M4 – Misty Karella

How can you justify the role of “sweatshops” after reading the article? 

According to the article, the justification for “sweatshops” is that these companies actually provide a wage that is significantly higher compared to the rest of the country (i.e. in Haiti and Nicaragua, the wage offered is between 700-800% higher than the national average….which is huge!).  These workers are provided a “better” quality of life, because without these jobs, they could be forced into prostitution or have no jobs at all.

The companies also bring in more technology and physical capital into the country, introducing the country and people to globalization and different lifestyles.  Eventually, as the capital accumulates, and the standard of living and skills for these people raise, then more sweatshops will open and the companies will be competing for workers.  This will eventually allow for better wages and working conditions and its all because of the “sweatshops”.

Do some research and read at least one other article(s) with the opposing view.  What are the arguments against sweatshops?

Some of the arguments against sweatshops include:

  • “Sweatshops pay low wages and subject workers to harsh conditions”
  • “Sweatshops use child labor”
  • “Sweatshops are coercive environments”
  • “Sweatshops destroy local cultures and exploit developing nations”

http://oneminute.rationalmind.net/sweatshops/

What should large conglomerates do regarding the use of “sweatshops?”

One of the ways these companies could do is to adhere to the “Accord on Fire and Building Safety”.  When the Rana Plaza Building collapsed in 2013, over 70 companies signed up for the accord, ensuring the public that they are buying their clothes from places that minimally adhere to these standards, so that workers were provided safe working conditions.

Companies should also role out a plan that indicates that they will Implement incremental changes every year; such as increases to wages and benefits.  They should also advertise the fact they are doing this.  More and more people are “aware” of where there clothing is coming from, so buying from a company that supports developing nations in a healthy way would boost stock…which would eventually lead to more benefits to the “sweatshop workers”.

http://blogs.sps.ed.ac.uk/jwi/2013/11/24/how-sweatshops-benefit-workers-and-why-they-are-unjust/

http://content.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1115508,00.html

M2 – Misty Karella

I found connections with two different theories from this Chapter.  The first being Egoism and the other being Prima Facie Obligations.

Consequentialist Theory – Egoism:

My husband and I were, unfortunately, victims of a ponzi scheme.  And it was devastating.  Just like in the case of Madoff, where is was a respected financier and even the president of the NASDAQ Stock Exchange, the person we got into business with was a trusted friend, a pastor, and even served on the local school board.  We had no reason to believe that we would ever foresee what was to come, but “Egoism advocates individual self-interest as its guiding principle”…and that is exactly what happened.  This person decided to use the investment money he had received from numerous friends and family for his own personal enjoyment, versus re-investing that money into the company or even paying his employees.  He chose to go on lavish vacations, re-model his home, and all the while, providing us with “stocks” in a basically non-existent company.

This statement really stood out to me: “Ethical egoism condones blatant wrongs.”  This person blatantly stole from his investors and employees, and truly thought it was okay.  When he was finally confronted, he gave no excuse, but rather preached forgiveness and acceptance.  It truly made me question my own religious beliefs. And I was astonished at how great of a manipulator this trusted person was.

Nonconsequentialist Theory – Prima Facie Obligations:

This section also really hit home for me.  Not only am I a Wife and mother, but I am also a student, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a godmother, an investment property owner/manager, and the list could go on and on.  I am constantly faced with conflicting, but often equally important obligations in my life.  I often have to choose one over the other in order to achieve “long-term” happiness versus “short-term” happiness.  I often have to “break a promise” to my husband because I have a school assignment due or cancel my “date” with my daughter because there is an issue with our rental property.  It saddens me that my family obligations usually suffer the most. It was very interesting to read the last section of the chapter, where it talks about a practical approach to moral decision making.  I feel this is exactly how I approach my Prima Facie Obligations.

M1 – Misty Karella

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

Before I even read the chapter, I jotted down what I thought Ethics was, which to me, is a learned behavior.  We learn what is right and wrong from a combination of things such as our family, friends, co-workers, teachers, mentors, religion, culture, society, environment, and experiences.  These norms have developed and changed from generation to generation, but nonetheless, they were passed on to us.  We take all of that advice we received, in addition to all the experiences we have had, and we create our own moral compass.  The author gave a pretty similar description: “Many things influence what morals principles we accept: our early upbringing, the behavior of those around us, the explicit and implicit standards of our culture, our own experiences, and our critical reflections on those experiences.” (10)

Because I believe Ethics is a ‘learned’ behavior versus something we were automatically born with, I was confused when the author made this comment: “Often we act morally out of habit or just because that is the kind of person we are.” (12)  This was specifically in regards to the “Morality Needn’t Rest on Religion” section; however, I completely disagree with this statement.  You had to have learned that behavior from someone…you just don’t do something out of habit because you were born that way.  It’s a habit because you were taught right from wrong from someone else.  The whole section I thought was very biased against people who believed in God; the author could have provided another perspective without diminishing one’s belief.  Which brings up the whole issue of Ethnocentrism…and Ethical Relativism.  The author states, “What is important, however, is not how we acquired the beliefs we have, but whether or to what extent those beliefs withstand critical scrutiny.” (10) What?!  Who decides what is right and wrong?  And by what authority do they have?  Is it that specific society? The author indicates that both views are mistaken; however, he doesn’t actually list what is right either.