Critical Thinking and Ethics

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Write a 200- to 350- word explanation of the relationship between critical thinking and ethics.

  • Are the principles and rules of critical thinking applicable to ethical reasoning? Why?
  • If everyone followed the rules and guidelines of logic, would there be a need for ethical decision making? Why?

 Use examples this scenario provided this week to support your answer.

 

Unocal in Burma (The Peasants vs Unocal) (Nightline video)

File name: Unocal_In_Burma.mp4

 

[introductory music]

 

Nightline March 28, 200

 

THE PEASANTS VS UNOCAL

 

The military junta that runs Burma has long been a pariah to global advocates for human rights.

 

United Nations has condemned the regime annually for most of this decade for its human rights records. And so have Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, other organizations.

 

After seizing power in a bloody coup in 1988 the generals further ruined their reputations by aborting the clear cut 1990 election victory of Burma’s pro-democracy party. And keeping under house arrest its Nobel Peace Prize winning leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

 

The goal is this one; we want a democratic government elected by the people.

 

Among Burma’s most consistent critics has been the U.S. State Department. Year after year the Department’s annual human rights reports have detailed the same crimes including, “…rape, forced labor, and extra-judicial killing. Disappearances continue.” And year after year these abuses have been quietly documented and are reflected annually in judgments like this, “The people of Burma continue to live under a highly repressive authoritarian military regime widely condemned for its serious human rights abuses.”

 

When Unocal is making the decision, do we want to go in here, first off what kind of credence, what kind of role in your consideration, your corporate consideration do things like the State Department human rights reports play? Do you dismiss them?

 

No we don’t dismiss any information about a country where we’re thinking about investing but as I said earlier the main things we look for are economic opportunity which must be accompanied by a climate which we can perform our business as an island of integrity, no matter what’s going on around us, to our own standards.

 

On Unocal’s legal map of Burma there is an island of integrity. The stripe its pipeline cuts across southern Burma.

 

There’s a lot going on in that area that we’re very proud of.

 

Unocal has a ready list and a ready supply of videotape evidence of the company’s good deeds on behalf of 40,000 people living in the pipeline region.

 

First—direct employment which is important. Because employment and economic opportunity is a human right. I say after that medical facilities. 12 full time doctors in an area that had no doctors.

 

No one disputes the pipeline company’s good deeds, often put on display for visiting congress people, journalists, and even a pair of human rights professionals. But the plaintiffs assert in their lawsuit that Unocal’s island of integrity is sustained by a surrounding sea of human rights abuses.

 

The company works with the Burmese army, the army uses people’s labor to build roads to get to the pipeline. The army brought us to the pipeline area to work. We had to build the helipad, we had to carry the rations.

 

We’ve concealed the identity of this man and of all the other Burmese plaintiffs in the Unocal case in observance of a protection order issued by Judge Paez.

 

We have to go work for the railroad. We have to go work in the battalion compound and we had to work as porters. In one year I think I had to go more than ten times.

 

When you worked were you always paid?

 

No I never got paid.

 

I am sure that the military uses conscripted labor for porterage and I know that in the early days of the execution of this project, military units in the area of this project were using conscripted labor.

 

But, says Imle, not anymore. A claim disputed by one of the plaintiffs, John Doe number 11.

 

That’s not true. They continued to force people to work for them. After I left, people from my village still had to work. They told us about it.

 

We cannot and I cannot personally take responsibility for the conduct of the government of Burma any more than I can take responsibility for the conduct of the Los Angeles Police Department. I can take responsibility for what goes on in our pipeline area.

 

That move is a little bit of a shell game.

 

To plaintiffs attorney Jenny Green that argument is red meat.

 

You, my business partner, you’re going to take responsibility for making sure that the military barracks are built, that the helipad is built, that enough soldiers are in the area to guard this pipeline and you can do whatever you want but I’m not responsible because it’s this other person. And U.S. law is particularly designed to say you can’t have two people in the same business operation, one of them being clean and the other one playing dirty without them both being held responsible.

 

 

 

 

 

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