Essay on The Devil on My Shoulder Told Me To Do It

Submitted By aabatchel
Words: 1255
Pages: 6

The Devil on my Shoulder told me To

Ethics is a broad term meaning different things to different people, but the concept

behind it is always the same: the difference between right and wrong. Because people are raised

in differing environments, their outlook on right and wrong can vary tremendously. Therefore,

ethics can be looked at from many perspectives making it hard to actually define, and therein lies

the problem. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ethics is defined as “the discipline

dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation.” Even though the

dictionary has a strict definition, not everyone’s code of right and wrong are exactly the same. In

the world of business, ethics has come to define how a company works; some companies keep

their consumers in mind while others push ethics aside and produce products that are sub-par or

even dangerous. Businesses having a consumers best interests at heart is a fleeting idea in the

modern world. Businesses are getting lost in the realm of financial gain and often forgetting the

ethics that previously prevented the production of unsatisfying products, thus the idea of positive

In China in 2008, there was an unsettling scandal involving the production and sale of

unhealthy baby formula. As it turns out, this Chinese milk producer was found to have been

selling baby formula with unsafe levels of melamine, a chemical used in making plastics. Yili,

the milk producer, was putting this chemical in their milk products in order to increase the

protein content (Coonan). The children exposed to the toxic powder fell ill and, in many cases,

developed kidney stones (Ramzy). In the end, this dangerous milk powder was the cause of at

least 6 children’s deaths and nearly 300,000 illnesses. Because of this scandal, not only were

consumers hurt but so was the business itself. Yili’s share prices fell below the 10% day limit

after the scandal (Coonan). If this company had stuck to proper principles and tested its product

frequently, this outrageous scandal could have been prevented. This is one example which shows

how business ethics has become a lost art in the current markets and how a small slip-up can be

dangerous for consumers and for the business itself.

Poor business ethics s not strictly a foreign idea. American companies are accused of

having poor business ethics as well. One of the most common examples of unethical treatment is

found inside the doors of Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is accused of not only treating its own workers

unethically, but doing the same to other businesses. To begin, Wal-Mart has been “forcing or

pressuring employees to work hours that were not recorded or paid,” (Scheid). Current and

former Wal-Mart employees have come out and said that they have even been locked in their

stores after hours, being forced to do unpaid work. Wal-Mart claims their “lock-ins” are to

ensure safety but according to several lawsuits, they are indeed forcing their workers into unpaid

labor (Greenhouse). Besides unethical treatment of workers, Wal-Mart has also been accused of

treating other businesses poorly. Wal-Mart is known for having lower than low prices and also

for offering to lower their prices even further if a customer finds a better deal somewhere else.

This tactic may make consumers happy, but what about the other hardworking businesses that

are being forced to compete. By providing lower and lower prices with these additional price

cuts, Wal-Mart has successfully undermined its competition. In a way, Wal-Mart is on its way to

a monopoly. They drive their prices so low that many competitors can no longer keep up and

eventually lose their businesses. Wal-Mart is a prime example of an unethical company not only

because they force their employees to work unpaid overtime and deny them health…