The food industry is very complex and I was astonished at the amount of ethical issues I found, ranging from government-issued agriculture subsidies to the treatment of animals. There were a number of different players in the food industry that are to blame for the health and environmental concerns that the food industry has created, but I decided to target food retailers in general. Continue reading →
The US government should create a new law that requires all food to be produced organically. Food integrity is lacking in the US and we often have no idea what we are consuming. The majority of the food we consume has artificial ingredients and or traces of pesticides. Although science and technology have greatly increased the efficiency and pace of food production, the industrialized, mass production of food has caused the integrity of the food industry to suffer. It will most likely take years for this law to come into full effect but it would be worth the wait. The organic food movement has taken off in the past several decades but its growth could be greatly enhanced with more support from business, government and society. Organic food sales doubled globally from 2002-2008 and future growth estimates range from 10-15% annually. Continue reading →
This week we enjoyed reading everyone’s posts about how changes in technology have affected us, particularly social media and the invention of the smartphone. It is clear that advances in technology have made the world more interconnected and we are increasingly more dependent on it. It was shocking to see that we are all aware of our overuse of technology and dependence on it…will we ever cut the cord? It’s like we are on a merry go round and the momentum is too strong for us to stop it.
One aspect of technology that has greatly changed social interactions is texting. How often do you actually pick up the phone to call someone?
“I used to call people, then I got into emailing, then texting, and now I just ignore everyone.”– The New Yorker
I admit, I am an avid texter. Often, I would much rather text someone than call them (but I’m working on it!). The most appealing thing about texting to me is that it allows you to multitask. You can be working out on the elliptical and texting five people at the same time and still listen to your music. Continue reading →
In conducting my research, I found several definitions of utilitarianism. For this paper, I will use the following definition: “utilitarianism states we ought to make the world as good as we can by making the lives of people as good as we can” (Bykvist, 1). Given this broad definition, we must define what is “good.” If the results of one’s actions create more benefits than alternative actions would, he or she is making the world and the lives of people good. Utilitarianism weighs the outcomes of each possible action in any given situation and it holds the view that “the goal of both personal ethics and public policy is to bring about a preponderance of benefit over harm to all who are affected by human actions” (Darity, 2008). Throughout my paper I will use a utilitarian lens to look at Whole Foods Markets (Whole Foods). More specifically I will examine: how does organic food agriculture and consumption create good in the world and in the lives of people? If organic food is determined to be utilitarian through my findings, in addition to selling natural and organic food, how does Whole Foods work to make the world as good as it can by making the lives of people as good as it can? Continue reading →
I listen to a lot of music so I figured it would easy for me to find pick a song for this assignment…it took me a solid hour to find a song because a lot of the songs that I went through were about love and I wanted to find a song with a different meaning. After an hour I finally chose “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé.
Given that I will be writing my paper on Whole Foods and the food industry, I thought it would be interesting to listen to a talk about obesity. The TED talk that I found, which aired in April of 2013, was given by Peter Attia, entitled “Is the obesity crisis hiding a bigger problem?”
Attia, a fit surgeon and self-experimenter who worked out 3-4 hours a day and “followed the food pyramid to the letter” gained 40 pounds, became insulin resistant and was diagnosed with metabolic syndrome a couple years ago (3:00). This occurred after he blamed a type 2 diabetic patient, who had to get her foot removed, for having no reason to be overweight and not exercising/eating healthy (0:23). When he found out that he gained 40 pounds because he was insulin resistant, he changed his diet and worked out less. He ultimately lost the 40 pounds he had gained.Continue reading →
For Paper 2, I plan to use the Whole Foods Harvard Business Case and explore the role of ethics in the food industry. In order to find a book I could potentially use for Paper 2, I initially tried to find “Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the heroic spirit of business,” a book written by John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods. Since the library didn’t have it and I would like to use it as a source for me paper, I requested an interlibrary loan. I then used Google Scholar to search for Mackey’s novel and attempted to find books that cited his book. Unfortunately I only found online articles. Continue reading →
Before taking the Health Reform quiz, I assumed I would only get 2-3 correct out of the 10 questions because the PPACA seems like a very intricate overhaul of our healthcare system. However, I know the basics of the act and the questions in the quiz were pretty straightforward–I got 9 out of 10 correct by asking myself: does this answer match up with the goal of Obamacare? Which, in my opinion, is to give people easier access to healthcare. Continue reading →
Although I am still finding my own voice and forming my own opinions, the quiz reaffirmed that I am a “main street Republican.” Some things that I know for sure: I am pro choice and I believe the government is too big right now–spending is out of control and our deficit is a major concern. Continue reading →
After watching “Too Big to Fail,” it is clear that the financial crisis in 2008 further exacerbated the problem of “too big to fail.” The fact that “10 banks now hold 77% of all US bank assets” is proof of this (TBF). Clearly we didn’t learn from our mistakes…the size and span of these banks is what caused such destruction. Rather than learn from this, we made these banks even bigger. It is clear, however, that the government had little time to come up with a solution. A solution that, if not effective or executed fast enough, could have ruined the economy. Bernanke emphasizes this when they are trying to get the stimulus package passed: “If we don’t do this now…we won’t have an economy on Monday.” Continue reading →
The performance did a good job of depicting Mike Daisey’s performance, pointing out the lies, and also taking it a step further. Although it was confusing at some points in the production when the false statements that Daisey made were repeated, it became clear when the truth was revealed in the next scene. I liked how different points of views and stories were incorporated however it would have been more powerful if the group made more of a powerful argument. The purpose of the production was a little ambiguous. It seems like the purpose was to raise awareness of Mike Daisey’s lies as well as incorporate a background story of Apple. The most intriguing part of the production was the ending of the monologue when Bob recommends that Apple should give part of their dividends to their labor workers. I have never considered this, and I think it is a great idea! Apple’s cash levels are so high and the cheap labor in its supply chain would greatly appreciate and benefit from a dividend. Continue reading →
It was quite surprising listening to the “Retraction” of Mike Daisey’s original podcast about his experience during his visit to China. In the broadcast of “Mr. Daisey and Apple,” Daisey is very persuasive and believable. It is clear from the “Retraction,” however, that he greatly enhanced his stories and stated many lies. By presenting his story as a product of journalism rather than merely a theatrical piece, he deceived thousands of people. His performance was such a strong, dramatic theatrical piece and it made me feel like I was there in China seeing these things with my own eyes.
Maybe it made me feel this way because this is what I wanted to see. Mr. Daisey’s use of theatrics during the original podcast confirmed my previous beliefs and preconceived notions of both China and Apple. This was most likely Mr. Daisey’s main intention: to further persuade China/Apple skeptics that Apple is an unethical company and turns a blind eye when it comes to labor. Moreover, Mr. Daisey further gratified my curiosity, and probably many other peoples’, when he alluded to the eeriness in China. This aspect of China is one that I strongly agree with and even experienced first hand when I visited in 2010.
Although Daisey blatantly lied and exaggerated his story, I still believe that his original podcast is an important piece. It is important to raise awareness about the working conditions in China, although it is difficult to know what is fact and what is fiction in China, ironically the same issue that Daisey faces in his broadcast on The American Life.
Daisey attempted to mold his opinions into real-life experiences and in turn he convinced people to believe his opinions and experiences. As I have stated, I agree with Daisey’s opinions of Apple and China. However, after I listened to both podcasts and learned that his story is untrue, I have realized that maybe other stories and accusations against Apple are untrue as well. Maybe other people, because of their strong opinions…whatever they might be…have created stories and accused Apple of things that are not true. Maybe Apple is not as unethical as people say…
As I mentioned in my first blog post, Apple has been reprimanded in the past for its poor treatment of workers, especially in China. This podcast really intrigued me. Since I am a Management and East Asian Studies double major, I have learned a lot about China over the past couple years and have taken Chinese for 7 years. Additionally, since last May I have watched Apple very closely for one of my classes, the Student Managed Investment Fund. With that said, I really understood what Mr. Daisy was talking about. After learning about China and Apple throughout the past couple years and then visiting Beijing and Hong Kong three years ago, I have learned that China is filled with secrets. Apple is no outlier. Even when I went to Tiananmen Square and my mom asked our translator, “What happened here?” she responded with “I don’t know.” Of course she knew. It was very courageous of Mr. Daisy to attempt to break down this wall of secrets. Additionally, I agree wholeheartedly that Apple, a “company so obsessed with details” could overlook the under-aged workers and the conditions they have to work in. Furthermore, as consumers, we need to be more aware of where our products come from, how they are made, and who makes them.
Apple has been criticized for at least the past three years for acting unethically and hiring cheap labor in China. Working conditions, work hours, and wages are most often condemned. Although these claims have hurt Apple’s reputation in the short term, it remains a leading innovator and contributor to the advancement of technology and communication specifically. As Ed Freeman states in his “Business Ethics at the Millennium”, “business as an institution is a source of the creation of value…the creative force of humans is the engine of capitalism” (Freeman 177). Though Apple may hire cheap labor in order to drive its profits or keep the price of its new iPhone affordable, it is Apple’s social responsibility to treat its employees ethically.
By continuing to be innovative and contributing to the advancement of society, Apple will remain profitable and can still please its stakeholders without being unethical. Innovation can be inhibited if values and ethics are ignored. Freeman supports this by stating, “if business is separate from values and ethics, and if change requires one to think about values and ethics, then change in business will be difficult” (Freeman 175). In order to maintain its well-respected reputation, Apple should reconsider its values and continue to focus more on its innovation than cost cutting metrics.