1. What are the systemic, corporate, and individual ethical issues raised by this case? Business ethics investigates three different types of issues: systemic, corporate, and individual. Systemic issues in business ethics are ethical questions raised about the economic, political, legal, and other social systems or institutions within which businesses operate. These issues are inherent in the overall system, rather than due to a specific, individual, isolated factor. The decline in prices of the cocoa beans in the global market since 1996 is one economic factor presented in the case. This decline drove farmers to use slavery to lower labor cost. In relation to the legal aspect, slavery is illegal in the Ivory Coast but the law is not strictly followed. Open borders, the shortage of enforcement officers, and the willingness of local officials to accept bribes from people trafficking in slaves contributed to the slavery issue in the chocolate industry. Corporate issues are ethical questions raised about a particular organization such as the morality of the activities, policies, practices, or organizational structure of an individual company taken as a whole. The middlemen grind and process cocoa beans they acquire from the Ivory Coast and sell the product to manufacturers that are mostly major chocolate companies. Having interactions with the cocoa farmers and being involved in buying and selling morally tainted cocoa beans makes the middlemen aware of the slavery labor problem. The chocolate manufacturers identified in the case study are very well known worldwide. For these corporations, their main goal is to maximize profits. For them, other motives, moral standards and humanitarian concerns become subservient to the duty of each manager to maximize revenue; it becomes the force that drives their managers’ ethical decision making processes. Their support of the unlawful acts of the Ivory Coast farmers and distributors through their purchase of...
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