Business Law Chapter 10 Homework Unit Core Ethical Issues Many Types

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UNIT 10: International Ethics
Unit Background/Author Perspective
Module 52: Overseas Working Conditions
Module 53: Fair Trade Programs
Module 54: The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Bribes
Unit Background/Author Perspective
There appears to be less emphasis on international business ethics during the current
recession. Arguments along the lines of “We have plenty of problems right here at home, so why
should we pay attention to everyone else's problems?” seem to be politically popular. One reads
fewer articles about overseas working conditions these days.
But the fact remains that countless millions of people who make goods for sale in the
United States work in very poor conditions and for very low wages. Sometimes, American
companies act swiftly when they are made aware of abusive practices by their overseas
contractors. Other times, corporations don't seem to care, as long as labor costs are kept low.
The first module in this unit looks at a typical sweatshop and asks “Under what
circumstances should an American company take action to require better working conditions for
international workers?”
The next module shifts from companies to consumers. It presents ideas related to fair
trade programs and speculates about people's willingness to support them.
The last module looks at paying bribes to foreign governments in order to secure
Unit Core Ethical Issues
Many types of manufacturing operations have been moved overseas in a quest
for lower labor costs. Many other nations have few if any laws that protect
workers from abuse. When is an American company morally obligated to
demand improved working conditions for its overseas contract workers?
Many fair trade programs exist that claim to improve wages and living
conditions for poorly paid international workers. Should companies give
consumers more fair trade options? Do most consumers care about having such
The FCPA makes it illegal to bribe the decision makers in foreign governments
for the purpose of securing contracts. Legalities aside, are companies ethically
obligated to play fair when bidding for foreign government contracts?

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