A while back I wrote a letter to the Science journal about the benefits of science in human health and improvement of the living standard worldwide. I didn’t think too much of it at the time; the Science journal is very prestigious and gets tons of submitted letters and articles which get rejected due to lack of space. Needless to say, I was rejected many times on letters and articles I submitted which I felt were more interesting and substantial than the one I submitted last. But to my surprise, Science decided to publish this short letter this time around. Although it may not seem much to many people, to me it is a big deal to publish even a sentence in such a prestigious journal. Looks like a good end to this week and perhaps a good start to the following week!
Although the event that took place on United where the crew had a passenger being dragged out of the plane for the simple reason of not willing to give up his seat it’s abhorring and should never happen, it could not have occurred at a better time (http://edition.cnn.com/2017/04/10/travel/passenger-removed-united-flight-trnd/). The following day our topic in international business management was business ethics. Courtesy to Eddie Constantinescu which joined us in Taiwan from Chicago via video conference, he discussed with us the United Airlines incident which is nothing short of a perfect case study for business ethics. What did we all learn from this “case study” that was still taking place as we’re discussing it? If businesses can’t behave ethically, at least the fear of losing money or total collapse will prompt them to first, offer a fake apology and stop behaving unethically towards customers or the rest of the world. Moreover, quite a few businesses engage in some or all such practices: destroy the environment, pollute and abuse many of their employees legally and illegally.
It is however more difficult to get businesses to act ethically when it comes to products or resources obtained from countries where bribes and local laws do not stand in the way of child labor, gender discrimination and other demeaning employment practices and protocols. If there are no good means or ways to make such businesses suffer financially and send their stocks tumbling, they’re likely going to continue in their unethical practices. In recent years “blood” is diversifying from blood diamonds into other sorts of blood, such as “blood smartphones” as discussed in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZ3BoqypGYU. The question is, how can such unethical business behavior in all the different situations mentioned here be prevented?
Financial losses from decreasing purchases and tumbling stocks have done wonders since the social media and smartphone era began. People can quickly take snapshots of anything and rapidly spread the news and surprisingly some forget the kind of era we live in. We are aware that businesses can only survive by making profits, however, we all need to realize we are watching or reading such distressing news on our phone, pc, or other e-communication device at the expense of children and many other unethical business practices. In other words, we condemn businesses which know they are using products and resources or have in their supply chain other businesses that use child labor, have unsafe working conditions, pollute the environment, etc., but we still buy their products. Are we ready to stop using our smart phones because of the reality of how they are made? Can people worldwide unite in awareness and push businesses to be more ethical by refusing to buy their products and services or making their stocks tumble if businesses can’t help themselves? Sure people can do it, United Airlines serves as a good example as it seems that nowadays it’s the only way that works! But the question is, as one of the students asked in the class “Will it always continue this way”? In other words is it nothing except the fear of losing money going to motivate businesses to do anything right?