Ethical Issues in Three Economies: China, Jamaica, and the U.S.A.

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Ethical Issues in Three Economies: China, Jamaica, and the U.S.A.
Ethical issues arise in many different forms across very different cultural, economic and even geographic situations. In a paper written by Lillian Fok, et al, the question is raised whether participants in three significantly varied economies will tend to have similar responses to ethical questions encountered during typical business scenarios. Business professionals from China, Jamaica, and the United States were presented with situations and ethically questionable decisions (and in some cases, illegal). The subjects were then asked how likely they would have been to make the same choices and their probable justifications. The researchers found both similarities and distinct differences that they concluded can be attributed to cultural and environmental variations between the respondents’ countries of origin.
Five different scenarios were presented to the participants to gauge their ethical positions under certain circumstances. In only one of the five was there any statistically significant difference in the respondents’ propensity to agree with the ethically questionable position. The scenario concerned a willingness to pursue a profitable venture that would knowingly result in increased pollution. The Chinese and American participants were less willing to engage in the polluting behavior than the Jamaicans. The researchers posit that Jamaica is more apt to tolerate violations of pollution regulations due to “its concern for rebuilding its economy.” (Fok, et al. Page 25) The pressures of a burgeoning economy are much higher for Jamaica than for the post-industrial Chinese and U.S. economies and may affect the rationalization to elevate progress over environmental protections.
Concepts of positive and normative economics can be found in the study conducted by Fok and her colleagues.…...

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