Case Study: Unocal in Burma
Thus, local community was also a significant stakeholder, especially the hundreds of Karen who were forced as labors and also forced to relocate to accommodate the pipeline project.
According to the case study, one dilemma has been generated: whether It Is right or not that Unsocial cited to invest in the pipeline project, because unsocial was being accused of complicity in doing human rights abuses with Burmese military after the company invested into this project.
If the Unsocial invests this project, Standing in company’s own perspective, there are mainly three benefits Investing Into this project: local cheap and relatively educated labors; rich In natural gas resources; Burma has geographic advantage, because it was an entry point into other potentially lucrative 1 OFF International markets, wanly could Nell Unsocial serve as a link to markets In c India, and other countries in Southeast Asia.
In addition to benefit to company, the natural gas project should provide much revenues and significant benefits to Burma people and government, as Burma is a poor country with GAP $200-$300, higher inflation rate above 20 percent, a high infant mortality, and a low life expectancy. This project could help Burma economic growth. However, this project would do harm to local community, as the project invested by Unsocial would contribute the government of Burma to continually violate the human rights of the Burmese people, such as forcing hundreds of Karen to clear the way and build facilities for the pipeline construction and providing slave as the Burmese government labor for the project.
If Unsocial not invested in this project, Burmese would not have this opportunity to develop its economy and Thailand would not use the natural cleaner gas; at the same time, Unsocial would lose this good opportunity to expand its oversea market, which brings a loss of profits.
Q: Is Unsocial morally responsible for the injuries inflicted on some of the Karen people? From my perspective, the answer is “yes”. I explained it from two aspects: knowledge and principle of ethics Knowledge: before Unsocial investing into this project, company conducted research on the social political environment of Burma. Burma is a poor country and need other countries to help, and this project is an opportunity to make Burma economic growth.
However, the only one serious problem is that government of Burma would be a partner in this project, which was a military dictatorship accused of continually violating the human rights of the Burmese people. In addition, company has checked the report on Human Rights Practice in 995 which wrote: “the Burmese military forced hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of ordinary Burmese to ‘contribute’ their labor, often under harsh working conditions”.
And Unsocial contracted a consulting firm to review the 1991 Amnesty International report, which documented abuses against the Burmese by the army. However Unsocial still decided to invest into this project on the basis of knowing these human rights violations in Burma, as well as the risks that might occur. Subsequently, in 1995, Unsocial hired another consultant to investigate notations on the Hadrian project, and the result revealed its continuous human rights violations.
Therefore, on the basis of knowledge of human rights abuse before and after investment, Unsocial should be responsible for the injuries inflicted on some of the Karen people. Principle of ethics: the violation of ethics or moral standard obviously occurred in this case related to Unsocial in Burma. According to the Velasquez in his Business Ethics Concept mentioned that: Humans have a clear interest in being provided with work, food, clothing, housing and medical care when they cannot provide for these themselves .
Humans have a clear interest in being free from injury or fraud and in being free to think, associate, speak and live privately as they choose.
The human rights abuse in this case was proof of conflict with the moral rights perspective of ethics.
Moreover, from the distributive Justice perspective, even though the benefits have been distributed to all of Burma in theory, it is unfair that the burdens of building this pipe-line felt on colleens living near ten people-Ellen area, wanly Is violation AT Justice principle. Ana It also has a violation of caring principle, because of the loss of basic compassion for he people of Karen by the Burmese army. Therefore, in terms of violation of ethical principles and moral standard, Unsocial should be responsible for the injuries inflicted on some of the Karen people.
Q: Do you agree or disagree with Unsocial ‘s view that “engagement” rather than “isolation” is the proper course to achieve social and political change in developing countries with repressive governments. The reason why Unsocial chose engagement was that they believed the engagement is the more effective way to strengthen emerging economics and promote more open societies.
In y opinion, I totally agree with Unsocial ‘s view that “engagement” rather than “isolation” is “the proper” course to achieve social and political change in developing countries. Because Burma is a poorly country and such as the project attracted Unsocial, Total S. A etc. To help in building and changing the Burmese socially as well as improved it economically. Historically, isolation occurs when a country is isolated by another country or group of countries in the form of sanctions usually in the form of trade embargoes or travel ; immigration bans.
In addition, the U.
S Congress on April 30, 1994 voted to place Burma on a list of international “outlaw’ states, and in 1996, President Bill Clinton barred Burmese government officials from entering the United States, which may be a signal to be isolated by United States. Since 1962, Burma has been under totalitarian regimes when General En Win staged a military coup. Since then, Burmese people were suffering very tremendously.
Under General En Win’s one party Burma Socialist Programming Party, corruptions are rampant, and people are facing very hardship due to closed economics system and miss-management “Burma democratic concern If Burma s still continually violating the human rights for Burmese people and in a closed economics system, it is possible that Burma would be isolated by other countries even the whole world. Thus, taking an engagement policy not only improve its economics, but also promote open societies, well-being of human being and help growing the opportunities against its repressive government.
Ill Arguments In order to study this case, I adopt three ethical principles to analyze this case:
- moral right
- Justice and fairness.
And using the three principles demonstrates the dilemma mentioned above.
Utilitarianism perspective: Utilitarianism focused on that the actions and polices should be evaluated on the basis of social benefits and costs they will impose on society. The socially responsible course for a business to take is the one that will produce the greatest net benefits for society or impose the lowest net costs. The core concept of utilitarianism is the focus of good consequences for all stakeholders and not Just the individual. To understand whether Unsocial decision to invest in the Hadrian project or not, we can analyze the costs and benefits of the project.
Benefits of this project: Unsocial and other companies built schools and roads along the pipeline, small businesses were growing, the project increased employment for Burma citizens, Thailand was able to enjoy cleaner natural gas from the 500-600 million cubic feet of gas that was piped in daily through the pipeline instead of using dirtier fuel oil and Unsocial was expected to earn $2.
Costs of the project: abundant Koran were used as labor to force to clear the road and build facilities and many memoirs AT tenet Tamely were Trace to relocate, De tortured, murderer or rape he Burmese army. In utilitarianism perspective, Unsocial should invest into this project, because there are more people getting benefits from this project which produced the greatest net benefits to society. Moral right perspective: A right is an individual ‘s entitlement to something.
Distributive justice: “requires distributing society’s benefits and burdens fairly’.
From the distributive Justice perspective, it seems that Unsocial was not right to invest into this project. Even though the benefits have been distributed to all of Burma in theory, it is unfair that the burdens of building this pipe-line felt on citizens paving near the pipe-line area. Retributive Justice: “requires fairness when blaming or punishing persons for doing wrong”.
Unsocial should not invest in this project, because the company was sued in both the Federal and State courts in the US and the ensuing bad publicity and boycotts by consumers in the US eventually forced Unsocial out of business by way of a merger with Chevron, which means the investing behavior of Unsocial has induced wide dissatisfaction. Compensatory Justice: “requires restoring to a person what the person lost when he or she was wronged by omen”.
From the compensatory Justice perspective, Unsocial has compensated the people who have suffered in this project through out of court settlement.