ETHICAL ISSUES AROUND US

ETHICAL ISSUES AROUND US

The last decade has witnessed considerable changes in humanity. Advancements in communication, transportation, and information technology have created a global economy. The cross-border transactions in this globalized economy have not only triggered the free flow of goods and services but also different cultures, communities, values, laws, and lifestyles. These affairs have a deep impact on politics, economy and ethical issues around us.

In this article, we will discuss the complexities, challenges that we face in different sectors of life and the ethical issues around those.

Some of the major ethical issues around us are:

Human Rights:

Human rights are inherent in all human beings. It represents the protection of individuals from any kind of oppressing exploitation and injustices. Human rights are the rights for human beings, irrespective of their origin, civilization, and religion. Examples of some fundamental human rights are:

  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of physical movement
  • Physical security
  • Education
  • Right to property
  • Non-discriminatory treatment
Ethical issues:
  • Employment of child labor.
  • Treatment of minorities and women.
  • Minimal education for all.
Sexual and Racial Discrimination:

Discriminating based on sex, race, religion or their disabilities in various activities like jobs, education, sports, and politics, etc are still in practice in many countries.

Ethical issues:
  • Offering lowest payments to certain employees from a particular religion or nation.
  • Not granting citizenship to people from certain countries.
  • Education and dress code restrictions on women, etc.
Harmful Products:

Some advanced industrialized nations are banning the sale and use of certain harmful products to our lives.

Ethical issues:
  • Selling of banned products in other countries, which are banned in their own country.
  • Export of tobacco-related products.
  • Genetically modified products.
  • Safe drinking water, etc.
Corruption and Bribery:

Corruptions can take place both in public and private sector enterprises. Some examples are:

  • Evading of taxes
  • Illegal procurement of raw materials
  • Hoarding of goods
  • Recruitment of personnel
  • Construction works, etc.

Bribes are also known as facilitating payments. Those can be in the form of gifts, personal payments or special favors, etc.

A bribe in Mexico is called La mordida. South Africans call it dash. In Germany, it is known as schmiergeld or grease money and in Italy, it is called as bustarella or a small envelope.

Computer and IT issues:

Computers and Information technology-enabled services are the backbones of all developmental activities. But, many ethical issues related to computers and IT has proved to be a menace too. Let’s discuss some ethical issues emerged out of computer and IT sectors:

Ethical issues:
  • Bundle offer of software:

Whether we need or not, we are sometimes forced to buy the bundle of software packages.

  • Cybercrimes:

It means criminal activities, where computers or computer networks are used. Examples of cybercrimes are:

Cyber stalking: Cyberstalking is the use of internet, email and other electronic communications device to stalk another person by continuous harassment or threatening.

Hacking: Hacking is the process of illegal intrusion into a computer system without the permission of its owner and collect information or crash the system.

Spoofing: Spoofing is an illegal intrusion into another computer system by posing as a genuine user and commit crimes.

Online fraud: Using fake websites similar to the original websites, fraudsters steal our business and personal information, payments, and credit information, etc.

Embezzlement: In this process, criminals steal some one’s bank account details such as IDs, security numbers, ATM card details, and passwords, etc and embezzle money from their bank accounts.

Intellectual Property Rights:

Intellectual property is a creation of the mind. It is an asset. Like any other asset, intellectual property rights can be bought, sold or exchanged. The IP owner has the right to protect the unauthorized use or sale of the property. Examples of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are Copyrights, Patents, Trademarks, and Geographical indication, etc.

Let’s discuss them briefly:

Copyrights: It is a protection against unauthorized copying or reproducing of any literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works without the consent of the original owner or the copyright holder.

Patents: A patent is a legal document issued to an inventor. Patents grants its inventor the right to exclude others from making, using or selling the invention anywhere for certain periods.

Trademarks: It is a verbal, visual or combination symbol. Trademark distinctly identifies the products or services offered by a person or business unit. The main purpose of trade-marking is to distinguish products/ services from competitors.

Geographical indication: It covers the natural, agricultural or manufactured goods, which are linked to their geographical territory of production.

Ethical issues:
  • Infringement of IPR
  • Plagiarism

Making unauthorized copies of films and selling them at a low cost is an example of infringement of IPR.

Similarly, copying the contents of some other’s research papers and presenting as original research by a person is an act of plagiarism.

Bio-ethical Issues:

It deals with issues of medicine and biology. It studies ethical questions related to medicine, life sciences, politics, and religion. Examples of some bio-ethical issues are Abortion, Euthanasia, Surrogacy, and Cloning, etc. Let’s explain them in a brief:

  • Abortion:

It means medical termination of pregnancy and premature ending of the life of a fetus before birth.

  • Euthanasia:

It is also known as mercy killing or termination of life with consent. In India, euthanasia is illegal. But in many countries, euthanasia is considered legal for extremely incurable ill patients.

  • Surrogacy:

It is the act of carrying the burden of pregnancy and delivery for another woman. But the commercial practice of surrogacy leads to poor health and nutrition among the women who perform it several times for money.

  • Cloning:

Cloning stands for biological photocopying or reproducing genetically identical life forms, like bacteria, insects, plants, animals and even humans.

Environmental Ethical Issues:

The difficulty of balancing industrialization and ecology is very important. Pollution and toxic wastes are threats to our natural habitats and the environment caused by mass industrialization.

Ethical issues:
  • Sustainable development:

It means the development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations.

  • Anthropocentrism:

Anthropocentrism means the development of humans and their rights at the cost of other living and non-living things. It stands for human-centered development.

  • Conservation of bio-diversity:

It means the totality of species, genes, and ecosystem of a region.

  • Global warming
  • Ozone depletion
  • Intensive farming and overuse of pesticides
  • Overpopulation and destruction of animal habitats, etc.
Marketing and Advertising Ethical Issues:

Different ethical concerns in the field of marketing emerge out of conflicts or lack of agreement between parties. Various ethical issues related to marketing are:

  • Advertising ethics:

Advertising of any goods or services should be truthful and should be guided by social norms and religious sentiments.

Negative advertising must be checked. The advertiser use negative advertising tactics to highlight various demerits of the competitor’s products.

Sexuality and violence in advertising content should be checked.

  • Deceptive marketing:

It is a process of attracting customers by using false or misleading announcements or information. For example: showing the picture of the product as bigger or brighter than it is.

  • Ponzi schemes and Pyramid schemes:

Ponzi scheme is a fraud system. It pays its existing investors with funds collected from new investors.

In a Pyramid scheme, the existing members recruit new members by promising payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme. It does not rely on the selling of products. Rather, it focuses on the inflow of many from new enrollments and pays people at the top.

  • Predatory pricing:

It is a practice of selling a product or service at a very low price than its competitors. Its main purpose is to keep the competitors out of the race and to create entry barriers for new entrants.

AUTHOR: SRIBATSA PATTANAYAK

EMAIL: [email protected], [email protected]

SRIBATSA PATTANAYAK

SRIBATSA PATTANAYAK

Faculty in Management GHITM, PURI, ODISHA

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