Bhopal Ethics

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  • Topic: Bhopal disaster, Dow Chemical Company, Union Carbide
  • Pages : 4 (1306 words )
  • Download(s) : 265
  • Published : April 1, 2012
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The Bhopal gas leak was a terrible tragedy in which thousands of helpless civilians were killed and hundreds of thousands were injured as they slept. Determining who was at fault and, consequently, who should compensate the victims and clean up the site are questions that have plagued the affected parties, my Rotman classmates and the world at large for over 25 years. The analysis to follow, in attempting to present the roles and responsibilities of each major player, will demonstrate the incredible difficulty involved in assigning conclusive responsibility for the tragedy. This will be followed by my personal reflections on the incident in which I present an additional culprit to those discussed in class. Union Carbide Corporation (US): In seeking to assign responsibility for the incident, there are two clear opportunities to point the finger at Union Carbide Corporation. Firstly, pressure from the corporate office to stop losses backed Union Carbide India into a corner that led to the cost-cutting proposal that ultimately produced the disaster. If, as Milton Friedman said, the social responsibility of a business is to increase profits, then Union Carbide Corporation is under a purely fiduciary, and not a moral or ethical, responsibility to the company’s shareholders and their decision to approve the cost-cutting plan seems appropriate. Friedman’s view, however, is far from universally accepted. Many believe that corporations’ responsibilities to their shareholders, employees, customers and communities extend past fiduciary and enter the realms of ethics and CSR. These people will lay blame for the incident at Union Carbide Corporation for putting profits before people. A second criticism often leveled at Union Carbide Corporation is the fact that their inspectors had visited the Bhopal plant a year before the incident and noted sixty-one safety issues. A grand total of zero of these recommendations had been implemented by the time of the incident. While...
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