Free Business Ethics 2 Dissertation Example
All over the world, affirmative action has been considered as an essential step towards protecting and empowering the rights of the people who are believed to be marginalized. Some of these groups include women, persons with disabilities, and minority groups that live in a dominant culture. From a moral perspective, every human being irrespective of their social, economic, gender or any other difference should be involved in the affairs of the society, including being given an opportunity to be active participants of the society (Shaw 437). The use of affirmative action signifies the need to recognize the rights of individuals as equal beings which is critical in enhancing equity in society.
One aspect that leads to the support for affirmative action is that it builds compensatory justice. Ideally, the reason for the existence of inequalities in society is due to the historical marginalization of groups (Shaw 438). In the United States, affirmative action has been recognized as a critical initiative to address the marginalized of minority groups such as the African Americans (Shaw 438). Historically, the African Americans suffered discrimination originating from the fact that they experienced slavery and other forms of social evils. From a Kantian ethical perspective, an action is moral if it builds human freedom (Shaw 60). This hindered their progress compared to the other groups in the country. As a result, affirmative action is required to address the historical discrimination that these groups faced which is a way of enhancing their freedom.
Besides, affirmative action is a way of building fairer competition (Shaw 438). This position reflects the utilitarian ethical principles of maintaining common and universal good (Shaw 53). For instance, the marginalization of persons living with disabilities relates to their social vulnerabilities that hinder them from attaining the same and equivalent status as other groups in society. To such people, affirmative action is the only way to equalize them with the rest of the members of the society. In this regard, the affirmative action is not only necessary in addressing the historical injustices but also a way of recognizing and solving the problems that disabled people face in society.
Class inequality is another concern that is addressed by affirmative action. The proponents of affirmative action argue that even if equality was upheld and respected for all groups, class struggle will continue to exist in the society by the mere fact that not all that are born in well to do families (Shaw 438). Ideally, when an individual is born from a family with access to resources, they have an upper advantage. However, others born from lower social-economic backgrounds tend to suffer from the lack of resources to gain traction in the society that would enable them to lead better lives. Thus, affirmative action comes as a remedy for addressing the inequality in the access and use of resources which helps to address the disparities in social class.
However, there are arguments that affirmative action works against the existence of free market economies (Shaw 439). The opponents of the affirmative action believe that its presence compels economic actors to take actions that work against their interests. For instance, when an organization is forced to employ a certain number of staff from the disadvantaged groups, it prevents them from seeking individuals that they deem fit. Since the primary objective of the private organization is to maximize the potential returns for the owners, the use of affirmative action in such situations may limit them from achieving the objective. Whereas this argument may appear justified, it ignores the fact that even the marginalized can attain the same levels of production given the necessary resources and support. Thus, despite the criticism, the marginalized groups should be given a fair competitive ground in all spheres of life.
Furthermore, the use of affirmative action may perpetuate inequality. Since the affirmative action is meant to promote gender and racial equality, it tends to favor those which it targets while discriminating the rest. According to the critics, this is a form of discrimination and infringes the rights of other individuals in society (Shaw 439). In the United States where the target of the affirmative action is to improve the welfare of the blacks, the opponents argue that it violates the white men rights which should also be protected (Shaw 439). This indicates that instead of building equality, affirmative action violates equity by favoring the groups that are believed to suffer from discrimination. However, this proposition by the opponents fails to consider that affirmative action works towards enhancing the welfare of the marginalized without hurting the other members of the society. In this regard, this argument by the opponents of affirmative action can be seen as building supremacy ideas which ignore the weaker members of the society.
To conclude, affirmative action is necessary for protecting the rights of the marginalized in society. Affirmative action promotes justice, enhances fair discrimination, and builds equity. The criticisms which have been raised against affirmative action include promoting inequality for the dominant groups and interfering with market economies. However, the fact that minority groups are discriminated supports the need for using affirmative action to enhance equity.
Shaw, William H. Business Ethics: A Textbook with Cases. Nelson Education, 2016.
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