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Business Ethics - Coursework Example

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This work called "Business Ethics" describes the ethics of the electronics devices business, as it pertains to the manufacturing outsourcing practices of leading electronics brands such as Apple. The author outlines the unfair treatment of labor, the use of minors, and low wages…
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Business Ethics
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Download file to see previous pages Many quarters are questioning the ethics of using such subcontractors in the face of allegations of such human rights abuses and failing within the factories of the subcontracting parties. This too, given that Apple, for instance, had been reaping large profits from the global sale of its products. There are studies that note that the electronics sector, in particular, have been among the worst human rights violators in the world, topping other traditional transgressors of human rights as they pertain to labor rights, such as mining and textiles (Hachnan, 2012; Wagstaff, 2012; Mims, 2012).
A report coming out of the MIT Technology Review in 2012 showed that among different industries, electronics have been singled out as the worst violators of labor rights int eh world, topping the record of textiles, mining, and a few other traditional industries that have been noted for poor labor practices. Part of this, the report says, is based on market dynamics. There is a need for electronics subcontractors and big-name brands such as Apple and Hewlett-Packard to make manufacturing processes conform to the dynamics of a market where cellular phones and other electronics have short life cycles and become obsolete at very short time frames, usually within the space of a few months. Practices that essentially reduce inventory risks by manufacturing to demand, and ordering the supply chain to be so configured that products are delivered just in time, translate to pressure on the part of the manufacturers and subcontractors to squeeze maximum productivity from workers at the lowest costs. This, in turn, translates to workers being fired and hired as needed, to conform with changes in demand and in production for various electronic devices, long work hours, low wages, and poor working and living conditions. The competition among subcontractors too means that electronics industry workers have to accept low wages all around and that the excess in the supply of workers relative to demand means that workers meanwhile have little to no leverage in terms of being able to haggle for better wages and better living conditions. The consequences are the institutionalization of grave worker abuses that amount to rampant exploitation. The absence of mechanisms to subvert these exploitative practices via big-name players like Apple and Microsoft funneling parts of their profits to improve worker conditions means that the conditions of exploitation persist.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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