Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ethics in international management

Ethics in international management Ethics is concerned with the identification, consideration and choice of values that may be employed as standards for judgment as well as guidelines for individual actions. Values usually lie at the center of all decisions and give the normative basis to choose from alternative conclusions and guiding principles. Ethics is important since the methodologies used provide a way of identifying, understanding and consciously choosing from the values found in various actions and judgments (Kline, 2005 pp 8-16). In the case of Tambogrande in Peru involving the original inhabitants of the area and the mining company, various ethical concerns come about that stem from the conflict of interest between the mining company and other stakeholders who push for the mining project to go ahead versus the local community and its rights to their culture and environment. One major ethical concern surrounds the plan to demolish the houses of the inhabitants and compensating them against their wishes. The concept of human rights sets out worldwide deontological standards that put priority significance to the individual instead of institutions or groups. Since Peru is signatory of the United Nations, it is bound by the Universal Declaration of human Rights that was adopted by the UN General Assembly. In view of this, it will be a violation of the rights of the original inhabitants of that area in Peru by the company if it goes ahead with the plans to displace the people (Kline, 2005 pp 18-22). The land traditionally owned by the indigenous peoples and occupied or if not used is tremendously significant and can rightly be described as a material representation of their identity, culture and spirituality. Furthermore, the land usually stands for the source of food, clothing, shelter, medicine and gives the basis for independence as well as economic viability. Besides, spiritual association and a sense of communal belonging to the land is particularly a prominent issue for original peoples as well as in relation to rituals of burial (Dörrenbächer, 2011 pp 122-143). The standard global human rights law for native ancestral land obliges states to provide legal recognition as well as protection to the land rights and territories traditionally owned or occupied by the indigenous people. In countries such as Peru that has attempted to formalize ownership of land through the issuance of title deeds, the boundaries may be a bit discrete although the customary utilization of the land and the rights to shared resources can still pose a legal predicament (Kline, 2005 pp 118-166). Although the company intends to relocate the inhabitants, different studies show that the consequences of relocation can have devastating effects to the people if it is not managed correctly. A study that was carried out by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), revealed that re-settlement is usually associated with: permanent dispossession of inherited lands as well as the loss of rights to land; loss of cultural honour and the breakdown of governance structures and family; loss of spiritual coordination and knowledge systems and; loss of collective cohesive and identity. As a result, most international organizations have developed guidelines concerning the resettlement activity. For the case of individuals who rely on natural resources, the challenge is considerable and efforts are made not to socially instigate the move and result to further dislocation (Rubin, 2010, pp156-177). According to the theory of rights, human rights are governmental decrees and if the government grants a right to undertake a given action or to be granted a particular good or service then you will be given and if it says no you will not be given. Nevertheless, this idea of rights involves a fundamental contradiction. The thought that rights are granted by the government or a political community or a legal system contradicts the same rationale of the concept of rights (Dörrenbächer, 2011 pp 112-118). Rights are basically a moral concept as they relate to that which an individual is free to do. The fundamental function of the idea is to state those actions that no individual, including the government, may morally prevent one from taking. The objective of the concept is to identify the actions, genuine or imagined that an individual morally is free to take and to differentiate them from those actions that he or she is morally prohibited from undertaking (Richardson, 2006 pp 92-112). In addition, we are aware of the risks of the government dictating on the rights that people have or do not have. Rights are posited and are not born of man-made law but rather of natural law and particularly the natural moral law. The natural law focuses on how people ought to act and also not act and this law trains all mankind that consult it that being independent and all equal, no one should harm another person in his life, health, possessions or liberty. Human beings are endowed with natural rights and these rights are mainly concerned with moral law and thus they are inherent, inalienable as well as unchangeable. Therefore free people will claim that their rights are derived from the natural laws rather than a gift from the chief magistrate (Kline, 2005 pp 208-256). The natural law however is not natural law but supernatural law since it comes God and not from nature. The law of nature teaches all human beings to be all equal and independent; no person should harm another one in his life, liberty, health or possessions. Since all men are a result of the workmanship of one God and infinitely wise creator, all the subjects of the only sovereign God were brought into this world by His order and to carry own wit His work and everybody therefore is His property and not another person’s pleasure (Rubin, 2010, pp 146-157). Emphatically, the natural laws that give rise to rights of individuals are the laws of God because He proclaims that we are His property and therefore must serve the purpose He intended us to rather than serve the purpose of other individuals. Under the natural laws, all individuals are born free and each one comes into this world with rights to his or her own person including the freedom of movement and to use it as they wish (Alexy, 2010 pp 156-170). The rights which belong to human beings that are quoted as the basis for asserting that individuals should not to be interfered with, while pursuing life, liberty and happiness among other things. The best reason for stating so openly that such rights do not exist is certainly precisely similar to the best explanation which we have for claiming that there are no witches. In defending individual rights, we ought to be able undertake appropriate actions instead of just saying we have the rights. We need to rationally explain where rights originate from as well as the reasons we have them. Every individual has a right to life, property, liberty as well as the pursuit of happiness (Dörrenbächer, 2011 pp 122-143). Since the life of a person acts as the standard of moral value, each person ought to act to sustain as well as further his or her own life. The use of physical force against an individual stops him or her from acting in a particular way and there is need of moral principles to guard ourselves from other persons and governments that may try to use force. As to such, rights may be viewed as a moral concept that offers a logical shift from the principles that guide the actions of an individual to the principles that guide their relationship with other people. Additionally, the concept further protects and preserves individual morality in the social context in that it links a man’s moral code and the legal code of the society (Ferrel, 2012 pp 545-578). The moral law is the theory of egoism where observation that is based on moral truth and that every individual ought to act to support his or her own life since they are the proper beneficiaries of their own actions. Individual rights are a way of subordinating society to the egoism. A right is a moral principle that defines and sanctions freedom of individual of action in the social context. We require principles of action that will guide us in pursuit of life-serving values and on the social level, principles of interaction are necessary to protect us from people who try to interfere. There exists only one fundamental right which is the right to life. Life is a process of sustaining oneself and generating ones action. As such, the right to life implies the right to undertake in self-sustaining as well as self-generated action (Richardson, 2006 pp 92-112). Since a right is an authority to an action, it is not and can never be a sanction to be offered goods or services. For instance, a right to a person to be given food, medical care, or education would mean that other individuals must be compelled to give him these goods or services. This would imply that some individuals must produce whereas others use their products. If some people are entitled to the products other peoples’ work, then the other people will be deprived of their rights. Any claimed right of one person which violates the rights of others is not and can never be a right. No person has a right to impose an unfavourable obligation, an involuntary servitude or an unwarranted duty on another person (Muller, 2009 pp 35-57). The reason why every individual’s life legally belongs to him is that each one’s life actually morally belongs to him. Each person is morally an end in himself and not a means to the ends of others. Every person has a moral duty to act for his own sake and to maintain, use, and discard the product of his own effort provided he upholds the right of others (Kline, 2005 pp 118-166). Essentially, what compels an individual to respect other peoples’ right are his own self-interests. When an individual wants a happy life, he has to recognize and respect the facts of reality, the nature of person, the essential requirements of life and happiness and the social circumstances that enable peaceful human coexistence. Granted, it is highly abstract and to grasp it an individual has to use considerable mental effort and the abstract nature of these morality principles does not vary (Richardson, 2006 pp 113-122). Violation of rights does not and will not lead to happiness. Rather it inevitably retards an individual’s life, contributes to unhappiness and may even lead to premature death or incarceration. The confirmation of this can be drawn from instances of Bernie Madoff the Wall Street Ponzi schemer and those of Bashar al-Assad as well as Mu‘ammar Gadhafi. Nevertheless, even if individuals who violate the rights of others deceive themselves to believe that they are actually happy, the fact is that when they violate the rights of other people they in that way give up some or even their entire own rights (Ferrel, 2012 pp 545-578). Respecting other individuals’ rights is a duty imposed by the nature of reality and not by the state. It is also a matter of consistency in the sense that it is the requirement to respect other peoples’ rights for one’s own rights to be respected and protected. An individual can not rationally assert the upholding of a principle which he or she disclaims in action. The reality is that each person morally should be free to act on his or her own judgment provided they do not breach the same rights of other people. This principle is inherent or self-evident in the nature of man (Muller, 2009 pp 65-87). Rights theory claims that rights are objective and not inherent nor inborn but rather they are theoretical identifications of the realistic needs of human life in the social context. Regrettably, even though this theory is evidently true, and even though it addresses the problems that are natural in the traditional theories, only few people at present are willing to acknowledge and embrace it. Since our culture is tied in the belief that self-interest is evil and since is founded on the reality that self-interest is best, most people deny or ignore or Rand’s theory and carry on believing in the ancient thoughts that rights are God given or are one way or another inherent in the human nature. However, denying or ignoring the confirmation cannot change the reality that real rights hierarchically rely on and are without a doubt logical extension of egoism (Alexy, 2010 pp 56-78). While the principle of egoism recognizes the fact that every person must act to uphold his or her life and is the appropriate beneficiary of his or her own life actions, the principle of rights recognizes the fact that for an individual to maintain the principle of egoism, they have to be free to act on their judgment. Just as the notion of life makes the concept of worth both necessary and possible, likewise the principle of egoism facilitates the principle of rights to be both necessary possible. Rights taken from their basis of egoism are usually not rights but rather stolen conceptions in the sense that they taken from the basis that generates them, the basis that links them to reality and the basis onto which they hierarchically rely to have an objective meaning (Ferrel, 2012 pp 545-578). In addition, it will also be ethically wrong for the company to go on with their plans because it will have violated the democratic rights of the residents who have clearly shown their desire to stay through a referendum where nine out of ten people strongly opposed the move by the company. Besides, the farmers fear that mining operations would take away their farm land and contaminate their fruits as well as siphon excess water (Kline, 2005 pp 118-165). Moreover non-governmental organizations such as Oxfam International have supported the cause of the residents and a study they conducted recently reveals that there will be horrible environmental consequences should the company start its operations in the town. Other organizations like the Mineral Policy Center based in Washington and the Environmental Mining Council of British Columbia are also opposed to the project and their ongoing studies are also likely to predict potential environmental problems (Richardson, 2006 pp 92-112). The company operations will also thwart the production of fruits which is the major economic activity of the inhabitants and they depend on it as their means of livelihood. The region produces up to 25,000 tons of mangoes annually and nearly 50 percent of limes that is used in Peru to make a savory, ceviche, and spicy raw seafood cocktail seared by lime juice. Therefore, if the company is permitted to operate in the region, it will not only deny the inhabitants their livelihoods but also deny the other citizens the lime from those farms. The commercial activities can put enormous pressure on the land held by native people. This may be compounded by vague property rights arrangements that are a critical issue for a business to consider before investing (Alexy, 2010 pp 56-78). However, one consideration is that the company has had a concession for five years and therefore its presence in the region is legal and backed by the law. Rights that can be given or cancelled by the government are not really rights but rather they are political policies or laws and they rationally should be stated as such. The view that a government creates rights is not a practicable foundation onto which to promote or defend liberty. Rights to land and resources may be officially recognized through a land claim settlements or a treaty with the government or alternatively they may be enshrined in the national legal structures through the recognition of traditional laws at the local level (Muller, 2009 pp 65-87). Conflicts related to mining have become prevalent in the political landscape of most developing nations particularly between local Communities and mining companies and are more and more being characterized by violent conflicts, mass protests and the prominent lack of state intervention. Conflict is prevalent to developing and less developed states where violent behaviour becomes the major means of expressing grievances and to protect wealth and the main economic goods (Muller, 2009 pp 115-147). While the government’s main concern is to prevent violent conflict, businesses as well as financial institutions can play an important role in shunning or resolving conflicts which are related to economic production. These consist of conflict circumstances that originate from the collapsed traditional social frameworks and involve a flood of immigrants and the quick surfacing of cash economies. In addition, the government is also in charge of response to conflict as well as post-conflict situations (Ferrel, 2012 pp 545-578). Nevertheless, globalization and the rising number of conflicts that occur in the regions where international corporations operate have provoked the international organizations, human rights groups, the media, consumers, social investors as well as a number of corporate executives to address the duties of these companies in avoiding conflict and promoting peace. Business ethics groups and corporate social responsibility affirm that corporations too have an interest in influencing their impact and skills to encourage stability in their regions of operation since it is the correct thing to do and it makes better business sense (Carroll, 2011, pp 134-144). Therefore, whereas many ethical behaviour cases imply respect to the law, the law does not reflect the entire ethical behaviour. The first task in addressing any form of injustice lays with the government the government of Peru. Moreover, the company operations in Tambogrande in Peru cannot avoid their own share of responsibility. 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