Google Case: Ethical Principle

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It is rather difficult to talk about ethics as it involves different point of view based on different moral standards one has and based on different ethical principles one uses. This Google China-cases mostly talks about the ethical dilemma faced by the company, whether it should obey the local law or put its global ethical standards as its best interest. Obeying the local law will push them to do self-censoring, which then raise many criticism internationally. Based on ‘cultural relativism’, it is said that ethics are nothing more than the reflection of a culture – all ethics are culturally determined, so that each firm should adopt the ethics of the culture in which it is operating. It has been explained before that China has an totalitarian political system contrasts with the Western culture which supports civil rights and liberties. So, based on this theory, doing self-censoring may be considered as ethical. However, this pragmatic view won’t be very suitable for justifying an action. The restriction from the Chinese government regarding some sensitive political themes may be recognized by some international people as denying the human rights. Here, based on the rights theories, human beings have fundamental rights which establish a minimum level of morally acceptable behavior. Because of the censoring, Chinese people lose their freedom of speech, especially less freedom in receiving information. However, it is part of their law and political system, which should be accepted by every company who wants to conduct business in China. Some Chinese people have accustomed with the censorship, not consider it as violating human rights, and support it for the sake of the nation. By self-censoring their website, Google is complicit with the Chinese government’s effort to restrict the freedom of speech. According to ‘Kantian ethics’, it is wrong toward treating people as means, since people should be treated as ends and never as means to the ends...
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