Tag Archives: ethics

China’s Great Firewall

While many people and countries view the Internet as a place of total freedom to say whatever they want – often without fear of reprisal – inside of China’s Great Firewall there exists an extensive system of filters and controls. The system is often quite subjective, and at times even contradictory. Nonetheless, for the 700 million Chinese, use is growing exponentially.

This summer, China’s fast-growing digital media sector set 68 categories of material that are censored. The guidelines ban material that include excessive drinking or gambling, sensationalizing criminal cases, ridicules historical revolutionary leaders, current members of the military, police, judiciary, or anything that promotes and publicizes “luxury life.” Also banned are material associated with prostitution, rape, affairs, partner swapping, and sexual liberation.

Despite the restrictions and bans, China’s Internet continues to expand. While China bans Facebook, Twitter, and Google apps, the use of WeChat in the country is expanding. In China, WeChat is a super-app that does virtually everything a user needs, all from within the app itself. Need a service? Want to schedule a lunch? Transfer funds? Post a review? Buy something? It is all contained within the app, making it powerful, and also a little scary. Advertisers love it, but all data must be shared with the Chinese government.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the freedoms of the Internet. Are there downsides to this?
  2. View the NYT video on WeChat in China: https://nyti.ms/2jZdURP
  3. How does the Great Firewall impact global marketing?
  4. Show the TED Talk about China’s Great Firewall: https://www.ted.com/talks/michael_anti_behind_the_great_firewall_of_china
  5. What are the implications for global commerce?

Source: New York Times

 

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Corruption Index 2016

While the world is not a perfect place, people still hold out hope that it can become a better place for all citizens across the globe. However, a vicious cycle of corruption, unequal distribution of wealth, and unequal distribution of power, all conspire to create a climate of corruption in every nation on the planet.

Transparency International is a global organization with a vision of a “world in which government, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free of corruption.” The organization is a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to fighting corruption. One of its most public tools in the Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures corruption around the world. It ranks countries on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

Unfortunately, no country gets a perfect score in the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index. Two-thirds of the 176 countries measured were below the mid-point score. The global average: 43 out of 100, and top-scoring nations were far outnumbered by countries were citizens face corruption daily.

  • Top score: Denmark and New Zealand with a score of 90.
  • Low score: Somalia with a score of 10.

Curious where the United States ranks? Check out the Index and see the results.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the role of ethics, legality, and corruption in global marketing. What are the differences? What factors contribute to a poor business climate? To a poor living situation for citizens?
  2. Before showing the Index, poll students as to the countries that they believe will score the best, and worst, on corruptions.
  3. Show a video for the Corruptions Perception Index: https://youtu.be/zshdwWrsv3I
  4. Bring up the Index: https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2016
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team analyze an area of the world and locate the high performing and low performing countries. What are the contributing factors to these scores?

Source: Transparency International

 

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Careful What You Name Your Company

Names and labels are critical in consumer goods. Consumers demand transparency and authenticity – we want to know that companies are telling the truth and fulfilling their brand promises.  One brand currently under fire is Nestlé’s Waters’ Poland Spring Bottled Water.

A class action lawsuit for $5 million has been filed against Poland Spring for false advertising, deceptive labeling, breach of conflict, and other claims. The lawsuit argues that the company has misled consumers by labeling the product as “100% spring water,” thus suggesting that the water is high quality. It claims that “not one drop” of the water complies with the FDA’s definition of what constitutes spring water, and is instead considered “ground water.”

The FDA says spring water “shall be collected only at the spring or through a bore hole tapping the underground formation feeding the spring.” Consumers claim that the Poland Spring in Poland Spring, Maine went dry decades ago. Nestle said the “claims made in the lawsuit are without merit” and that they meet the FDA regulations, as well as all federal and state regulations.

What’s in your water?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Bring a few bottles of Poland Spring Water to class.
  2. Pass them around to students and see what conclusions the students have about the product.
  3. Next, have students look up the FDA definition of spring water. (https://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm046894.htm)
  4. Does it comply with how the product is packaged and advertised?
  5. Show video: http://fortune.com/2017/08/17/nestle-poland-spring-water-lawsuit/
  6. Have students review the company’s Web site for information: https://www.polandspring.com/
  7. What course of action should the company take to reassure consumers and regain trust?

Source:  Fortune

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