Ethical Challenges to Business as Usual by Shari Collins-chobanianEthical Challenges to Business as Usual by Shari Collins-chobanian

Ethical Challenges to Business as Usual

byShari Collins-chobanian

Paperback | June 16, 2004

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This anthology contains a significant body of literature and basic approach that challenges the economic status quo while raising concerns rarely found in other books of this kind—providing readers with the critical selections and perspectives they want and need to make informed decisions. Demanding accountability, the book exposes business practices, economic assumptions, contemporary challenges, and the population's concerns. An ongoing focus links business ethics to environmental issues, and each and every business action to the earth's finite resources. A critical selection of topics challenges development, capitalism, market appropriation, human rights violation, consumption, transgenic biotechnology, resistance to development, environmental ethics, and alternative economies. For anyone who demands accountability from businesses.

Shari Collins-Chobanian is a professor of philosophy at Arizona State University West. Her main areas of research include business ethics and environmental ethics, and she has published articles on environmental rights and environmental labels. She is the coeditor of Applied Ethics: A Multicultural Approach.
Title:Ethical Challenges to Business as UsualFormat:PaperbackDimensions:600 pages, 9.1 × 7 × 1.4 inPublished:June 16, 2004Publisher:Pearson EducationLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0130487635

ISBN - 13:9780130487636

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Read from the Book

This anthology addresses a significant gap in the anthology texts used for business ethics courses. The major business ethics texts repeat similar perspectives and readings, barely critical of the economic status quo, seemingly seeing it as a fait accompli rather than a system in need of thorough examination. Most texts take a "liberal" (and by this I do not mean the common use of liberal to refer to Democrats) approach, an approach that assumes that the existing system simply needs some adjustments—to be made a true meritocracy, extended to all participants through fair competition, access, and opportunity. Save for a sprinkling of Marx, existing texts rarely challenge the overall system and its values, now being globally touted. This anthology presents critical selections on all of these topics, including challenging development, capitalism, environmental destruction, market appropriations, and human rights violations. Increasingly, and globally, people are demanding accountability from corporations, as well as challenging the very assumptions and actions businesses are taking. Students want information so that they can make informed decisions, and they, as well as all consumers, often do not have the necessary information. This anthology brings these discussions and challenges into the classroom, and accomplishes this through readings that critically challenge the status quo, as well as readings that are traditional benchmarks. Yet the classic readings are not necessarily given classic interpretation and contexts. This anthology differs from existing texts because they repeat similar analyses of classic readings, such as representing Milton Friedman as having said that the only social responsibility of business is to generate profit (this is incorrect) and failing to highlight John Locke's prohibition against greed and impoverishment of the "common pile" in claiming one's private property. Many classic representations do not provide the reader with the critical perspective necessary to understand the ethical imperatives in the readings, and classic representations perpetuate the uncritical discussions of the system that (should not have, but did) surprised so many with Enron and WorldCom. This anthology provides critical analyses of classics such as Friedman and Locke, as well as other critical perspectives that enable the reader to envision something other than business as usual. Existing business ethics anthologies also cordon off environmental issues, presenting them as a small subset of business ethics questions. In this anthology I have integrated environmental issues throughout, thus critiquing the assumption that business and environmental ethics questions are to be separately addressed. Each and every action of business relies upon the earth's finite resources. In market parlance, the earth is the supplier, and any market analysis ignorant of one's supplier is an effort in futility. Thus, the advantages of this anthology are at least threefold. The first advantage of this book is its challenging assumptions of the status quo—from development, to pollution, to white privilege, to consumption. This benefits both the student and the professor by bringing contemporary concerns into the classroom; that is, concerns many philosophers teaching the course already have and concerns students are raising increasingly. The second advantage is the topical coverage. This anthology brings new discussions to the classroom, from selections such as the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights Principles and Responsibilities for Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises and How Organizations Socialize Individuals into Evildoing, to those on the topics of transgenic biotechnology, resistance to development, consumption, environmental ethics, and alternative economies. This benefits both the professor and student because it provides information about issues of which many people are unaware, and truly challenges assumptions about the business role in these areas. The third advantage is that this anthology is the only real alternative to business as usual in topical coverage and reading selections in business ethics texts; yet herein I have retained enough classic selections so as to be familiar. This benefits the student and the professor by first acknowledging and continuing the historical discussions in business ethics, and then moving them into the 21st Century. It is expected that each professor will make this material his or her own, reorganizing the order of selections, highlighting what the professor and students find of importance, and drawing in a "cafeteria manner" from this anthology's ethical theory, case studies, and/or essays to suit the class and its objectives. It is mainly for this reason that any further circumscribing of the material via chapter objectives and other similar prescriptions was avoided. The other chief reason for not further circumscribing the material is space. I felt that the best use of my limited space was to provide primary text by leading authors on the topics. Furthermore, no text can meet everyone's needs. This text does not focus on management, per se (although management can certainly apply the lessons of this collection, including sections Three, Five, and Nine) but on the ethical issues involved in the multiple roles we each play by participating in business as usual. These roles include employer, employee, citizen, and consumer. It is my contention that standard business ethics texts do not provide students and professors with enough discussions of the topics and real-world issues that I have included. These issues impact everyone in their role as citizens, and everyone is both agent and recipient in his or her role as a consumer. In order to best accomplish this, I have provided lengthy contemporary topical introductions to each section; suggested discussion questions following each section that serve as a guide to some of what I found salient in each essay, and suggestions for further reading that serve as reference to some of the best research I have found. Insofar as this is a new text, one that an anonymous reviewer called "substantially different from current texts," I realize that I am bound to have oversights, and welcome any feedback on this anthology. There are many people I owe thanks for their contributions to the actualization of this anthology. First and foremost are my students. I have taught Business Ethics for ten years, nearly 30 times, and environmental ethics for six years. Classroom discussions, debate, frustrations over the persistent harms, and reflections have shaped my perspectives and this anthology. Next, are the individuals. Donald Chobanian and Blake Chobanian have been invaluable sounding boards who also tolerated my kvetching, and navigated the copy machine. Gloria Cuadraz and Alejandra Elenes are invaluable colleagues who provided enthusiastic feedback on all section introductions, as well as hours of discussions on the topics. Manny Avalos provided feedback on the prospectus. R. Mark Koan helped in selections for, and wrote the introductory material to, section One. Gene Burgess, Tom McGovern, and Linda Stryker all provided departmental support, including research and copy assistance from Kristie L. Pinner, Karen Merry, and Cat Lollis. Dennis Isbell provided further invaluable last-minute assistance in research. There are numerous authors to whom I owe thanks: Kenneth Lux, Robert Heilbroner, Clive Ponting, Jean Blackstone, Deane Curtin, Christopher Stone, R. Edward Freeman, Arjun Makhijani, Peggy McIntosh, Paul W Taylor, Rodger Field, Russell Mokhiber, Martha L. Crouch, Brian Tokar, Mark Sagoff, Sissela Bok, and David C. Korten. In addition there were numerous publisher reprint permissions agents whose assistance is appreciated, especially Bill Smith and Jenny Dunhill. Prentice Hall staff, editors, marketing, and reviewers are gratefully acknowledged, especially Carla Worner. Jessica Balch at Pine Tree Composition, Inc., was most helpful throughout production. And finally Ross Miller who, over lunch, heard of my idea for this anthology, and who, after a lengthy gestation, delivered a Prentice Hall contract. Shari Collins-Chobanian

Table of Contents


1. Ethical and Economic Theoretical Grounding.

Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle. Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill. Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Immanuel Kant. A Simplified Account of Kant's Ethics, Onora O'Neill. An Inquiry into the Value and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith. The Mistake, Kenneth Lux. Distributive Justice, John Rawls. A Moral Case for Socialism, Kai Neilsen. Reflections on the Triumph of Capitalism, Robert Heilbroner.

2. Human Rights and Environmental Challenges to Development.

United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. United Nations Declaration of Human Rights Principles and Responsibilities for Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises. Enron: History of Human Rights Abuse in India, Human Rights Watch. Creating the Third World, Clive Ponting. The High Cost of Uranium, Donald A. Grinde and Bruce E. Johansen. Moral Minimums for Multinationals, Thomas Donaldson. Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. Ethics and Ecology, William T. Blackstone. The Human Right to a Safe Environment, James Nickel. Beyond Sax and Welfare Interests: A Case for Environmental Rights, Shari Collins-Chobanian. Defining Sustainable Development, Devon Peña. Gandhian Legacies: Indigenous Resistance to “Development” in India and Mexico, Deane Curtin. Development, Ecology, and Women, Vandana Shiva.

3. Challenges Calling for Corporate Responsibility.

How Organizations Socialize Individuals into Evildoing, John M. Darley. The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits, Milton Friedman. Corporations When Does a Worker's Death Become Murder? David Rosner. Corporate Responsibility, Larry May. The Workers' Right to Know, Participate and Refuse Hazardous Work: A Manifesto Right, Robert Sass. Stakeholder Theory of the Modern Corporation, R. Edward Freeman.

4. Justification for, and Challenges to, Property Rights.

The Justification of Private Property, John Locke. Estranged Labor, Karl Marx. The The Colonial Dynamic of Capitalism, Arjun Makhijani. Rich and Poor, Peter Singer.

5. Challenging Discrimination.

White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women's Studies, Peggy McIntosh. Affirmative Action: The Price of Preference, Shelby Steele. Does Affirmative Action Hurt Its Intended Beneficiaries? Barbara R. Bergmann. The “Social Etymology” of “Sexual Harassment”, Margaret A. Crouch.

6. Environmental Ethics Challenges to Business.

The Land Ethic, Aldo Leopold. The Ethics of Respect for Nature, Paul W. Taylor. Risk and Justice: Capitalist Production and the Environment, Rodger C. Field.

7. Challenging Market Appropriations and Cost-Benefit Analysis.

Animal Liberation, Peter Singer. A Different Path, Richard Heinberg. The Cost of Biotech Fever, Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman. Biotechnology is Not Compatible with Sustainable Agriculture, Martha L. Crouch. The Human Genome Diversity Project: Indigenous Communities and the Commercialization of Science, Brian Tokar. The Ford Pinto, W. Michael Hoffman. At the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima or Why Political Questions are Not All Economic, Mark Sagoff.

8. Challenging Consumption.

How Much Should a Country Consume? John Kenneth Galbraith. The Case That the World Has Reached Its Limits, Robert Goodland. A Proposal for Environmental Labels: Informing Consumers of the Real Costs of Consumption, Shari Collins-Chobanian. The Myth of Consume or Decline, Alan Thein Durning. Involuntary Simplicity: Changing Dysfunctional Habits of Consumption, Guy Claxton.

9. Challenges to Business as Usual.

Whistleblowing and Professional Responsibility, Sissela Bok. Whistleblowers and the Narrative of Ethics, C. Fred Alford. Economies for Life, David C. Korten.

Editorial Reviews

"This book is much more multicultural in its approach to the topics than most business ethics texts, so even when the book deals with traditional topics, it does so in a refreshing manner. Also, the topics of poverty in relation to corporate culture,...and corporate agriculture are important inclusions of topics usually neglected." — Richard Kyte, Viterbo University "This book is written in a conversational tone, inviting to the reader....I do think the approach of questioning the assumptions within ethical philosophy to be both innovative and sound. I think the material is likely to be well-received, since few other books do this." — Michelle LeBaron, George Mason University