us to do unrealistic tasks and make decisions without consulting the more experienced workers. Sometimes we would do extra work so he could see what it looked like, but if he had just asked us we could have provided the information, saving the company money. One of the most un-motivating and demoralizing things he did was make us move about a hundred trash cans and picnic tables for an event, and then move them right back. We had to come in on our day off to move everything back. He didn’t plan things very well, and we often got the brunt of his mistakes.

M8 Mondelli

2. The idea of parking lots is intriguing. I do not understand why someone would feel they need a firearm in their car at all times. Workplace violence killed 403 individuals in 2014 out of the 4,679 fatal workplace injuries according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. You are more likely to die from an accident at work, than from someone else. I feel that we should respect other’s property rights and refrain from bringing a firearm to work.

3. I do not agree with the NRA. Our school district in Fairbanks forbids firearms on the premises, but it has not endangered our rights to bear arms. Gun advocates have been very guilty in politicizing the issue, but some of it comes from the other side as well. I feel this is an issue between the company and their employees because it directly effects them and their daily choices. Depending on how the company views things, you can choose not to work for them.

4. I can understand both sides of the argument, and it something I have struggled with myself lately. While there probably several teachers and other faculty members in Alaskan schools who know how to safely handle firearms and are willing to use them, that is not the case everywhere. I do not think the presence of guns automatically violates the rights of students or other teachers because guns themselves are merely tools. Heart disease and obesity are a greater risk to people than gun violence. According to an NBC News article, “Heavyburden: Obesity may be even deadlier than we thought,” by Maggie Fox in 2013, almost 598,000 people are killed every year due to heart disease. This is contrasted with a BBC News article relaying how many people were killed by firearms in 2015 as 13,286. The food we eat is more dangerous.

This does not dispel the fact that gun violence towards children seems to becoming an alarming norm. Arming teachers in Alaska may prove to be effective because our view towards guns is different from someone in a big city area. I would like to think that people who use them safely consider them tools, and not weapons. There are several different variables to consider when discussing guns. Unfortunately, all it takes is one person to misuse it to cause massive destruction. I do not think we pay our teachers enough for the ever increasing amount of responsibility they have. We expect them to educate the nation’s future leaders, teach them life skills, and social interactions, as well as protect their lives. Police officers get several months of training, and hours of experience before they are “qualified” to look after others. What are we doing to assist teachers in this manner.

Based on this argument, I would discourage the idea of arming teachers. Everyone has the right to their own opinion and experiences. With so many different aspects at fault in school shootings and other areas of violence, I believe a multi-faceted approach is required.

 

M7 Mondelli

 

Based on the reading, and my own knowledge, both groups of people should pay to keep the environment clean and healthy. The individuals that cause the pollution obviously need to be held accountable for their own actions. Individuals who stand to benefit from protection and restoration should pay as well because they have a vested interest in the area/commodity. By paying, they are enabling themselves to have a say in how the area is utilized. The book points out a common scientific theme about ecosystems. They affect everyone, not just the people who are “tree-huggers”. When the individuals who favor protection and restoration are held accountable for their viewpoints, they are also made protectors of the commons to keep the tragedy of the commons from taking place. Accountability helps to reduce any sort of free-rider problems.

Others might argue that someone should not have to pay for clean air or water because we have the right to a livable environment such as William T. Blackstone. He has a good point, however when does your interest in keeping the water clean get to infringe on my right to make money? This is the main environmental ethical issue that Americans face today. Companies will try to claim they are going to give back to the community through social responsibility programs, but does that really matter if there is no clean air for children to breathe while playing in this new expensive park paid for by an oil company? Because we all have an interest in keeping our environments safe, everyone should work together to keep it livable. I think we will continue to argue about who is “right” in different situations, but more and more, the environmentalists are gaining ground due to climate change. People are just now beginning to see what a company did 100 years ago affects us now. Take a drive up the Steese Highway, for example. Beside the road, the landscape has been altered due to mining early in the 20th century. The huge rock piles from long gone gold dredges litter the roadside. We will never know how this area looked before the gold rush. The main crux of this argument is to remember that all of our actions today have consequences, and we need to scrutinize our decisions so they do not endanger others along the line.

M5 Mondelli

The most alarming part of the film was the idea that corporations could patent life. I was also equally disheartened to hear more about the cancer causing agents that have spread across the globe due to American interests. As a biologist, the idea of patenting life is dangerous. It makes it almost impossible for more than one person to study something, leading to almost a monopoly on an area of research. This is unethical as well because if a company is not putting money into a specific cancer gene research, and people would benefit from it, they have taken the right away from those who could help. By patenting life, research almost stops. What is pursued is based on the company’s interest, not those of the people.

C) One company in the film stated that “falsifying news is not actually against the law.” Describe if you think this is an accurate statement in relation to ethical norms.  Defend your position.

Most people would agree that lying is not ethical, especially if a company deceives someone into buying a product. This theory sounds much like marketing, further implicating the corporations that perpetuate this issue. In the first chapter of our textbook we discussed the idea that even if something is not against the law, it does not mean it is ethically right. Some would argue that in this case, falsifying news is against the law. Companies get punished when the false news is discovered usually by stock prices and, if injury occurs, with compensation to the victims. A CNN Money  article published in November of 2017 explained the wrongdoing of multiple Japanese manufacturers who faked data. Their stock plummeted, and they were forced to recall thousands of vehicles, but there is no mention of any criminal action taking place. Based on how people react to fake news and alternative facts, falsifying news is unethical. We don’t like to be lied to, and when companies do so, they risk the reputation of their business.

M4- Mondelli

Initially after reading Benjamin Powell’s article, I saw the reasoning behind sweatshops and how they are beneficial to the people who work in them. The people who work in sweatshops usually earn more money than their counterparts. A steady job allows for more financial security, and the ability for the country to develop as a whole.

What this article did not address, was the vast business empire of contractors behind every company like Nike or H&M. Micheal Hobbes outlays a dismal outcome for sweatshops in his article, “The Myth of the Ethical Shopper” . Hobbes explains the deplorable working conditions and the various horrifying accidents that occurred throughout the world in sweatshops. Because of the rate of fashion trends, companies like Nike make a design and then send it to a contractor. This contractor sources other contractors to find enough factories to make all the product. This leads to a long paper trail. Many companies do not even know where their clothing comes from, let alone the conditions they are being made in. Even if companies prohibit their clothing to come from notoriously dangerous factories, the subcontractors can easily circumnavigate legislation.

Americans have the right to be morally concerned about where their products are coming from. Hobbes claims that we cannot rely on boycotting to get better conditions for workers in sweatshops. Powell explains the workers have the ability to make money, and we should encourage that. These two conflicting ideas come back to safety. If I would not work in these conditions, I would not expect others to work there either. Until more countries develop better ways to protect their workers, companies should work to cut out the endless contractors and subcontractors that haze the entire buying process. If H&M were to work directly with factories, they would be responsible for the conditions and issues (if any arose) that are related to those factories. If its conditions were awful, then we could boycott the companies in order to inspire change. Right now, clothing brands are so far removed from their products, they can’t even tell you what part of the world they come from.

M2 Mondelli

 

After reviewing the various theories in this chapter, Prima Facie Obligations kept coming up. In Alaska, I’m sure we’ve all experience our fair share of helping someone out of the ditch on the way to a social engagement. My specific situation occurred when I was on my way to attend church on Sunday morning. Most individuals would consider attend religious ceremony as a moral obligation. My sister and I had just left our house when we spotted a dog in the road. We both agreed we should help the dog. It took us a long time to corral the dog and find the owner, but eventually we succeeded. By that time we had finished giving the dog back to his owner, church was almost over.

This situation is an example of a Prima Facie Obligation because one obligation was superseded by another obligation. Leaving a dog all alone on the road is not very ethical. This obligation came before going to church that Sunday morning. Because one obligation came before another one, it is a Prima Facie Obligation.

M1 (Mondelli)

How do we develop our ethics? What are the primary sources for us to develop our ethical position?

Developing ethics comes from our various experiences. For some people these experiences are the result of their religious upbringing, and for others it can come from their family and society in general. As a young child you are taught what is expected by trying new things. Depending on how people react (badly vs. praise) you learn what is okay, and behaviors to avoid. Someone’s moral code/ethics are the result of the influence of a large portion of their experience. Personally, I grew up going to church (and still attend). Today, I consider the people I go to church with as my “church family”. The people and experiences I had as a young child have helped shape me into the person I am today. On the other hand, my biological family has also set standards that I was expected to follow. Lying, cheating, and other behaviors were not okay in my home because my parents said they were not acceptable, in addition to being frowned upon by my church behavior. As I got older, I learned more about why I do what I do. Understanding the consequences to my behavior helped flesh out my ethics. Tripping another player in a soccer game will only get me ejected and won’t help out my team is just an example.

Someone’s ethical position can change, but it usually takes a large “a-ha” moment before change occurs. Our ethics are the some of the most ingrained values that we possess, so to change them requires great effort. This is important to note in terms of developing our ethics. If we want to change how we perceive the world or how we act, it will take a lot of effort and a reason to do so. We look to people we respect and determine what they do. For religious people, it could be someone, or a group of people from a religious text such as Jesus or Buddha. People often look to ethical people throughout history as examples to follow such as Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, Mother Theresa, and others. Areas of contention allow for people to display their ethics and receive feedback from others. If I tripped the soccer player mentioned earlier, my coach may have a long with me after the game, in addition with my parents which may not approve of my actions. After performing this action, I would have to modify my code of ethics to include not tripping people.  Our experiences and the people we surround ourselves with help to develop our ethics.