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Obama declines to set Guantánamo closure date in Fox News interview

November 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Obama declines to set Guantánamo closure date in Fox News interview

This article, written by Daniel Nasaw, is about Barack Obama’s politics and the problems he is faced with at the moment. It deals with topics like the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the plans of the Israelis to build further settlements in West Bank, the new book of Sarah Palin, and finally with Obama’s plans to close Guantánamo.

Actually, Barack Obama promised during his campaign to close the prison Guantánamo  within a year. The problem was that he was faced with rigid resistance of the Republicans. The behavior of the Republicans and the prison Guantánamo as a whole is ethically not justifiable. It is ethically wrong to put people into jail without any process in front of a court. I know that a lot of Americans are afraid of further terrorist attacks, but giving up the idea of liberty and civil rights is not the answer. One should remember how the reaction of the Americans would be, if American citizens are put into jail in Africa, Asia or Europe without any proven facts. I suppose most Americans would freak out. I do not want to affront the USA by writing this article. It is just very important to be able to put oneself in the position of the opponent in order to solve conflicts. Additionally, it is quite funny to me that strong proponents of the libertarian view, like the Republicans, are against the plans from Mr. Obama. They claim that liberty and no restriction through the government is actually the solution to the most problems.

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Simple plan ‘means no need for third Heathrow runway’

November 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Simple plan ‘means no need for third Heathrow runway’

This article, written by Dan Milmo, is about the discussion of how Heathrow, the main airport in London, should deal with operating capacities. One the one hand, they debate the extension of night flights with the upcoming drawback of increasing noise. On the other hand, they consider building a new runway, which is quite expensive. In both scenarios, the whole area of the airport has to be changed. Therefore, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the aviation regulator of the UK, argues that it has to be considered seriously. According to John Stewart, chairman of Heathrow Association for the control of Airport Noise (HACAN), one of the main disadvantages in extending flying hours is that it would violate the existing law.

The summarized article is a great example in regards to the topic Speciesism, which we discussed in class. Speciesism means that effects of our actions on other animals have no direct moral significance. A good example is building this runway at Heathrow Airport. In this example, humans just calculate the costs of the project but do not think about other effects like reducing the wildlife in this area. Singer believes that this aspect is no argument and compares it with slavery and racism. He said that the white racists, the slaveowners, did not take the interests of their slaves into account. These white racists limited their moral concern to their own race, so the suffering of a black person did not have the same moral significance as the suffering of a white person, and this is not justifiable at all.

This behavior of the decision maker at Heathrow Airport is indeed not justifiable because not only expenses or drawbacks for humans should be considered, but also how it would affect the animals in this area.

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Workers act to avoid business closures

November 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Workers act to avoid business closures

The article, ”Workers act to avoid business closures,” is primarily about how the workers in the UK support their employees during the economic crisis. The author, Graham Snowdown, outlines the measurements of how the laborers bear their entrepreneurs by accepting unpaid overtime, a pay freeze, or no pay rise. All in all, 53% of the workforce accepted one thing or another in order to avoid losing their job. In comparison to former recessions, like in the 1990s, employers keep in mind that to lay-off workers actually leads to the fact that they become desperate or unhappy. In terms of motivation and productivity, this would be not preferable. Even though some companies follow this quite new approach, I would like to relate this article to Adam Smith and his ideas concerning labor unions.

Adam Smith recognized that there is fundamental imbalance between laborers and their employers. He claimed that the society would have no laws to lower the price of work but enough laws not to raise it. Finally, he mentioned that a worker should be as valuable to the employer as the employer is to the worker. Thus, some companies realized that this fact might be an important point to consider, not because of social responsibility but rather to increase productivity. The problem in this matter is that employers have tremendous power over individual workers. They can hire and fire, set work hours and wages, create rules and control working hours. For that reason, labor unions are useful in order to give the worker a voice. The unions are able to protect the worker and can, for instance, negotiate wages and working hours. In conclusion, one can say that the voluntary behavior of corporations, like in this article, is a good approach, but labor unions are needed.

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Climate change: Gulf Stream collapse could be like a disaster movie

November 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Climate change: Gulf Stream collapse could be like a disaster movie

The article, “Climate change: Gulf stream collapse could be like a disaster movie,” written by Robin McKie, is mainly about the change of the climate in Europe, which would be caused by the change of the Gulf Stream. The author of the article relates his thoughts to the disruption to the Gulf Stream, which took place 12,800 years ago and caused the latest Ice Age. He mentions the Hollywood blockbuster, “The Day After Tomorrow,” where the Ice Age occurred within a day, in order to show the reader what could happen to the world. According to Patterson, a scientist, this scenario would be unrealistic, but the Gulf Stream could be blocked within a couple of months. Patterson and a team of scientists proved this fact by investigating a lake in Ireland, where life had disappeared within three months. By describing this incident, he mentions that it could recur. Under those circumstances, Europe would again be completely frozen.

This is a fascinating article that describes what could happen if human beings did not change their daily behavior. Therefore, I would like to relate the article to the tragedy of the commons. In this theory, traditionally, business and private people considered the environment and their resources as limitless. In other words, air, water, land and other natural resources are unlimited, and everybody can use them as much as one like. The “tragedy of the commons” describes the effect that everybody believes that his/her contribution to the pollution makes no difference, but the cumulative result actually leads to a destruction of nature. Finally, everyone is worse off because the destruction of the environment will affect all people. Here is the relation to the article. It might be that we do not see these effects directly, but if the Gulf Stream changed, or completely disappeared, we would definitely be affected by it.

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Scientology faces allegations of torture in Australia

November 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Scientology faces allegations of torture in Australia

The article, written by Toni O´Loughlin, is about the concerns of the Australian citizens regarding Scientology and how the Australian government is considering a proscription of Scientology. Senator Nick Xenophon argues that there are some proven facts that Scientology is criminal. He based his arguments primarily on letters of former Scientology officials. In those letters the people describe how Scientology forces women to abort if they are pregnant. According to Xenophan, Scientology hides behind religious beliefs, but actually is a criminal organization. The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says that he really will take into account the concerns of the Australian but one has to proceed carefully and prove the facts before starting a parliamentary process.

This article is not an ethical article, but even though it is interesting regarding the privacy issue which we discussed in class. As we learned in class, privacy is a very important civil right because everybody wants to keep his/her intimate information private and wants to reach his/her decision autonomously. Consequently, it is not preferable to be influenced by others when making decisions. Therefore, I think Scientology is a good example in terms of a lack of privacy. In my opinion, Scientology is a sect since it is prohibited in most European countries. If you are a member of Scientology you do not have privacy at all. The organization knows more or less everything of you and sometimes even makes decisions for you. This is because you have to stick to their rules and so you cannot reach decisions autonomously.

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Would you give a third of your salary away to charity?

November 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Would you give a third of your salary away to charity?

This article is about Toby Ord and his approach of supporting the poor people. Ord decided to spend one third of his salary for charity this year. Additionally, he is going to give ten percent of his future income for charity purposes. He thinks doing this might be a solution for overcoming the poorness in the world. He figured out how much he will earn in the future and how much he would actually need for his living. He argues that everybody can afford to spend a proportion of his or her income for charity. It would be just a question of priorities. Therefore, he encourages people to join him by saying, “we are all millionaires compared with those living on a dollar a day and we can prevent untold suffering if we only choose to”. In addition to that, he outlined the fact that helping other people would increase one’s own wellbeing. I think this is a very interesting article with regards to Kant’s theories. For that reason I relate this article to Kant’s theory of the Goodwill.

As a nonconsequented theory, Kantianism does not judge an action to be right, only if the outcome is right, but if the intention is right. The good will counts. So the only thing that is always unconditionally right is the goodwill. Kantianism says: only if we act from duty our action has moral worth. Therefore this article is a really good example of Kantianism since Ord’s intention is to overcome the poorness of the world by spending his money. In my opinion this approach is really admirable, but I think it is not realistic at all. Sometimes I also spend money for charity, but I would never spend ten percent of my monthly salary.

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Emergency $85bn bailout of insurer AIG was botched, says report

November 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Emergency $85bn bailout of insurer AIG was botched, says report

The article, “Emergency $85bn bailout of insurer AIG was botched, says report,” written by Andrew Clark, is mainly about the Bailout of AIG and how the government handled it in terms of preparation. Clark argued that the state did not prepare this takeover at all. For the most part his arguments are based on a report which he thinks proved this lack of preparation. He claimed that the government did not try hard enough to convince banks to support AIG’s rescue plan by, for example, reducing the interest rates of the loans. According to the report the New York Fed asked eight banks to reduce the interest rates of AIG’s loans, but only UBS accepted it. Therefore I would like to relate my article to the narrow and broader view we discussed in class.

As we discussed in class, the narrow view is only about profit maximization without considering anything else beside that fact. Supporter of the narrow view argue that maximization of the shareholders´ wealth outweighs any other obligation. On the other hand, the broader view claims that corporations have a social responsibility. Proponents of this view believe that corporations do not only have obligations to their stockholders, but also to the society as a whole. Therefore, this is a good example of the narrow view, since the banks did not support the rescue plan of AIG. In my opinion, this is not justifiable from an ethical standpoint of view because they actually caused the crisis. Additionally, I cannot understand why the Bush Administration has not done anything to force banks like Goldman Sachs to accept this plan.

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