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General Paper Essay Outline : Discuss the view that it is increasingly difficult to engage in ethical business practices. (CJC Prelim 2015)

warning handle with care

Note : Very raw ideas here.

Some interpretation : Unethical business practices cover a broad range of infringements including, but not limited to the following :
– cheating customers or putting them in harm’s way;
– the denying workers their rights (pay, benefits, safety, fair hours),
– irresponsible exploitation of the environment,
– stealing from competitors,
– lying to government regulators
– doing what is deemed illegal in the country the business operates

So, what could possibly make doing ethical business difficult – and increasingly so ?

1) Could it be the extremely fierce competition that makes companies earn more profits not from making better and more useful products, but from cutting costs ?

2) As an extension, could it be a case of ‘if-you-can’t-beat-them-then-join-them’ ? Those who are unethical have changed the rules of the game to suit themselves, compelling others to follow suit.

3) Could it be that ethical business would just require too much regulation or oversight.
– More companies grow >> increasingly challenging to ensure ethical standards in all aspects, in all operations that take place around the world
– Where corruption is entrenched, this could mean that ethical standards are at best, unevenly implemented and at worst, utterly pointless since businesses can pay their way out of being ethical.

4) The same can be said of other transnational business operations. If different countries have different standards, then businesses just need to operate in the country that gives them the loophole they need.

5) Does the free flow of information on the internet make copyright difficult to protect ?

Opposing View :
6) Yet, because businesses have such a big impact on society by virtue of the fact that they affect consumers and employees, the increasing difficulty in engaging in ethical business is not a good enough reason to give up on protecting ethical standards. The progress made in upholding business ethics give hope for the future >>> (So, need to give examples of such progress at this point)

7) In addition, the growing numbers of enlightened consumers who have greater access to product knowledge also give hope that producers will give in to the demands of ethical consumers.

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