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Business Ethics

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Business Ethics ­MGT610
VU
LESSON 25
WORLDWATCH FIGURES
Environmental ethics is the discipline that studies the moral relationship of human beings to,
and also the value and moral status of, the environment and its nonhuman contents. This entry
covers: (1) the challenge of environmental ethics to the anthropocentrism (i.e., human-
centeredness) embedded in traditional western ethical thinking; (2) the early development of
the discipline in the 1960s and 1970s; (3) the connection of deep ecology, feminist
environmental ethics, and social ecology to politics; (4) the attempt to apply traditional ethical
theories, including consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics, to support contemporary
environmental concerns; and (5) the focus of environmental literature on wilderness, and
possible future developments of the discipline.
Population Year
World population reached
·
1 billion in 1804
·
2 billion in 1927 (123 years later)
·
3 billion in 1960 (33 years later)
·
4 billion in 1974 (14 years later)
·
5 billion in 1987 (13 years later)
·
6 billion in 1999 (12 years later)
World population may reach
·
7 billion in 2012 (13 years later)
·
8 billion in 2026 (14 years later)
·
9 billion in 2043 (17 years later)
The importance of energy and raw materials derives from their dual role of providing the
underpinnings for economic activity and human well-being, while acting as the driving force
behind many environmental concerns, including climate change, acid rain and pollution.
Because energy consumption is a function of economic growth and level of development,
energy consumption is distributed unequally in the world. Although their share has been
falling, developed market economies, constituting one fifth of the world's population, consume
almost 60 per cent of the world's primary energy (figure IV). As a consequence of development
and the rapid replacement of traditional energy sources by commercial (mainly fossil) sources,
some developing countries have consumption patterns similar to those of developed market
economies.
Nevertheless, per capita consumption in developing countries as a group remains far below that
of developed market economies. The use of fossil fuels has led to substantial growth in global
emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the build-up of greenhouse effects, contributing to
global warming. Since 1751, over 265 billion tons of carbon have been released to the
atmosphere, one half of these emissions having been produced since the mid-1970s (Marland
and others, 1999).
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Business Ethics ­MGT610
VU
Annual global emissions of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels have quadrupled since 1950
(figure V). The highest per capita CO2 emissions are in North America, which is followed by
Europe where such emissions are less than one half those of North America (ibid.).
Continuation of these trends poses serious risks of global warming, inducing a possible rise in
sea levels, flooding of low-lying coastal areas, spread of vectorborne diseases and reductions in
agricultural yields. The magnitude of future carbon emissions depends on many factors,
including global energy demand, the pace of economic development, the introduction of
energy-saving technologies and the degree of shift away from fossil fuels. Models suggest that
immediate stabilization of atmospheric CO2 concentrations at present levels can be achieved
only if emissions are immediately slashed by at least 50 per cent and further reduced thereafter
(United Nations Environment Program, 1999). Because of the inertia of climate systems, even
with stabilization of emissions, global warming and the rise of sea levels could continue for
many years.
Agriculture, Food and Land Use
The persistence of under nutrition and food insecurity in some areas of the world, and the
increasing scarcity and unsustainable utilization of agricultural and other environmental
resources, have dominated the global assessment of food and agriculture prospects. World
agricultural production has outpaced population growth, and the real price of food has declined.
The green revolution that began in the 1960s enabled some developing countries to boost food
production dramatically by introducing modern agricultural techniques. Over the period 1961-
1998, world food for human consumption, per capita, increased by 24 per cent. A sufficient
amount of food is being produced to nourish the world's population adequately (Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2000a). Yet, recent estimates show that some
790 million persons were undernourished as of 1995-1997, owing to poverty, political
instability, economic inefficiency and social inequity (Food and Agriculture Organization of
the United Nations, 1999a). Although the number of undernourished people has decreased by
40 million since 1980, some countries are experiencing serious declines in food availability.
More recently, world agricultural growth has been slowing down. Many attribute this
slowdown to the declining growth of population and reduced economic demand for food;
others discern signs of production constraints which may ultimately threaten world food
security (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2000a; World Resources
Institute, 1996; World watch Institute, 2000). While world food production is projected to meet
consumption demands for the next two decades, long-term forecasts indicate persistent and
possibly worsening food insecurity in many countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa (United
Nations, 1997; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2000a). For most of
history, food production has been increased mainly by expanding the area cultivated; but in the
past few decades, rising crop yields have been the main factors and this trend is expected to
continue.
Constraints on expanding cultivated land include the scarcity of WATER An adequate and
dependable supply of fresh water is essential for health, food production and socio-economic
development. Though more than two thirds of the planet is covered with water, less than 0.01
per cent is readily accessible for direct human use (United Nations, 1997b). Moreover, no more
of this renewable fresh water is available today than existed at the dawn of human civilization.
As a result, the size of a country's population and the speed at which it grows help determine
the onset and severity of water scarcity. Although recent declines in population growth have
improved the outlook for future water availability, the problems associated with water scarcity
will continue to mount as the size of the world's population increases.
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Business Ethics ­MGT610
VU
Currently, humans are using about half the fresh water that is readily available. Fresh water is
distributed unevenly over the globe, and already nearly half a billion people are affected by
water stress or serious water scarcity, while many more are experiencing moderate stress.
Given current trends, as much as two thirds of world population in 2025 may be subject to
moderate-to-high water stress (United Nations, 1997b). Many countries facing water scarcity
are low-income countries that have a rapidly growing population and are generally unable to
make costly investments in water-saving technologies.
About 300 major river basins and many groundwater aquifers cross national boundaries (United
Nations, 1997b). Therefore, the need for cooperative efforts will persist, particularly in areas
facing water shortages, and wherever pollution is carried downstream across national
boundaries. Estimates indicate that over 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water and
two and a half billion lack adequate sanitation, and these factors contribute to the deaths of
more than 5 million people, of whom more than half are children (United Nations, 2000a).
Environmental damage inevitably threatens the welfare of human beings as well as plants and
animals. Threats to the environment come from two sources, pollution and resource depletion.
Pollution refers to the undesirable and unintended contamination of the environment by the
manufacture or use of commodities. Resource depletion refers to the consumption of finite or
scarce resources. In a certain sense, pollution is really a type of resource depletion because
contamination of air, water, or land diminishes their beneficial qualities.
Air pollution has been with modern society for nearly 200 years; its costs are increasing
greatly. It negatively affects agricultural yields, human health, and global temperatures. The
result is a large economic impact and a staggering effect on the quality of human life.
Global warming itself poses a difficult and frightening challenge. Global warming greenhouse
gases such as: carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, and chlorofluorocarbons, are gases that
absorb and hold heat from the sun, preventing it from escaping back into space, much like a
greenhouse absorbs and holds the sun's heat. Most scenarios concerning the effects of global
warming predict massive flooding, increase of disease, loss of plant and animal species, and
expansion of deserts at the expense of agricultural land. These effects will have high human
and economic costs. However, to halt the increase of greenhouse gasses, we would have to
reduce emissions by 60% to 70%, a level that would damage the economies of countries around
the world. To halt global warming, experts say that we would need to change our lifestyles and
values drastically.
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Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION:Business Issues
  2. INTRODUCTION (CONTD.)
  3. THEORY OF ETHICAL RELATIVISM
  4. MORAL DEVELOPMENTS AND MORAL REASONING
  5. MORAL REASONING:Arguments For and Against Business Ethics
  6. MORAL RESPONSIBILITY AND BLAME
  7. UTILITARIANISM:Utilitarianism: Weighing Social Costs and Benefits
  8. UTILITARIANISM (CONTD.):rule utilitarianism, Rights and Duties
  9. UNIVERSALIZABILITY & REVERSIBILITY:Justice and Fairness
  10. EGALITARIANS’ VIEW
  11. JOHN RAWLS' THEORY OF JUSTICE:The Ethics of Care
  12. THE ETHICS OF CARE:Integrating Utility, Rights, Justice, and Caring
  13. THE ETHICS OF CARE (CONTD.):Morality in International Contexts
  14. MORALITY IN INTERNATIONAL CONTEXTS:Free Markets and Rights: John Locke
  15. FREE MARKET & PLANNED ECONOMY:FREE TRADE THEORIES
  16. LAW OF NATURE:Theory of Absolute Advantage, Comparative Advantage
  17. FREE MARKETS AND UTILITY: ADAM SMITH:Free Trade and Utility: David Ricardo
  18. RICARDO & GLOBALIZATION:Ricardo’s Assumptions, Conclusion
  19. FREE MARKET ECONOMY:Mixed Economy, Bottom Line for Business
  20. COMPETITION AND THE MARKET:Perfect Competition
  21. PERFECT COMPETITION
  22. MONOPOLY COMPETITION:Oligopolistic Competition
  23. OLIGOPOLISTIC COMPETITION:Crowded and Mature Market
  24. OLIGOPOLIES AND PUBLIC POLICY:Ethic & Environment, Ozone depletion
  25. WORLDWATCH FIGURES:Population Year, Agriculture, Food and Land Use
  26. FORESTS AND BIODIVERSITY:The Ethics of Pollution Control
  27. THE ETHICS OF POLLUTION CONTROL:Toxic Chemicals in Teflon
  28. THE ETHICS OF POLLUTION CONTROL
  29. THE ETHICS OF POLLUTION CONTROL:Recommendations to Managers
  30. COST AND BENEFITS:Basis of social audit, Objectives of social audit
  31. COST AND BENEFITS:The Ethics of Conserving Depletable Resources
  32. COST AND BENEFITS:The Club of Rome
  33. THE ETHICS OF CONSUMER PRODUCTION AND MARKETING:DSA Comments
  34. THE ETHICS OF CONSUMER PRODUCTION AND MARKETING:Should Consumers Bear More Responsibility?
  35. THE CONTRACT VIEW OF BUSINESS' DUTIES TO CONSUMERS
  36. THE CONTRACT VIEW OF BUSINESS' DUTIES TO CONSUMERS:The Due Care Theory
  37. THE SOCIAL COSTS VIEW OF THE MANUFACTURER’S DUTIES
  38. ADVERTISING ETHICS:The Benefits of Advertising, The harm done by advertising
  39. ADVERTISING ETHICS:Basic Principles, Evidence, Remedies, Puffery
  40. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:Psychological tricks
  41. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:Criticism of Galbraith's Work
  42. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:Medal of Freedom
  43. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:GENERAL RULES, Substantiation
  44. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:Consumer Privacy, Accuracy
  45. THE ETHICS OF JOB DISCRIMINATION:Job Discrimination: Its Nature