Business Ethics: Term Definition

Dealing with the issues of ethics is a rather complicated matter, especially when it comes to the ethics and ethical values in the world of business. Needless to say, business is the phenomenon that respects few ethical principles accepted by the society, but there are ethical basics in business as well. First of all, any business should be concerned with the needs of its employees and customer; however, the needs of the society as a whole are also to be taken into consideration (Shaw and Barry, 2007). However, such activities as export of capital for production abroad, export of commodities which have been banned from sale in the United States, and export of commodities which have the potential for misuse are rather controversial drawing from the ethical point of view.

First of all, export of capital for production abroad has its pros and cons from the purely ethical point of view. The support of the activity is based on the facts that export of capital for production abroad develops the industry of the country where the production is located and helps the citizens of that country with being employed and earning money to feed their families. On the other hand, this kind of export negatively affects the domestic workers who lose jobs and their stable incomes. Based on the assumption by Maitland (2002) that all people’s actions are ethical in their essence, export of capital for production abroad is ethically possible only if the good it brings overcomes the harm it causes at the same time (Maitland, 2002). Concerning the second issue, it is easier to define because it is far from morality and ethics to export the goods that one country have banned for sale within its boundaries. For instance, if the United States bans meet from Mexico for sale on its domestic market, it is done from the health care and safety considerations, and allowing the export of dangerous goods to other countries cannot be allowed, at least from the ethical point of view (Sen, 2009).

The same can be said about the export of commodities which have the potential for misuse in other countries and under different circumstances. It is not ethical to benefit from the goods that are sure to bring negative effects to people who might not know how to use them or be unable to do it properly (Shaw and Barry, 2007). The example of Nestle boycott proves this point of view as far as Nestle acted irresponsibly and with no ethical principles in mind when it started exporting its infant formula to the countries where the lack of water, need to save the product, and the simple ignorance of users led to numerous deaths and health issues in infants. The actions of the Nestle cannot be called ethical in the light of the fact that the infant formula was aimed mostly at the low-income social groups in which the misuse of the formula is inevitable (Shaw and Barry, 2007). Accordingly, the company that knows about the negative effects of its actions but still practices them cannot be called an ethical one.

Thus, it is obvious that ethics is not the dominant principle in the business world, and certain activities that business companies adopt, including export of capital for production abroad, export of commodities which have been banned from sale in the United States, and export of commodities which have the potential for misuse, are rather controversial in respect of their being ethical and moral.

Works Cited

  1. Shaw, William H. & Vincent Barry. Moral Issues in Business. Thompson Wadsworth; 10th edition, 2007.
  2. Sen, Amartya. “On Ethics and Economics.” 2009. Entertaining Research.
  3. Maitland, Ian. “The Human Face of Self-Interest.” Journal of Business Ethics, 38 (2002): 3 – 17.