The ethical theory deals with what individuals ought to do so that they may be termed as good, and what things make us say that a certain act is good or wrong. Additionally, ethical theory guides us on how to act morally and directs us on how we ought to approach moral dilemmas and whether the judgments we make are right or wrong(Ayer,2007, p.23). These ethical theories are normative ethical theories, virtue ethical theory, descriptive ethics theory and consequential theory (International Library of Philosophy, 2000, p.288). Some of the theories state that there are some things that are universally right while others are wrong (Stout, 1988, p.248). Moreover, other theories state that something is good or wrong depending on individuals, that is they are subjective (Slunger,1979,p.11). In this paper, I am going to use a case concerning Jordan’s garment industry in which I am going to explain the moral dilemmas that exist and show how the ethical theory relates to this information. I will begin by describing the case of Jordan’s Garment industry.
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A case study of Jordan’s Garment industry
According to the Video clip (n.d), Jordan is amongst several countries in the Middle East that have witnessed robust economic growth in recent years. Among the many industries in Jordan, is the garment industry. In Jordan, the Apparel industry forms about a third of all the exports from the country. In addition, the industry provides employment to nearly 43000 individuals. This industry has been of immense benefit not just to the Jordanians and buyers in the market, but it has also provided employment to immigrants from such countries as China, Sri Lanka, and India.
Initially, the industries had various problems to an extent that the ministry of labor had to come in and advocate for the improvement of the sector. Owing to a large number of stakeholders in this industry (for example, those who make the garment, international buyers, trade unions, and the government among others), the issue of ethics comes in. This is because in most cases, there are often quarrels between workers and employers, the management and international buyers, and among employees themselves. The Apparel industry, just like any other sector, is faced with a moral dilemma as a result of the activities in the sector involving various stakeholders.
Ethical arguments concerning Jordan’s Garment industry
There are many things that have happened in this industry, and these have called for ethical arguments. The paper shall explore each one of these issues and apply ethical theory to show how the two relate.
Employment of workers
In the Apparel industry, about two-thirds of the workers come from other countries while most of the Jordanians remain unemployed (Video, nd). In this case, the moral argument of providing employment to foreigners even as the locals have no source of income cannot be overlooked. The descriptive theory states that if something is morally good without giving any reason, then the act is good. On the other hand, the utilitarianism of consequential theory states that something is good provided it produces results that benefit most people. Accordingly, employing people from outside the country is not morally right since the citizens continue suffering. Moreover, using normative theory which describes how we ought to act and evaluate our action, this act is morally wrong right since the management explains that these workers from other countries work for many hours than those from Jordan(Stout,1988,p.248).
Workers living their families behind
As stated above, most of the workers in this industry are from outside Jordan. A majority of them have left their families behind. Although one could argue that the need to provide for their families has necessitated their decision, nonetheless, one could also argue these workers have left their children behind without anybody to take care of them and even if these children have money, they still lack parental care and hence, are unhappy. Kantian ethics theory states that something is good if somebody did something out of his will, then these people living their families to come and look for money in other countries is morally right (Julie,2006, p.186). Additionally, the consequential theory states that something is morally good or bad depending on the consequences. This act is morally right because if these people leave the job and go back to their families, they will not benefit their families since they will not be in a position to provide them with basic needs.
It is clearly stated that these migrant workers work for many hours which range from twelve to sixteen hours per day. In this case, the management of the garment industry would opt to employ immigrants other than Jordanians because they work for longer hours (Video, nd). The dilemma here is whether these employees should complain or just keep quiet and continue being exploited because if they complain they shall lose their jobs and by extension, their source of income. According to Utilitarianism theory, these people should just work and not complain as when they will do so and are deployed, they will bring suffering to their families. However, the Divine Command Theory defines the rightness and wrongness of an action depending on the belief in God and his command, (Julie, 2008, p.186). Therefore, these employees should air their views and even if they are fired they should not worry as the Holy Book encourages them not to worry about their lives for God will take care of all their needs.
Moreover, according to the normative theory which talk of rightness or wrongness of behavior being subjective, management has not done anything wrong since people are the one who has decided to keep quiet (Landau,2002,p.609).
Firing of workers if they tend to air their views
It is clearly shown in the video that these migrant workers are not willing to talk about their exploitation in terms of working for long hours even though they have been given permission by the management to choose some of their colleagues to represent them in the management due to the fear of being demployed. The management know this even before these people take their complaints as the Head of the industry said that these migrant workers tolerate doing many things that other people could not tolerate (Video. nd). The dilemma here is whether it is morally right for the management to deploy the workers if they try to air their view or whether they should listen to them and react accordingly. According to Divine theory, the management ought to listen to workers and not discontinue them from their work due to the fact that it is good to pay attention to others.
There are many ethical theories that explain whether something is good or wrong and how we ought to approach moral dilemmas. Some of these theories are normative, descriptive, consequential, and virtue theories, According to these theories an act can be right or wrong and they also give reasons as to why we say some things are good while others are bad.
- Ayer, J.A.2007. Critique of ethics in Ethical Theory: An Anthology.Malden, MA: Blackwell.
- International Library of philosophy.2000. Five Types of Ethical Theory. New York: Routledge.
- Julie, D.2006.Ethics: The fundamentals.Oxford: Blackwell publisher.
- Landau, R.S.2002.”Ethical subjectivism “In Reason and Responsibility: Reading in Some basic problems of philosophy.Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
- Slunger, P.1979.Ethics: UK: Cambridge University Press.
- Stout.J.Ethics after Babel: 1988.The Language of Marcus and their Discontents.Boston: Beacon Press.
- Video Clip: Jordan’s garment industry: Migrating To Better Work. Web.