Noam Chomsky-Marijuana

The debate on marijuana’s legality has been a long one. Slowly, it seems, states have warmed up to the idea, coaxed by the promises of tax funds and less police reports. Dispensaries and other government-regulated facilities have created a safer environment to obtain the drugs and illegal activity has been curbed. Many would say this is a progressive time for America, if not unprecedented.

However, America is a bit behind when it comes to regulating marijuana for profit. Many European countries have begun regulating and taxing drugs a long time ago–and not just marijuana. Amsterdam might seem like a radical example, but the legalization of most drugs has had some interesting consequences. Yes, making most drugs legal puts dangerous substances into the hands of those who otherwise wouldn’t have access to them, and yes, tax earnings are very high as well, but I think that rather than an economical analysis, the legalization of drugs comes from more of a cultural standpoint.

Europe has a history of drug legalization, while America has just the opposite. Prohibition is still a pseudo-recent event in American history.  As American culture evolves, along with it’s national viewpoints, drug legalization will fluctuate.

Module 8 Vorderbruggen

8.4 case study questions 2,3,4

2. I believe employees have a moral right to store firearms in their vehicles while at work. I think it can be argued well enough that a vehicles count as private property, so while the car is indeed parked on a company’s private property of a parking lot, the gun is still contained within the owner’s property. As long as the firearm does not LEAVE the car, except in case of dire emergency, they should be able to store it there.

However, I also think the company should have the legal right to ban guns on their premise, within vehicles or not. The company should have the final say, legally, about the subject, as any incident with firearms would be on their property or in their facility. Because of this, I believe their concern is warranted, as an armed conflict on company property would lead to a large amount of legal concerns.


3. If companies ban firearms from their parking lots, I do not believe it would be “a wrecking ball to the second amendment.” The company is not the government, and private policy is not gun-restricting legislature. It is a park of the work environment, and should be left to a case-by-case basis for each company to decide how to approach the issue. I believe, slightly, that gun advocates have politicized the issue, which can lead to absolutes or wild accusations about the government.

“Corporations are not individuals, they argue, but artificial legal entities, whose ‘rights’ are entirely at the discretion of the state.” (pg322)

If it is true that anti-gun agendas are being pushed through corporations by the government, then I would be willing to agree about the whole wrecking ball thing. But as it stands, I would like to think that companies have enough independence that they are allowed to decide workplace policy on their own.


4.The topic of guns in schools is a hot button issue. However, I do not think arming teachers is a correct answer. Kids, especially ones in younger grades, can hurt themselves in many different ways. And, in these early grades, it can be a valuable lesson. “Don’t run with scissors.” “Don’t try to balance on the exercise ball.” “Tie your shoelaces.”

I don’t believe having a firearm in the classroom is a safe idea. Negligence is a common mishap, and regardless of how well these teachers are instructed, accidents are bound to happen.

Someone could easily state that any mishaps would be overshadowed by the benefit of deterring potential shooters, and it’s a fair point. Whether or not having firearms in a school increases or decreases the safety of the working environment is a tricky question, and one without any past precedent. It is something that could go either way.

Vorderbruggen M5

For me, what was the most alarming part of this film was the human rights granted to corporations, and how easily abused and manipulated those rights can be. Corporations with rights hold protection against possible offenses against them, allowing them to continue unethical practice in the name of business. In today’s modern setting, this can become much more threatening, in way of monopolies and mega-corps. Where before, in the 1800’s and 1900’s, trust-busting held corporations in line, modern sanctions seem very relaxed on the potential growth of these “living” corporations.

B) One economist stated that within a corporation, “there was no soul to save and nobody to incarcerate.” Explain what he meant by that.

One that note, with corporations holding human rights, you are greeted with an impasse of morality. Where a normal person would use their rights to protect themselves as a person, a corporation is more interested in personal gain. With that in mind, this quote illustrates how a corporation corrupts the idea of personal rights; you cannot convince a faceless entity that what it’s doing is wrong when there is no one person in control of its actions. Even worse, as a corp is created by possibly hundreds of thousands of corporations and potentially other companies, the acting of breaking up or “incarcerating” a corporation is nigh impossible. If the United States government were to enact sanctions on a company, which they won’t due to economic dependency on such corps, the process would be long, tedious, and essentially pointless, as by the time all was said and done, going through those rights would cost more time and resources than anyone would be willing to spend. In this way, with ‘no soul to save’ and ‘nobody to incarcerate’, corporations exist as faceless oligopolies, too big and protected for anyone to bother messing with.

M4 Vorderbruggen

The ethical and business stances of sweatshops is and has always been a largely debated topic, and with both sides holding strong arguments, taking a side is a complicated process. To begin, Benjamin Powell provides a good argument for justifying sweatshops in his article. On that note, Benjamin Powell also really rubs me the wrong way; “…compared to the alternative employment available to me and probably you.” Guy needs to get over himself, looking like a lukewarm glass of milk left to sit on the kitchen counter for three hours.

That aside, Powell used a few different points in his argument for sweatshops, and they were good ones. The main idea of the article was that sweatshop work was better and paid more than the second best alternative. This is something I see brought up often in sweatshop discussion, and for good reason. This is probably the single most compelling aspect of sweatshops; for if people weren’t working there, the next best thing would more than likely be more dangerous or pay less. Powell illustrates this with his reference to child prostitution. Powell also brought up the point of perspective; that while $3.10 a day might seem like spare change in our American society, the purchasing power of those few dollars increases significantly in reference to native currency. This is a problem many anti-sweatshop protesters fall into — using American dollar wages to push their point without consideration of the price of goods in these foreign markets. Lastly, one of Powell’s final points was that sweatshops are a part of the developmental process of a country, citing that both the U.S. and Britain had sweatshops for many decades. Overall, Powell presented a thorough, confident argument and it is easy to see how one could stand on the pro-sweatshop side.

A journal by Denis Arnold and Norman Bowie from 2007 concisely lists several of the main points against sweatshops. They argue that multi-nation corporations must “adhere to local labor laws, to refrain from coercion, to meet minimum health and safety standards, and to pay workers a living wage.” (Arnold, 1). These are all things that have been echoed time and time again during the sweatshop debate. If a corporation is going to sink its feet in foreign waters, it has a duty to provide decent standards for its workers, in pay and in environment. The argument continues that, instead of forcing these duties through legislation like in the past, companies need to voluntarily perform these actions without coercion. As nice as that would be, if companies voluntarily put the well-being of the people first, they probably wouldn’t be building sweatshops overseas in the first place. Although some legislature has improved minimum labor standards for sweatshops, many feel as though companies could be doing more for those they choose to employ.

When it comes to what these large conglomerates should be doing from a personal standpoint, I find myself siding closer with Powell and his annoying self-importance. I agree with the points that sweatshops are, currently, the best available option for many workers overseas, as unfortunate as it is. In a journal published by Benjamin Powell and Matt Zwolinski in 2011, they take a critical look at the ethical and economics arguments against sweatshops. They state that current ethical arguments fail to undermine the economic prosperity of sweatshops, and improving conditions and benefits would end up causing adverse conditions to workers, mainly in the form of lay-offs. It comes down to the harsh point that economic machines such as sweatshops are rarely meant to be ethical at all; they exist for profit for large corporations and the benefits employees reap should already be considered fortunate. Such machines exist as the very real, ugly face of capitalism, and they will continue to exist until countries develop beyond them. With that point, I believe sweatshops are only acceptable under the pretense that they serve as a developmental tool for a country – providing income and economic growth until a country begins to function with more sophisticated systems, as we’ve seen with countries like the U.S. and Britain. If a corporation forcefully stunts that growth, using a country’s economic situation to grind for further profit, and prevents them from developing beyond that point, sweatshops are no longer the best option for those workers and the country would be better off without them.


Works Cited-

Arnold, Denis G, and Norman E Bowie. “Respect for Workers in Global Supply Chains: Advancing the Debate Over Sweatshops.” Business Ethics Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 1, Jan. 2007.

Powell, Benjamin, and Matt Zwolinski. “The Ethical and Economic Case Against Sweatshop Labor: A Critical Assessment.” 12 Sept. 2011.

M2 Vorderbruggen

At some point in your life, I hope you have observed some of these normative theories in action.  Choose a situation from your life and describe how it applies to one of the theories we have studied in Chapter 2 (Kant, Egoism, Utilitarianism, Good Will, Prima Facie Obligations, others, etc.). Discuss why you identified that particular situation with the stated theory. Be sure to describe the situation or example.  If you have not observed a theory in action in your life, find an example in our history and discuss how the theory applies to the situation.

Kants idea of good will within consideration of duty is something I found interesting. The idea that good only exists when someone performs the act from a sense of duty was essential to his theories, and it’s something that’s worth some thought. The idea that actions have, as named in the book, ‘moral worth’ depending on the motivation behind them was something I felt had a degree of truth. Most people’s actions have a noble sense of moral worth behind them, with examples to back it up. Soup kitchens, charities, and acts of compassion among others things where the volunteer has no expectations for return are good examples of what Kant defined as good will.

As far as a real life example goes, today at Fred’s there was a beggar on the curb. Definitely not an unusual sight for Fairbanks. Just like many others, he held a cardboard sign asking for help. “Need help to save my family” it read. Personally, I do not usually give to someone on the street corner, but this touched me. Steering over, I gave the man a loaf of bread. Driving away i immediately thought to myself that i probably should’ve given him some money instead of a loaf of bread. Honestly i felt pretty bad about it. i still do. I dont know how far a loaf of bread is going to go but it cant be that far.

In closing, Kant’s theories are something that can help analyze why people make the choices they do and how important it is to look at the underlying motives that drive people to do the things they do.

Vorderbruggen M1

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

Ethics define our world. How we feel about things, how we treat people, and what forms the conscience inside us. These are all things we learn at a young age, in the environment we find ourselves raised in, and the surrounding people and role models. In the early days of learning good and bad, the people closest to us help define that standard for us. By learning from those around us, we create a beginning position for our ethical stance. Parents, mentors, and friends all help provide an example that influences what we think is right in the world.

Eventually, though, when we become older and the world comes more into focus, the source of our ethical position changes. Although what we were taught as children becomes rooted within us, it suddenly becomes our own choice what to make of our choices and situations. At that point, through education and contemplation, we create a new ethical stance to compliment how we have grown to see the world.