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Complex Problem: Censorship
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Complex Problem: Censorship



An Interdisciplinary Approach

An Interdisciplinary Approach
Global Business & Business Ethics



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  • (Finneren, 2008; ZDNet, 2006)
  • (Chappatte, 2006)
  • (Bohner, 2005)
  • (Dunham, 2011)
  • (Nath, 2010)
  • (Nath, 2010)
  • (Business Dictionary, n.d.)
  • (Business Dictionary, n.d.; Goldstein, 2007)
  • (Business Dictionary, n.d.)
  • (Encyclopedia, n.d.)
  • (Johansson, 2010)
  • (J83, 2006)
  • (Beaumont, 2008;Google, n.d.; Reagan, 2009)
  • (Allie, 2006)
  • (Esquivel, 2011)
  • (Veneziani, 2009)

Complex Problem: Censorship Complex Problem: Censorship Presentation Transcript

  • C
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    complex problem
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    how do government censors patrol the internet?

    Every time a person types in a web address on a computer in China, the request goes through a series of filters. Thousands of censors working for the government use these filters to seek out sensitive topics and block access to sites deemed

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    interdisciplinary question
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    interdisciplinary question
    What are the consequences of technology companies’ participation in Chinese internet censorship?
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    personal thoughts
    Censorship causes blindness.
    Can you see who is blinding you?
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    personal thoughts
    I view the Chinese government’s censorship of information as unethical. Free expression and the free flow of information is a human right.
    I acknowledge that the Chinese market is very lucrative and that a company’s goals are to pursue growth opportunities and earn profit. The Chinese people should also have access to internet services.
    However, complying with censorship rules would eventually tarnish a technology corporation’s image and lead them to compromise their values.
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    disciplinary perspective #1
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    disciplinary perspective #1
    Global Business
    I chose the Global Business perspective to better understand:
     • benefits of participating in the Chinese market
     • policies and goals of companies
     • expectations of growth
     • responsibilities to shareholders
     • economic and social impact
    Global Business deals with the challenges Western companies face when conducting activities in a culturally different and complicated environment.
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    disciplinary perspective #2
  • F
    disciplinary perspective #2
    Business Ethics
    The morality of doing business, specifically in China, requires an overview of:
     • human rights
     • freedom of speech
    • access to information
     • reflections on company philosophy
     • impact on the Chinese people
     • morality of censorship
    Business ethics addresses with the potential human costs of complying with censorship laws.
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    key theories: global business
    Rational Choice Theory
    • humans act rationally
    • choices are analyzed by likely costs and benefits
     • goals:
    • maximize gain • minimize loss
    Supply and Demand
    • price is determined by demand for a product and
    the supply for a particular price
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    key theories: global business
    Opportunity Cost
    • making a choice means giving up the benefits
    associated with an alternative choice
    International Relations
    • deals with state interactions and policy making
    • three core principles:
    • dominance
    • reciprocity
    • identity
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    key theories: business ethics
    • the greatest happiness for the greatest number of
    • end result determines morality
    • pleasure -> right
    • pain -> wrong
    Social Responsibility
    • organizations have an obligation to act in ways that
    benefit of society
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    key theories: business ethics
    Stakeholder Theory
    • corporations are affected by numerous individuals
    and groups including:
    • customers • suppliers
    • employees • media
    • communities • government
    • financiers • investors
    • the goal is to maximize the value for ‘stakeholders’
    • contrasts with view that maximizing profit for
    stockholders is a corporation’s only responsibility
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    common ground
    Utilitarianism and Rational Choice
    An important part of doing business is evaluating the potential costs and benefits of every action and decision.
    A company’s main goal is to maximize ‘pleasure’, or in the words of business, ‘profit’ and ‘gain’.
    It seeks to avoid ‘pain’, i.e. ‘loss’ and ‘disadvantage’.
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    common ground
  • F
    common ground
    Pleasure, Profit, and Gain
    Participating in the world’s second largest economy assures future growth and ability to generate revenue.
    Companies seek to comply with Chinese censorship laws to gain access to the 485 million Chinese web users.
    Relations with powerful Chinese government are strengthened by obedience and sensitivity to laws — leading to greater cooperation.
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    common ground
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    common ground
    Pain, Loss, and Disadvantage
    Disadvantages of compliance:
    • loss of international reputation
    • violation of human rights
    • risk of angering stakeholders
    • threat of legislation from other countries
    (namely, USA)
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    common ground
    Pleasure, Profit, and Gain
    An important consideration is technology companies’ stated visions and goals.
    … a computer on every desk and in every home …
    — Bill Gates (Microsoft)
    Google’s mission is to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessibleand useful.
    — Google
    Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.
    — Facebook

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    common ground
    Pain, Loss, and Disadvantage
    Failure to comply with censorship laws will result in:
    • breaking Chinese laws
    • licenses being revoked
    • blockage of services and support
    Not participating in the Chinese market preventstechnology companies from fulfilling their mission of providing services to people from all over the world.
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    Shareholder vs. Stakeholder
    Decision-making involves determining whether an action is good for the future and growth of the company.
    Corporations have a responsibility to generate returns and profits for shareholders.
    On the other hand, they also have a responsibility towards the larger community and have been charged to value human rights.
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    Shareholder vs. Stakeholder
    Businesses seek to innovate and expand their operations overseas.
    From a Global Business perspective, this requires complying with local laws, customs, and expectations.
    From a Business Ethics perspective, however, compliance is dependent on the impact on society and its effect on the interests of those they serve.
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    Weighing Options
    From the common assumption that all companies desire what is best for their interests:
    • When doing business in China, companies
    should weigh the benefits and costs from a
    rational perspective.
    • Any analysis of the situation should expand to
    take into consideration a company’s
    relationships with all stakeholders, not only
  • F
    Definitions for ‘good’ or ‘evil’ can be expanded to include not only profits or losses, but also social and ethical gains or disadvantages.
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    Moral Compromise?
    Complying with local laws and regulations are an essential part of conducting business worldwide.
    Companies have a responsibility to acquiesce to the wishes of the government if they want to continue their operations in China.
  • F
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    Moral Compromise?
    Chinese society certainly benefits from the ‘good’ of increased access to internet services.
    The ‘evil’ of helping in the obstruction of the free flow of information to citizens must be weighed against the alternative of providing no information at all.
  • references
    Augsburg, T. (2005). Trends in the 21st century interdisciplinary workplace. Becoming interdisciplinary: An introduction to interdisciplinary studies (2nd ed., pp. 155-158). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.
    Beaumont, C. (2008, June 27). Bill Gates’ dream: A computer in every home. In The Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/3357701/Bill-Gatess-dream-A-computer-in-every-home.html
    Business Dictionary. (n.d.). Opportunity cost. Retrieved from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/opportunity-cost.html
    Business Dictionary. (n.d.). Rational choice theory. Retrieved from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/rational-choice-theory-RCT.html
    Business Dictionary. (n.d.). Utilitarianism. Retrieved from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/utilitarianism.html
    Dunham, M. (2011). Assignment 1-5: Identifying a problem and justifying an interdisciplinary response. Retrieved from http://my.franklin.edu
    Encyclopedia of Business. (n.d.). Stakeholder Theory. Retrieved from http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/encyclopedia/Sel-Str/Stakeholder-Theory.html
    Reagan, G. (2009). The evolution of Facebook’s mission statement. In The New York Observer. Retrieved from http://www.observer.com/2009/media/evolution-facebooks-mission-statement
    Goldstein, J. S. (2007). Core principles of international relations theory. In International Relations (8th ed.). Retrieved from http://www.joshuagoldstein.com/jgcore.htm
    Google. (n.d.). Corporate information: Company. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/about/corporate/company/
  • photo credits
    Allie, E. (2006, February 27). Cyber oppression. [Illustration]. Retrieved from http://www.caglecartoons.com/viewimage.asp?ID={01B26A8E-76A6-47ED-AF11-37FB7A3C8FCA}
    Bohner, A. (2005, September 12). Censorship causes blindness. [Illustration]. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/deia/42897463/
    Chappatte. (2006, February 17). Google censors itself in China. [Illustration]. In International Herald Tribune. Retrieved from http://public.globecartoon.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/globecartoon.woa/wa/dessin?id=1000290
    Esquivel, A. (2011). Capitalismo sin libertad. [Illustration]. Retrieved from http://www.caglecartoons.com/viewimage.asp?ID={C029CC0E-B0BA-451F-A5CE-FB4B01A869F6}
    Finneren, R. (2008, August 2). Chacha and Jingjing. [Photograph]. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/roryfinneren/2791017545/
    Hoesly, P. (2010, February 2). 541 - pixelation texture. [Illustration]. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/zooboing/4325486266/
    J83.com. (2006, May 15). Google's censored Chinese search engine. [Illutration]. Retrieved from http://www.j83.com/print/pages/china-google.php
    Johansson, O. (2010, August 23). Second largest economy. [Illustration]. Retrieved from http://www.caglecartoons.com/viewimage.asp?ID={D04B975B-1013-4660-B1ED-1E392C958761}
    Nath, P. (2010, January 15). China versus Google. [Illustration]. Retrieved from http://www.caglecartoons.com/viewimage.asp?ID={19391F69-81D3-4A1D-9D6A-3015CBCE7071}
    Veneziani, V. (2009, June 8). China demands PC censorship. [Illustration]. Retrieved from http://www.gearfuse.com/china-demands-pc-censorship/
    ZDNet. (2006, July 19). Image: Jingjing and Chacha, China's cartoon censorship cops. Retrieved from http://www.zdnet.com/photos/image-jingjing-and-chacha-chinas-cartoon-censorship-cops/12766
  • the end