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Round 2. Ycon V Agent47: Business Ethics

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posted on Jun, 25 2004 @ 02:19 PM
Debate 1

The topic for this debate is "When they are in conflict, a business' responsibility to itself ought to be valued above its responsibility to society."

Ycon will be arguing for this proposition and will open the debate.
Agent47 will argue against this proposition.

Each debator will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

No post will be longer than 800 words and in the case of the closing statement no longer than 500 words. In the event of a debator posting more than the stated word limit then the excess words will be deleted by me from the bottom. Credits or references at the bottom count towards the word total.

Editing is Strictly forbidden. This means any editing, for any reason. Any edited posts will be completely deleted.

Excluding both the opening and closing statements only one image or link may be included as part of the argument in each post. This does not include references, no more than 5 of which can be included at the bottom of each post. Opening and closing statements must not contain any images or links in the argument, and must have no more than 3 references.

As a guide responses should be made within 24 hours, If the debate is moving forward then I have a relaxed attitude to this. However, if people are consistently late with their replies, they will forfeit their replies and possibly the debate.

Judging will be done by an anonymous panel of 11 judges. After each debate is completed it will be locked and the judges will begin making their decision. Results will be posted by me as soon as a majority (6) is reached.

This debate is now open, good luck to both of you.

[edit on 25-6-2004 by Kano]

posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 08:58 AM
Opening Statement

Business Ethics

"When they are in conflict, a business's responsibility to itself ought to be valued above its responsibility to society."

To start off my opening statement, I would like to thank all those participating and wish my opponent the best.

A business is started by an individual and he is the driving force behind it. His main motivation is profit. He thought up the idea for the product and brought it to life. You’ve taken responsibility for your life as an individual and your fulfilling your needs. Majority of your profits go back into the business, so it will continue to grow and some goes towards your living expenses. There is also enough left to hire someone at minimum wage. This is how many business’s start out in America, an idea, motivation, work and money.

In this debate I will show why it’s important for a business to keep its value of responsibility to itself rather then being responsible for society.

Here are a few points that will be covered in my first argument.

1. Nature of man
2. Individualism and ego
3. Self Interest
4. Limiting Business Power

Now, lets go back to your business. You just hired a 18 year old named Tom, at minimum wage and he is happy, because this is his first job. You are satisfied with his work and you can now cut back your hours from 60 to 40 per week. Before you hired Tom your goal was to retire in 10 years. Now that you have Tom working your goal changed to 5 years. Everything seems to be going good, but wait Toms parents just called and want you to increase his pay and help him get a college education. Ding Ding, ah that’s the bell on the door, to your business. YOU HAVE CUSTOMERS You go to greet your customers when they start to complain that lower income families can not afford your product.

Now where does that leave you? If you lower your prices and pay Tom more, your goal of 5 years to retire just jumped up to 15 years and your back to 60 hours per week. Lets close it down and take a position with the company down the road, you will get full benefits with paid holidays and retire in 20 years.

This is an example of what would happen to many new business’s if they allowed their business responsibility to go from itself to being responsible for society.

We already have over 95 percent of new business’s failing within their first 2 years.

Do we need to give away our profits to society?

No, it was your idea and your effort.

Agent47 it’s all yours

455 words

posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 07:51 PM
Business Ethics

"Businessmen are bastards"- John F. Kennedy

Famously uttered by the former president, this 40 year old mantra is something that still holds true today. The collapse of the Soviet Union has in effect created an economic monopoly. The implosion of Socialism accelerated the global preminence of Capitalism. During the Cold War Western pundits hailed Capitalism as the "Moral Economic System" that protected the inherent nature of mankind and the individual. Yet while everyone was keeping a close eye on the danger of Socialism, the Western system began to mutate. Today's capitalism has outgrown its moral tag, and is a global cess pool of corruption and greed.

Corporate failures such as the Enron Scandal have brought Business Ethics back into the social consciousness. Yet this is modern Business Ethics, and the local self run business has been replaced by the multinational corporation, and minimum wage has been replaced by child labor. We can sit around and highlight the hardship of Tom or we can face the stark reality of Bhopal.

The Bhopal Disaster of 1984 killed thousands of people in the Indian city of Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, following the accidental release of forty tons of methyl isocyanate from a chemical plant located in the heart of the city. This event was one of the worst industrial disasters in history, with significant injuries to at least 50,000 people.

The cause of this disaster? Failures in Business Ethics.

The gas escaped while the chemical 'scrubbers' which should have treated the gas were off-line for repairs. Investigations have revealed that many safety procedures were bypassed and the standard of operations in the Indian plant did not match those at other Union Carbide plants. It was also alleged that these safety procedures were wilfully toned down as a part of "cost cutting operations" at the Indian plant that Union Carbide was involved in at that time.

In the eyes of modern business 50,000 lives do not outweight the benefits of "cost cutting operations". Not to mention child labor, sweat shops, or other popular cost cutting initiatives. My opponent would argue these activities are born out of finacial neccessity. To which I respond: "What necessity does Coca Cola have to employ child labor or what necessity drives Union Carbondale to take thousands of lives?"

The reality is not Tom. The reality is Bhopal and the rampant corruption and greed of modern business.

So should a business' responsibility to itself ought to be valued above its responsibility to society.? The answer is no.

In my first argument I plan to highlight:

  • The failures of Union Carbondal at Bhopal
  • The necessity of morality in Capitalism
  • The finacial motivations of business to avoid eco friendly policies.
  • The inherent responsibility of business to the people.

We already have multinational corporations with blood on their hands. And this is justified by finacial necessity?

Back to you Ycon.
Thanks to Ycon, Kano, and the judges.

492 Words.

posted on Jun, 27 2004 @ 10:15 AM
Argument 1

Agent47, first let me respond to your opening statement by saying Enron was a very bad apple. I don’t think anyone would disagree with you. Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership of capital and you say it is a global cess pool of corruption and greed. Even though there are some bad business decisions and corruption in some business’s, it doesn’t mean that ALL business’s will become corrupted. The Bhopal Disaster is another example of a bad apple, management sacrificed safety for greed.

America was built on free enterprise (an economy that relies chiefly on market forces to allocate goods and resources and to determine prices) and capitalism. It is our foundation and has made America what it is today, the land of the free.

To start out this first argument lets refer back to the opinion polls from the Affirmative Action topic in round one. Majority agreed with Affirmative Action but when a point or quota system was mentioned, majority disagreed with it. What does that tell us? It tells us that people are willing to treat each other as equals but they don’t want to be forced with laws and systems that only create more anger and discrimination. If we force business’s to be responsible for society it will hurt society in the long run. Strong moral rules, may do what is required, but the joy of being respectful and thoughtful is gone. We can’t force each other to be ethical. To be ethical should always be a free choice.

Georg Gadow, Ph.D. “Our respect for the boundaries and the uniqueness of each person needs to be followed by the next level: empathy, being sensitive to our differences and experiencing others from their point of view. Respect and empathy have to rise to the level of reason, making sense out of what we are, what we do and say. Reason joins us together to create clear paths for mutual understanding. We cannot start to be ethical if we lack respect. Without respect there can be no true empathy to others and we cannot reason with one another.” (1)

Next, I will quote a few paragraphs on the nature of man, individualism, ego and self interest from the secret government lab site by Erich Fromm. It’s important for us to understand how placing responsibility on business’s for society, will affect them personally.

“Modern society, in spite of all the emphasis it puts upon happiness, individuality, and self-interest, has taught man to feel that not his happiness … is the aim of life, but the fulfillment of his duty to work, or his success. Money, prestige, and power have become his incentives and ends.”(2)

“The mature, productive, rational person will choose a system which permits him to be mature, productive and rational. The person who has been blocked in his development must revert to primitive and irrational systems which in turn prolong and increase his dependence and irrationality.”(2)

“Don't be selfish” becomes one of the most powerful ideological tools in suppressing spontaneity and the free development of personality.” (2)
“The idea that egotism is the basis of the general welfare is the principle on which competitive society has been built.” (2)

“Not only others, but we ourselves are the “object” of our feelings and attitudes; the attitudes toward others and toward ourselves, far from being contradictory, are basically conjunctive.” (2)

As you can see mans happiness revolves around his work, his productivity and his profits. His ego drives him to be successful and he works hard to become wealthy. He spends his life taking care of his family, putting his children through college and in the end he hopes to retire with enough money to enjoy the rest of his life.

One more item to cover before I turn this back over to my opponent. With over 200,000 companies in the US only 3 dozen have committed fraud. That’s a small fraction of a percent of this total. The people managing these companies are like most of us, ordinary good hearted people. If we respect the way people are trying to build a meaningful life of their own, for their dignity, their autonomy, then we can live together in harmony.

Back to you Agent47


words 714

posted on Jun, 28 2004 @ 12:09 AM
I do not disagree with labeling Enron a "bad apple", but it would be wrong to sell the apple crop short.

The instances of corporate mismanagement have reached a new pinnacle in the 21st century. Although my opponent argues the idea of inherent goodwill within capitalism, it is history that has painted a much different picture. These salary figures paint a stark portrait of CEO life.

In 1980 the average CEO made: $1.306 Million
By 2000 that number had reached: 13.100 Million

The rich get richer, or does that mean happier?

Now if you will let me tell you a little story. A story about one CEO's greed, and the harm it caused others

The story of the software company Computer Associates vividly illustrates the gulf between those at the top who needed huge work incentives and the rest of their employees. In 1999 Charles Wang, CEO of Computer Associates topped Business Week magazine’s 1999 annual survey of CEO’s pay with a staggering 12-month earnings total of $655.4 million.

According to a New York Times report, in January 2001 the company began firing hundreds of workers for what it claimed were performance reasons, which allowed it to avoid paying severance pay. In an article that was published 8 months before Enron collapsed, under the headline 'A Software Company Runs Out of Tricks', the newspaper accused the company of 'accounting tricks' to cover up a 'mirage' of revenue growth. The report said that: ‘Over the years, it has gained a reputation as a callous employer that dismisses workers without warning while top executives take home eight- and sometimes nine-figure pay packages.

Firing employees whilst making over 600 million a year? What necessity prompted that? What economic duress forced Computer Associates to perform illegal accounting practices? This man is clearly living above his needs for happiness, and my opponent would suggest that by imposing moral constrictions on his actions you limit happiness? The man is making 600 million dollars and continues to cook the books. It’s as simple as that, and my opponent would want to blur the truth and legitimize such actions. Another interesting point in this article is that this was 8 months before Enron

The sad truth is that the world is inundated with "bad apples".

The number of active U.S. corporations is nearing 5 million, and they account for over $ 17 trillion in annual revenue - a figure that has been growing at a rate of about 2% annually.

My opponent wants to leave $17 trillion dollars in the hands of the individual, assuming that their happiness will hold fast in the face of greed. This is a ludicrous argument. When we speak of business ethics we speak of 17$ Trillion dollars and not just minimum wage and retiring. We are talking about a figure larger than most GDPs. We cannot leave such grave matters in the hands of happiness. History has shown that companies will only seek more money regardless of fulfillment of needs.

Would you rather base ethics off of economic security and not play around with $17 trillion or would you listen to a man who runs a "secret government lab site" ?

If you are still struggling with an answer let me present you one final story.

In the 1960s a group of men had their ego drive them to open a chemical plant in Bhopal India. These men formed a corporation known as Union Carbondale. Business was fine at first, and revenues were high. Then one day the company realized it could make more money, but it would have to sacrifice safety procedures. It was at this point that individual business ethics failed, and the "cost cutting initiatives" were emplaced.

Then one night a leak occured, and a toxic gas cloud escaped into the nearby city of Bhopal. Without any forwarning the cloud of death creeped into the slums, and ripped the life out of lungs. Nearly 20 years later and the people of Bhopal still suffer. Union Carbondale was found guilty and ordered to pay damages, and this was their response:

In 1989, Union Carbide settled a civil suit brought by the Indian government by agreeing to pay US$470 million for damages suffered by the half million people who were exposed to the gas. The company maintained that the payment was made out of a sense of "moral", rather than "legal" responsibility since the plant was operated by a separate Indian subsidiary, Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL).

But the settlement, which has so far provided an average of less than $500 to each victim.

Moral obligation based on ownership? Disgusting.

The stories and images speak for themselves. Individual ethics and happiness should not outweigh the graves of the innocent.

Business Stats
Pay Stats/Computer Associates Story

Words: 800

posted on Jun, 29 2004 @ 01:49 AM
Argument 2

Agent47, we are debating businesses in general, not the small percent of corrupt large corporations. These large corporations are taking away from the American people. They are taking our jobs away and hiring slave labor in other countries. They control our government. They don’t pay federal taxes. The “they” is one percent of our businesses. That’s 36 out of 200,000 companies. Your argument is condemning the other 99 percent, that’s like taking a city the size of Grand Rapids Michigan (pop 200,000) and sentencing them all to prison for the crimes of 36 people.

The quotes in my first argument from the secret government lab site, were to show you the basic nature of man. For example if we take 100 people and help them setup a business and let them run it, they will want to keep their employees happy and earn their respect. They will give them a decent pay with benefits and keep their work area safe. Most people will do the right thing and feel good about doing it.

Small business employs more than half the non-farm workforce, including 38 percent of the private sector workforce in the high-tech industry, contributes 51 percent to the gross domestic product, is responsible for almost half the sales in the country and generates far more innovations than big business. Small businesses are responsible for such breakthroughs as the computer and the heart pacemaker. Companies such as and Microsoft started as small businesses.
"Small business is big business in America," Velázquez said. "When small business suffers, the whole economy feels it. That's why this study is so important." (1)

We see that small business’s are over 50% of US workforce and we also see that most employers will treat their employees right in most cases. When businesses have conflicts they should put their value on themselves, not on society. When a business has financial problems, it may have to cut back on benefits and maybe lower wages in order to survive hard times. If it is not allowed then many business may fail and the employees will be out of work and unemployment will rise.

Our Hidden History: Corporations in America

Once upon a time, long ago:

When there was public control of corporations

For one hundred years after the American Revolution, citizens and their legislators controlled the nation's economy by controlling the corporate chartering process. Having thrown off English rule, the revolutionaries did not give governors, judges or generals the authority to charter corporations.

Citizens made certain that legislators issued charters, one at a time and for a limited number of years. They kept a tight hold on corporations by spelling out rules each business had to follow, by holding business owners liable for harms or injuries, and by revoking charters.

The above site explains how large corporations got out of hand. Take the time to read it. You will find it interesting.

This is an excellent debate topic and I see why Agent47 keeps pointing out the big corporations. They are out of control, but yet they control the government and 40 percent of the countries wealth. There are many different areas that could be covered, but we are limited in this short debate.

My argument is that a business should value itself over society when there are conflicts, but for the big corporations that are greedy and amoral, society should be valued first. So that makes it hard to say all businesses should value themselves first. I hope that Agent47 will move away from the larger corporations and give me a argument that I can address. Like I said in my first argument, there are some bad apples out there and in most cases they are the out of control corporations. The 1% makes the rest look bad. 36 out of 200,000

The 5 top evil corporations are AT&T, Disney, Mc Donalds, The United States Postal Service and Music / Recording Companies / MTV (2)

Back to you Agent47


words 675

posted on Jun, 29 2004 @ 11:16 PM
In this debate I choose to highlight the area of business ethics that have the strongest and most direct effect on the population of the world. With over 17$ trillion dollars in United States commerce alone and thousands of employees, nothing effects the people of the World more than big business. And isn't the world the issue at stake here? We can take a very precise yet narrow minded approach and try to wrap the topic solely around the small business of America or we can talk globally.

Some global facts :

Globally, the 20% of the world's people in the highest-income countries account for 86% of total private consumption expenditures. More specifically, the richest fifth:

* Consume 45% of all meat and fish, the poorest fifth 5%.
* Consume 58% of total energy, the poorest fifth less than 4%.
* Have 74% of all telephone lines, the poorest fifth 1.5%.
* Consume 84% of all paper, the poorest fifth 1.1%.
* Own 87% of the world's vehicle fleet, the poorest fifth less than 1%.

The world is literally suffocating under the pressure of the free unabashed consumerism in the name of happiness that my opponent has been espousing. My opponent asks me why I must focus on corporations, and not on American small business. My answer is when did this topic become "Business ethics in American Small Business"? We gamble with ignorance when we fail to see the big picture. The world is held in check by big business consumerism, and it is the duty of big business to act in the benefit of the world.

I have to ask how discussing small business ethics will prevent another Bhopal?

The only solution to another Bhopal is big business regulations, and when these regulations are self imposed nothing is accomplished. My opponents system of letting business guide itself to happiness is ridiculous, and the news only drives this home. In today's market there is no motivation to go "green" or go anything that helps people.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US, there was a lot of buzz about the vulnerability of US chemical plants to terrorist attack, the fear being that an attack on a chemical plant would release large quantities of toxic chemicals that could devastate nearby communities. Indeed, the 1984 chemical-plant accident in Bhopal, India, which killed 15,000-30,000 local residents and permanently injured hundreds of thousands of others, showed the level of potential trouble for cities and towns near chemical plants. But in spite of the danger, the US chemical industry has used the political muscle it's gained through political contributions to thwart attempts by some in Congress to legislate tighter security and safety measures, claiming that the industry will take care of the problem on its own. But when company budgets for such efforts compete with quarterly profit statements, you can bet that some companies will fail to adequately meet the challenge.

Corporations both home and abroad have repeatedly chosen to use this cop out. At what point do we stand up and say trading corporate profits for our lives and security is unacceptable?

And that ladies and gentlemen is what this debate boils down to. Our lives and security versus some sob story about retirement and Tom the minimum wage employee. I agree that man is not inherently evil, but there is no "man" within a thousand-employee conglomerate. We must see the bigger picture and think about the greater good.

The greater good is NOT American small business, and it is a pity to limit the argument solely to this topic. That is why I refuse to play on my opponent’s court. The position is not valid as we are not talking about America specifically but the World. 3 Billions souls and counting depend on the global economy and what is the backbone of this economy? Corporations. It is their decisions that either produce healthy and balanced consumerism, or produced leaked clouds of bleach that permanently blind children.

I've shown you Bhopal, I've shown you domestic companies ignoring terror and our safety, and I’ve shown you the danger of being narrow minded. If my opponent chooses to sit back and agree that corporations are horrible then why am I still here?

There is no inherent "human" nature in big business, there is only the motivation of greed. How can we discuss the inherent good will of small business, and ignore the backbone of global economy? We MUST hold the global market up to an accepted standard of business ethics or sacrifice both lives and security.

I do not mean to portray myself as arrogant or dismissive, but I feel that limiting discussion solely to my opponent’s narrow field is an insult to the debate.

Post 9/11 Cop Outs


Words: 800

posted on Jun, 30 2004 @ 06:29 AM
Argument 3

Agent47, you seem to forget that most businesses start out small. I chose to use American small business for several reasons. This forum is based in the US and most members are American. So it makes more sense to use companies that the readers would recognize. A business usually starts out small and grows larger over the years. Another reason is, over 80 percent of US workforce is with smaller companies. Your statement “With over 17$ trillion dollars in United States commerce alone and thousands of employees, nothing effects the people of the World more than big business.” is false. It’s the small business that employs the majority, not only in the US but in most civilized countries around the world. We are not debating on which size company to compare. We are debating if a company should value itself over society.

Businesses in general will keep their employees happy. They know that production is higher when they gain the respect of their employees. Not only that, but also attendance is better and more qualified people will apply. They provide health care, paid vacations, paid sick days, education, childcare, attractive wages, profit sharing, recognition awards and bonuses. Some of the top companies voted for in Nevada are Antioch Company, Arrow Electronics, Colonial Bank, Desert Radiologists, Geotechnical and Environmental Services, MGM MIRAGE and Microsoft Licensing. (1)

Here’s an excellent example of when a business has conflicts, its value should be on itself.

Looking out on his company's Christmas party last December, the 34-year-old CEO couldn't help feeling a pang. Just one year earlier, his software-services firm, Spirian Technologies Inc. (#62), in Chicago, had launched a major product after reporting the best financials in its five-year history. The company celebrated richly, flying its employees and their families, as well as some customers, on an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World in January 2000. But midway through that year, many of Spirian's customers abruptly halted projects, throwing Wasserberger's company into a cash-flow crisis.

By Christmas 2000, even though Spirian would draw record revenues of more than $8 million for the year, Wasserberger had restructured the company. He adopted a new business plan focused on profits and let go of 11 employees. The day of the layoffs was the hardest of his career, Wasserberger says, adding, "These people's kids call me Uncle Al." To help keep costs down, employees celebrated the holidays that year with only a potluck supper held in the office.

There’s a good ending to his story continue reading it and see why he says "sometimes it's good for a business to go through an economically challenging time. We're a better company because of it."

I have to ask how discussing small business ethics will prevent another Bhopal?

How will discussing big business prevent it? Its not big or small business that lets that kind of thing happen, it’s a very small percent of greedy, amoral business men.

I feel that limiting discussion solely to my opponent’s narrow field is an insult to the debate.

Agent47, take a look at the table below, Employment Size of Employer Firms, 2001. This is a list of 5,657,774 firms. Lets split it down the middle, I will take the 0-500 employee firms and you take the 501-10,000+ employee firms. Now add them up, mine total 5,636,903 and yours total 20,871. Even if I take the firms with 0-9 employees it still comes to 4.4 million firms which is around 80% of the country. Even in other countries the numbers would be similar.

Employment size ___________________________________ Firms

Employer firms covered in Statistics of U.S. Business________5,657,774
Firms with no employees_______________________________703,837
1 to 4 employees___________________________________ 2,697,839
5 to 9 employees___________________________________ 1,019,105
10 to 19 employees___________________________________616,064
20 to 99 employees___________________________________518,258
100 to 499 employees__________________________________85,304
500 employees or more_________________________________17,367
__500 to 999 employees_________________________________8,572
__1,000 to 1,499 employees______________________________2,854
__1,500 to 2,499 employees______________________________2,307
__2,500 employees or more______________________________ 3,634
____2,500 to 4,999 employees____________________________1,706
____5,000 to 9,999 employees_____________________________ 871
____10,000 employees or more_____________________________936

We can all see that it is the small business that runs the world. My opponent may be the only one that disagrees. Most employers treat their workers right and when there are conflicts in their business and they have to cut back on benefits, the employees will respect their decision and try to work threw it together. The nature of man is moral, he enjoys helping people and loves to be respected. His life is spent seeking happiness and threw his family life and his work he shall find it.


words 775

posted on Jul, 1 2004 @ 01:34 AM
I agree that the point of the debate is whether a business should act for itself or society. It has been my argument that society must come first, and the size of the business in question is irrelevant. However I must still point out that the decisions of corporations are far more dangerous than those of the small business.

Although my opponent does point out that about 3 million Americans are employed through small business, these numbers pale in importance when compared to the employee's of multinational corporations.

If my opponent feels that American small business is more powerful than global corporate activity I must present these facts from the Institute for Policy Studies' report called Top 200: The Rise of Corporate Global Power.

Of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations; only 49 are countries (based on a comparison of corporate sales and country GDPs).

The Top 200 corporations' sales are growing at a faster rate than overall global economic activity. Between 1983 and 1999, their combined sales grew from the equivalent of 25.0 percent to 27.5 percent of World GDP.

I would like to drive home the power of these numbers.

Currently the small business of America is lucky to see a .005% growth rate whilst global corporations have seen over a 2% growth in less than 20 years. These numbers are astonishing. Such growth rates have no parallel and show no sign of slowing down.

Let me repeat, global corporations will quickly surpass accounting for 1/3 of global wealth. There is more business done by corporations than by most countries of the world.

The scope of global corporations is something unmatched historically or economically. In terms of growth and wealth, no other force can change the global situation more than multinational corporations.

My opponent has agreed that society should come before corporations, but arguing that small businesses should come before society is a double standard. The scope of global business far outweighs the importance of American small business.

If my opponent seeks to bring in employment statistics, I must show the awesome scope of corporate employment.

A full 5 percent of the Top 200s' combined workforce is employed by Wal-Mart, a company notorious for union-busting and widespread use of part-time workers to avoid paying benefits. The discount retail giant is the top private employer in the world, with 1,140,000 workers, more than twice as many as No. 2, DaimlerChrysler, which employs 466,938.

Within the top two corporations of the Earth their employment figures almost outmatch the size of American small business. Now if 5% of the corporate workforce amounts to 1,140,000 workers, then global corporations would employ 22 million 800 hundred thousand people.

When a global force employs 22 million wouldn't it's decisions affect more people than the 3 million affected by the decisions of small business?

I am here to prove why the decisions of business make these figures important. The crux of these figures is that when big business value's itself over society, it has consistently put these 22 million at risk.

The Industrial Labour Organisation acknowledges a prevailing trend: "In comparing the health and safety performance of home-based [TNCs] with that of the subsidiaries, it could generally be said that the home country operations were better than those of subsidiaries in the developing countries." The case of the German TNC Bayer's chromate production factory in South Africa is illustrative. Chromate is a corrosive compound which can cause respiratory illness including lung cancer.
In 1990, a trade union learned that several workers had developed lung cancer, although none had been informed that the disease might be related to their employment. Chrome Chemicals management refused the union's request to review the plant's industrial hygiene records, and in 1991 the firm shut down much of its operation and laid off most of its workers.

The only problem with these standards is that the bulk of corporate growth is in third world countries and not the home country.

With an almost infinite growth rate and increasing business, global corporations see the future in dollar signs and employees become a secondary concern. But with growth comes more employment and multinationals will soon employ almost 50 million global citizens.

We must ask ourselves why the safety of these fifty million comes second to profit?

Yes small business faces many tough decisions, but as my opponent has said "small business grows into big business".

As the gigantic growth continues many small businesses will become corporations, and what example shall they follow? The only current example is the example of greed. And where has greed gotten us?

Greed has gotten us Chromate exposure, Computer Associate's firing employees to increase profit, and my often repeated example of Bhopal.

Corporate Power Facts

South African Chromate Exposure

Words 800

posted on Jul, 2 2004 @ 01:06 AM
Closing Statement

A corporation is different from a business and this debate topic is “Business Ethics, "When they are in conflict, a business's responsibility to itself ought to be valued above its responsibility to society." My opponent has focused on corporations through out this debate and I tried to bring his focus back to business. I even agreed that the corporations should value society first. What makes the two different? A business is liable for itself, if you force your employees to work in unsafe areas and they are injured, you can be sued and if you loose the lawsuit, you may loose your business and everything else you’ve worked so hard for. Even if you win, you still need to pay your lawyer and court costs (most countries, looser pays). When a business becomes a corporation everything changes.

“A corporation is a separate person from the one or ones who own it. Therefore, when a corporation is sued, there are provisions in the law to protect the owners (shareholders) and mangers (officers and directors) from personal liability.”(1)

The corporation becomes a person separate from those who own and run it. They don’t worry about their employees or customers because they are not liable anymore. They focus on profits. That’s why we see more immoral acts by corporations then we do businesses.

Now if 5% of the corporate workforce amounts to 1,140,000 workers, then global corporations would employ 22 million 800 hundred thousand people.

In my 3rd argument I showed you that US firms employed 5.6 million people and that’s firms with 0-500 people. Larger firms 500-10,000+ employed around 20,000. The 22.8 million people employed by global corporations don’t even compare, if you figure in the rest of the world. There are 236 other countries, just 10 other countries at 5 million employees more then double your 22.8 million. There are 6 billion people on earth, most of whom are good hearted with moral standards. Less then a fraction of 1% are greedy amoral business men or I should say corporate men. The corporations are hurting all businesses big and small, maybe it’s time to change the laws.

The human nature of man in most cases is to treat others morally, to help those in need. We are caring, generous and try to earn the respect of others. When we become business owners we know that we are liable to our employees and customers, so we treat them right and they respect us for it. When there is conflict in our business and we are a respected business person our employees and customers will understand if we have to cut back on benefits or raise prices. They will work along side us through the tough times and we will reward them when the times are good.

Agent47, I really enjoyed this debate with you. I hope to debate you again soon. To Kano, the judges and all those involved with this tournament, thank you.



words 500

posted on Jul, 2 2004 @ 11:13 AM

Originally posted by Ycon

A corporation is different from a business

Different from a small business, but by definition a corporation is involved in business transactions. How can you suggest corporations cannot be discussed in this debate as they do conduct business, and do face difficult business decisions?

There are 236 other countries, just 10 other countries at 5 million employees more then double your 22.8 million.

What you fail to illustrate is that the figures you used were for non-agricultural business and it is agricultural work that provides employment for most of the world. You are reaching if you imply that every country on Earth shares the same small business figures as the United States. The majority of work in the world is currently agricultural.

For part of my closing argument I would like to use my opponents own words to prove my point.

I even agreed that the corporations should value society first.

The corporation becomes a person separate from those who own and run it. They don’t worry about their employees or customers because they are not liable anymore. They focus on profits. That’s why we see more immoral acts by corporations then we do businesses.

In my three arguments I showed the selfishness of business, the global strength of these businesses, the global impact of these selfish decisions, and I had my opponent concede my point.

I have shown that small business turns into big business and we cannot set a double standard for business ethics as it does not set a good example. Both small business and corporations owe society a degree of safety and security.

With almost 1/3 of the worlds GDP and thousands of employees, big business has repeatedly dropped the ball and hurt the innocent. If they are not held to standards for conduct, what incentive will new business have to protect the innocent? I have shown that global big business grows by leaps and bounds daily, and with the continued research into Nan technology the public risk is increasing in concert.

The scope and scale of possible disasters increase with the growth in business and technology.

In the 21st century capitalism is the uncontested future of the global economy, and we must set limits now before it is too late. Unfortunately I have been unable to show the environmental impact of business decisions. The Earth is a limited resource, and we cannot trade the Earth for the human idea of "wealth".

Returning to the original question I answer with this:

At one point we must draw the line between profit and people, no matter what the business size.

In the end I owe Ycon a much-deserved thank you for providing such a capable and intelligent opponent. The quality of her arguments required mine to rise to the same level. Once again I have to thank Kano for offering us all the chance to debate here. And lastly I thank the judges for their time.

Words 500

posted on Jul, 2 2004 @ 12:10 PM
Good work you two, I'll open the judging now. But being that its the 4th of July weekend, we may have to wait until after the judges sober up next early week before we get a result.

posted on Jul, 6 2004 @ 10:58 AM
The judges have sobered up, and the results are in.

The winner of this debate by a margin of 6-3 is Agent47. Congratulations Agent47 and commiserations to Ycon.

Judges Comments:

This was a tough debate topic, but both participants did an exceptional job handling it. I commend both their efforts and time. Great Job.

This one was difficult to judge for the fact that they never really met in the middle and, for the most part, chose to make their points at opposite ends of the spectrum. It could have gone either way, as both made their arguments very well.
I placed my vote with Ycon because I felt that she presented an argument that offered a more convincing and reasonable point of view. I felt that she showed that the responsibilities and ethics that apply to a billion dollar corporation dealing in deadly chemicals differ from those that apply to a small business selling vacuum cleaners. Both have a responsibility to themselves and to society, however, the impact each has on society has to be taken into account. Well done.

There was a great deal of energy expended by the combatants in this debate on the size of a business. On the surface, it would seem moot; big or small, sole proprietor or multi-national corporation, it's a one-size-fits-all logic, right? That would be a wrong assumption. The debate was won by the con argument because of the realities at play that were illustrated: a large corporation's abandonment of ethics for increased profits is a grander scale malfeasance ( thus proofing the debate statement)....that leads to cripples & death.
While a corporation does become a legal entity, it's not a microbe in a Petrie dish manifesting a single cell Darwinistic perogative. It is an entity not enjoying the 'kill or be killed' license us other organisms share.

agent47 gets my vote on this one. when you're able to use your opponent's words to prove your own point, that's a pretty secure win. that basically sealed the deal, since both debators did an excellent job.

The debate started very good, but in the end went too much into semantics. The last few posts seemed mostly concerned about whether we should include corporations in our judgement of all businesses. But let's focus on the arguments instead of the semantics. Ycon basicly said that businesses are good in origin and will make more ethical decisions if you leave them to make their own decisions instead of forcing certain rules. Agent47 showed that corporations are not always good. Ycon agreed with that. I think Agent47 then made the final winning argument by saying that those corporations influence us the most and that it is not right to set a double standard depending on the size of a business. My decision is that Agent47 has won this debate.

Best of luck to Agent47 in round 3.


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