THE GLOBAL BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
Mini Case Study #3
Prof. Gregory Grogan
This case discusses the ethical issue of Union Oil Company of California (Unocal), which was responsible for constructing the 256 mile pipeline to carry the gas from Myanmar to Thailand. However, there were atrocious human rights violations occurring in that region during the pipeline construction period. The argument is whether Unocal benefited the people of Thailand to develop their living environment, or ruined the normal human rights from the country. Unocal is a one way company (vertical and horizontal business distribution strategy) which deals with the oil form the extraction stage to its marketing. As we all know, a company first and foremost point to consider before investing is quite obvious and that is the high profit and low cost. Hence, Unocal as other companies took into consideration several things before investing in Myanmar. As the labor was cheap there, it was rich in natural gas recourses, it as an entry point into other potential productive international markets and the Thailand's government maintains a stable climate in that country.
From a philosophical standpoint the utilitarian approach (which is easy to have an objective view from one's desk and not directly involved), the Unocal really did a good job. Although, hundreds of people were used as forced labor and also forced to move to accommodate the pipeline project; it did provide more jobs for local people and made a huge improvement for Asian countries’ economic growth. Considering the above mentioned, benefits and cost, Unocal got the positive consequence in the utilitarian approach. In my opinion Unocal could have provided more compensation to the forced labor, so that people would have more social benefits from the...
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