Ethics,Morals, and Laws
Intoday’s world where unemployment is rife, millions survive onmeager wages. Still, many more do not have any formal employment atall, forcing them to grapple through life by undertaking demeaningjobs that pay poorly or subject them to harsh working conditions. Onthe other hand, greedy entrepreneurs have been known to manipulatepeople and make them go through untold sufferings all in the name ofmaking the most profit out of them. Such acts and entrepreneurs defyethical reasoning, intercultural competence, and civic knowledge.Below, this essay elucidates the importance of ethical reasoning,civic knowledge, and intercultural competence in giving a fair wagefor services rendered.
Ethicalreasoning does dictate great importance in offering fair wage forservices rendered to an employer or a company. A good example of therole played by ethical reasoning in giving a fair wage is the at-willpresumption as well as exceptions to the rule. The at-willpresumption is applied in the employment relations in the UnitedStates as well as many other nations. First off, this rule onlyallows employers to dismiss employees for a genuine cause. Otherreasons subsumed in the at-will presumption are employer dereference,freedom of contract, and the belief that both entrepreneurs, as wellas their workers, favor an at-will employer-worker relationship overjob security. At-will implies that employers cannot fire employeesfor illegal reasons. Therefore, in the Rana Plaza’s case, threatsby employers that they would fire workers and suspend their pay ifthey pursued the matter of the building having cracks are againstethical reasoning (Neuman,2013).
Ethicalreasoning also suggests that in as much as a trade is a humanactivity, it is subject to the very rationally reasonable moral normsas any other activity by humans. While it is acceptable for companiesin the garment industry like the venture house by Rana Plaza to makeprofit for the investors this obligation should not trump otheressential ethical responsibilities. Indeed, among the preliminarytasks bestowed to ethical managers is the task of balancing thecompeting ethical responsibilities of stakeholders. One of the coreethical responsibilities of managers in the garment industry is tohave respect for their employees. To completely respect somebody, onemust enthusiastically treat his or her life as an end, and not justas a means to that end. This implies that it is not permissible totreat workers as disposable tools (Calamur,2013).
Conversationsregarding fair wages are important and need to be present among largepopulations. Civic knowledge and dialogue allow entrepreneurs andbusinesses to engage with people around sensitive issues such as fairwages and develop the consensus needed for effective and appropriateaction. Civic dialogue allows people from myriad backgrounds to cometogether and develop mutual understanding around controversial andcritical issues. Businesses play a major role in such dialogues astheir involvement assists in mobilizing for essential causes. Propercivic education given to the workers in the garment industry housedby Rana Plaza could have gone a long way into sensitizing themregarding their rights as workers. Such education could haveprevented the high number of injuries and deaths caused by thecollapse of the plaza. In addition, proper civic education would haveassisted the workers to know their rights regarding pay, making themnot to neglect reporting such a grave matter as cracks in thebuilding because they feared being fired.
Civiceducation is also an important component of fair pay as it dictatesthat all people in the country are entitled to the same rights. Insituations where civic education is well practiced, it is rare toexperience mistreatment of employees by employers for the simplereason that everyone they are entitled to the same rights. Civiceducation aims to sensitize people that they are entitled to certainrights as human beings regardless of their creed, race language,color, or gender. Where civic education is limited, though, workersface poor working conditions and unfair pay. This appears to be thecase in the Hungarian garment industry, which is epitomized by theRana Plaza disaster.
Interculturalcompetence and mutual understanding have become highly importanttoday than they have ever been because through them, people canaddress most of the most virulent issues in the society.Manifestations of discrimination, prejudice, hate speech, and unfairtreatment of workers have all become common, and many employees aresuffering at their places of work because of such issues. All theseproblems are associated to political and socio-economic inequalitiesas well as misunderstandings among people from myriad culturalbackground and different affiliations. Differences in culturalbackground and socio-economic inequalities must have played a majorrole in the unfair wages and improper treatment in the garmentindustry (Huber-Kriegler,Lázár, & Strange, 2003).
Thus,Increasing intercultural competence through education and awarenessprograms presents as highly important. There is a solid urgency, andit hovers around many aspects of life, for educations that can assistpeople to live harmoniously in highly diversified societies. Thecapacity to communicate and understand each other across all sorts ofcultural divisions is an important prerequisite for making diversesocieties to work. Everyone needs to acquire interculturalcompetence, and thus, intercultural education whose aim is toinitiate and enhance this capacity is needed. Such education ensurespeaceful coexistence and greater understanding between people.Intercultural education could have helped lessen the rift betweenemployers and employees in the garment industry in Rana Plaza,thereby preventing the calamity that led to the loss of many livesand irreparable damage (Councilof Europe and European Commission, 2000).
Manypeople may say that the world is totally free from slavery. However,modern day slavery comes in many forms, including the unfairtreatment that workers go through in their places of work. Because ofthe increasing cost of living, widening the gap between the rich andpoor, and rising unemployment rate, modern day slavery in the form ofpayment of unfair wages for services rendered has become mundane. Theessay has shown how ethical considerations, interculturalcompetences, and civic knowledge play a huge role in reducing unfairtreatment of workers. When employers treat workers ethically, theypay them fair. Additionally, civic knowledge empowers workers tostand for their rights. Lastly, intercultural competence enablespeople of different classes and backgrounds to work together inharmony.
Calamur,K. (2013). Pope Compares Bangladesh Factory Workers To “SlaveLabor.” Retrieved October 6, 2014, fromhttp://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/05/01/180406283/pope-compares-bangladesh-factory-workers-to-slave-labor
Councilof Europe and European Commission (2000), T-KitNo. 4, Intercultural Learning.Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing.
Huber-Kriegler,M., Lázár, I. & Strange, J. (2003).Mirrorsand Windows – An Intercultural Communication Textbook.ECML/Strasbourg:Council of EuropePublishing.
Neuman,S. (2013). Bangladesh Rescuers Give Up On Finding Survivors OfCollapse. Retrieved October 6, 2014, fromhttp://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/04/29/179801264/bangladesh-rescuers-give-up-on-finding-survivors-from-collapse