Friday, August 2, 2019

JP Morgan Owned Shipping Vessel Seized with $1.3b in Cocaine (2019)

Ethics Case Controversy
On June 17, 2019, the United States Customs and Border Protection seized 20 tons of cocaine which were enclosed within the shipping containers aboard the MSC Gayane in Philadelphia, OA as it travelled from Chile to Europe. This makes it one of the largest seizures of cocaine in the history of the United States. The Gayane is a shipping vessel that is owned by JP Morgan and leased out to the Mediterranean Shipping Company. The 20 tons of cocaine were hidden inside of shipping containers whose seals were taken off and replaced with near identical ones.
The situation and JP Morgan's subsequent silence on the incident has brought up questions on whether the organization was involved with any of the drug trafficking. Because JP Morgan is just the owner, we might want to look at whether the Mediterranean Shipping Company could be at fault here. The case is currently being investigated by the United States Government.

The stakeholders in this case would be: JP Morgan, the Mediterranean Shipping Company, drug dealers, and cocaine users. Since the Gayane is a vessel owned by JP Morgan, any wrong doings will be connected back to them. JP Morgan needs to make sure it has control over the types of operations occurring on board to prevent scandals that can cost a fortune.

An Individualist would view JP Morgan's conduct as ethical as the organization was not knowingly engaging in drug trafficking. Individualism is the idea that businesses should be focused on making as much profit but doing so legally (Salazar 17). Because JP Morgan is leasing the vessel to another organization, they are receiving payments for principal plus interest. They aren't receiving money from the transportation of drugs. According to a July 2019 Wall Street Journal article, the people profiting from this were the ones getting cocaine on board (Paris).

A Utilitarian could view this as unethical when taking the lack of reaction by JP Morgan into account. Utilitarianism is the theory that a business decision should be made to make sure the happiness of everyone affected is maximized (Salazar 19). Because JP Morgan only owns the ship, they are not the ones responsible for loading cargo and transporting it. When a situation like a giant drug bust occurs and your name is attached to the scandal, you would want to respond and clear your name. However, JP Morgan hasn't done so. This can lead to the general public or shareholders to be disgruntled because they want to know what the company has to say about it.

A Kantian would view JP Morgan as ethical in this situation. In Kantianism, a decision is made rationally and with respect for everyone involved (Salazar 20). JP Morgan made a decision to go with one of the top shipping companies in the world because the chances they would allow something like this to occur is very slim. Even though drug trafficking through shipping vessels is on the rise, it would be unreasonable to call out an organization for using a ship. Within Kantianism is the formula of humanity. It states that it is "wrong to use people as mere means to get what you want" (Salazar 22). JP Morgan does not violate the formula of humanity in this case as they were just conducting a normal business deal, not trying to pull a fast one on the shipping company. Also included in Kantianism is the motivation of an organization. The motivation of JP Morgan would be neutral as they were thinking that their ship was being used for normal business use.

Virtue Theory
Virtue Theorists would likely not view this as ethical mainly because of the reaction by JP Morgan. Virtue Theory is an ethical theory based on someone's character. The four main virtues are: courage, honesty, temperance, and justice. Being courageous means that you can stand up for what is right. In this case, JP Morgan failed to showcase this by not taking action after the incident. They have stayed silent on the issue, where they very well could have sent out a press release or talk to the shipping company about a possible solution. JP Morgan has not talked about this situation which puts them in an unfavorable position in the honest category. Once again, had they released a statement saying they're looking in to the situation, they would have shown honesty. JP Morgan has shown the characteristic of temperance, which is to have realistic expectations. When JP Morgan leased out their vessel, their expectations were to receive payments.. Thats all they wanted from the deal; they had no idea that the transportation of drugs was occurring. JP Morgan has overall been just in their intentions with the vessel, just not on providing updates about the situation.

Justified Ethics Evaluation
I do not think JP Morgan has committed any wrong doing during this incident. They are just the owners of the ship and decided to lease it out for a shipping company to use. JP Morgan did not hire the crew that brought the cocaine aboard. I think that JP Morgan could have talked about it a little bit to show they aren't just ignoring it. JP Morgan could also talk to the shipping company about possible changes to how they handle the ship. The company acted ethically throughout the entire incident.

P. Perzanowski


Brito, Christopher, and Jason Silverstein. “Ship Seized in $1.3 Billion Cocaine Bust Is Owned by
JP Morgan Chase.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 11 July 2019,
Mohamed, Theron. “4 Surprising Facts about the $1 Billion Worth of Cocaine Found on a Ship
Owned by JPMorgan | Markets Insider.” Business Insider, Business Insider,
Paris, Costas. “Inside Shipping's Record Cocaine Bust.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones &
Company, 24 July 2019,
Salazar, Heather. The Business Ethics Case Manual.
Sandler, Rachel. “U.S. Authorities Seize 20 Tons Of Cocaine From Ship Owned By JP Morgan.”
Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 12 July 2019,

Apple: Mac Production Moved to China (June 3, 2019-)

Ethics Case Controversy

Apple Technology decided to move Apple Mac Pro production to China. Mac Pro production was announced June 3, 2019 at the 2019 Apple World Developers Conference at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California (Schwartz & Gurman 1). Apple had previously released in 2013 that the Mac productions would take place in the United States as part of their patriotic campaign. The announcement has come while China and the United States are currently in the middle of a trade war. Trump had raised the tariff on Chinese imported goods to 25% on May 10, 2019 (“China to Increase Tariffs on $60bn Worth of US Goods” 1). There is currently no resolution to the trade war.

The Chinese factory employees working at Apple’s Catcher factory are exposed to unsafe working environments and not given enough safety equipment. They work extra hours for little pay. The dormitories provided by the company have no running water and few showers, resulting in many workers not bathing (Maggio 1). Workers lose around $76.57 United States dollars every month due to working overtime. Additionally, when employees resign they receive their final paycheck the fifth of the month, regardless of when they resign. Also, workers are not given any hands-on safety training. They are expected to read about safety procedures without getting any practice. The factory does not provide goggles or face shields to workers, making it dangerous for them when operating machinery. Chinese employees are not receiving their rights to a safe and healthy working environment nor their rights to fair wages (“Apple’s Failed CSR Audit” 5).

Apple’s stakeholders include the upper-management, the supervisors, the customers who buy their products, business entities, the community,  the Employees who work for Apple, and the environment ("Intro" 5). Also included as stakeholders would be the peer companies and the stockholders.  Some peer companies include Quanta Computer Inc and Catcher technology Co., where the Mac Pros are being made. ( “Apple's Failed CSR Audit 1) (Gurman 1). The stockholders include Arthur Levingston, Tim Cook, who is also CEO, Craig Federighi, and The Vanguard Group and Blackrock. Arthur Levingston is the largest stockholder with 1.16 million shares, Tim Cook is the second largest stockholder with 901, 474 shares, Craig Federighi is the third largest stockholder with 460, 367 shares, and the Vanguard Group and Blackrock have 15.93 percent of the outstanding shares of the company (Lindsay 1).

An Individualist would deem this controversy unethical because the decision to move Mac production to China does not maximize profits for the stockholders. This theory was created by Milton Friedman who stated that, "In such an economy, there is one and only one social responsibility to business-to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition, without deception or fraud”(Desjardins 54). The ethical rule used in Individualism is, "Business actions should maximize profits for the owners of the business but do so within the law (The Case Manual 17). Due to the ongoing trade war between the United States and China, Apple stands to lose profits on tariffs imposed on goods. An Individual theorist to deem this controversy to be unethical because the stockholders lose profits as a result of the imposed tariffs on goods.

A utilitarian theorist would deem this controversy to be unethical because not everyone affected by Apple's decision to move Mac production to China is happy.  The ethical rule applied in utilitarianism is, "Business actions should aim to maximize happiness in the long run for all conscious beings that are affected by the business action"(The Case Manuel 19). Basically this means that a utilitarian theorist would weigh the pros and cons of a business action and how it would affect everyone involved. This controversy would be deemed unethical by a utilitarian theorist because the customers, stockholders, and employees are upset. Customers have to pay more to buy the Mac because of the raised tariffs, stockholders lose profits because of the raised tariffs, and Chinese employees are not receiving their rights to fair wages and a safe and healthy working environment. This results in unhappy customers, stockholders, and employees.

A Kantian theorist would deem this controversy to be unethical because the factory employees are being treated as a 'mere' means instead of as an ends. In Kantianism, to determine if an action is ethical, it is evaluated to see if it is of the good will and done with the right motivation. To determine if an action is of the good will, it is weighed against the three Categorical Imperative tests. The Formula of Humanity, one of the three Categorical Imperative tests, says that a person should, “ act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means”( Kantian Business Ethics 9). When assessing this controversy against the Formula of Humanity, it comes up lacking because the factory employees are treated as a 'mere' means instead of as an end. The workers are taken advantage of and not receiving their proper rights to fair wages and a safe and healthy environment. As for the motivation, Kantianism deems that only motivation permissible is the one done in accordance with the moral law or duty, otherwise stated as being the right thing to do.(Kantian Business Ethics 12) The motivation behind Apple’s decision to treat its workers poorly is not because it is the right thing to do, but because it is convenient for the company. Therefore, a Kantian theorist would deem Apple’s decision to move Mac production to China to be unethical because its factory workers are treated poorly.

Virtue Theory
A virtue theorist would deem this controversy to be unethical because the four virtues are not completely expressed.  The four virtues are: courage, honesty, temperance, and justice. Apple does not exhibit the virtue of courage because it is not taking a stand for the right ideas or actions. The factory workers in China are not being treated properly and the company stands to lose profits because of moving production of the Mac to China. The treatment of factory workers in China is not right. Therefore, the virtue trait of courage is not being expressed. Apple does not exhibit the virtue of honesty because it originally said that Mac production would be in the United States. Apple does not exhibit the virtue of temperance because it did not establish fair expectations with their workers and their desires for increase in production and profits is not achieved because of the trade war. The virtue trait of justice is not being shown because fair practices are not given to factory workers in China.  They are being deprived of the right to a safe working environment, the right to fair wages, and other rights (“Apple’s Failed CSR Audit” 1). In conclusion, a virtue theorist would deem this controversy to be unethical because the four virtues are not represented by Apple.

Justification Ethics Evaluation
In my opinion, Apple’s decision to move Mac Pro production to China was unethical for various reasons. The most important reason would be the treatment of Chinese factory employees. This could have been avoided if those in management had carried out the terms listed in Apple’s Code of Conduct and made necessary changes to make it happen. Nevertheless, this is how the factory employees are treated. Also, Apple’s decision to move production to China is unethical because it does not maximize profits for the stockholders. Tariffs have been raised by both countries all year, making the move a financial risk. There is currently no resolution to the trade war. The working conditions and the lack of maximized profits result in Apple’s decision to move Mac production to China unethical.

S Sherman

References (MLA 8 Format)

Apple's Failed CSR Audit.”, 2018, Accessed 30 July

“China to Increase Tariffs on $60bn Worth of US Goods.” USA News | Al Jazeera,
       Al Jazeera, 13 May 2019,

DesJardins, Joseph R. An Introduction to Business Ethics. McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2014.

Gurman, Mark. “Apple Is Moving Mac Pro Production to China.” Apple Is Moving
       Mac Pro Production to China, Los Angeles Times, 28 June 2019,
       Accessed 22 July 2019.

Maggio, Edoardo. “Workers at an Apple Manufacturing Plant in China Complained
       about Poor Working Conditions and Exposure to Noxious Chemicals.” Business
       Insider, Business Insider, 17 Jan. 2018,
       watch-apple-catcher-working-Conditions-2018-1. Accessed 30 July 2019.

Salazar, Heather. The Case Manual. n.d.

Salazar, Heather. “Kantian Business Ethics”, in Business in Ethical Focus, ed. Fritz
       Allhoff and Anand J. Vaidya. Broadview Press, 2008.

Schuetz, Molly, Mark Gurman. “Apple Mac Pro Production Moving to China.” Time,
       Time, 28 June 2019, Accessed 31 July


Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (2018)

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Background
Image result for methodist le bonheur

Located in Memphis, TN, the Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare hospital has been a very successful hospital in their 100 year history. They operate four different hospitals in the Memphis area, the Methodist University Hospital, Methodist North Hospital, Methodist South Hospital and Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital. They are by far the most expansive healthcare provider in the Memphis area, and they have been known to do excellent work. According to their official website, Methodist Le Bonheur is looking to grow as a healthcare provider and their long term goal is to be "nationally recognized for excellence in clinical quality, patient safety, and compassionate care to improve every life we touch." 

Case Controversy

From 2014 to 2018, the Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has been suing patients for unpaid medical bills from past visits to the hospital, and they're suing them for far more money than they have. Studies show that the hospital has since filed upwards of 8,300 lawsuits and the vast majority of them to low-income patients of the area. On top of the suing, the hospital is also adding on interest and several types of fees on top of the already outstanding debt, making it almost impossible for these low-income patients to pay them off. The most famous case involves Mrs. Carrie Barrett, a woman who stayed at the hospital for two nights in 2007, racking up a $12,000 bill. After being released, she claimed the hospital never made it clear how much she owed and how she should pay it, until she heard from them in 2010. They informed her that they were suing her for her unpaid bills and with the interest and attorney fees, they were suing her for $33,000, almost double of what she makes in a year. Clearly, Le Bonheur has landed themselves in murky water as the community around them is mostly low-income people, so is suing these people the right answer? Different ethical theories each have an answer. 


Image result for dr michael ugwueke
Dr. Michael Ogueke
The Stakeholders in this situation are the employees of the hospital, including CEO & President Dr. Michael Ugueke, the collection agency that collects the money from people being sued, the courts that the cases are settled in, and the patients themselves that are getting sued. Dr. Ogueke is the main stakeholder because, after all, he has the final say on what happens with the hospital, so he knew exactly what was going on with the suing of these low-income people. Also, the patients are the ones who invested their time and trust into the hospital, only to be sued into the ground with bills they'll never be able to afford. 


An individualist is someone who looks to strictly maximize business profits, as long its legal. This view on ethics comes from economist Milton Friedman, " “Friedman held that it is the aim and responsibility of businesses to maximize their profits” (Salazar, 17). According to this theory, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare did aim to maximize their profits, as did Dr. Ogueke. At the end of the day what they did was indeed legal, and it turned out to give them the most in profits that they could. Although what they did wasn't necessarily kind of them because the people they were suing were poor, they still did what they did inside the law and through the court system. 


Under this ethical theory, what the hospital did was quite unethical. Utilitarians "Measure happiness as the only thing of value and they count happiness as pleasure and freedom from pain.” (Salazar 20). A Utilitarian would see a situation like this and think about all the other outcomes that could of played out, and then decide which one of those outcomes would secure maximum happiness for the parties involved. In this case, suing the less fortunate people of Memphis for almost double of their yearly salary is clearly not something that would guarantee happiness for everyone involved, it would only create happiness for the hospital as they were the ones making money.
Image result for happiness


Kantianism is an ethical theory that believes in any situation that involves lying, cheating, manipulating or exploiting people for any reason is unethical. Kantians believe that people make good decisions based on "good will", and that it is synonymous will just having good intentions. For an act to be ethical under Kantianism, it must the Categorical Imperative test. If the action passes the test, it is deemed permissible and ethical, but if it fails, it is unethical. In this case with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, they would have failed the Categorical Imperative test. They manipulated the people of Memphis and utterly exploited them for years on top years, and then they dropped a massive bill on top of them, knowing that they would never be able to pay it off. 

Virtue Theory

The virtue theory assesses a persons character and the four main virtues; honesty, courage, temperance, and justice, or to "act so as to embody a variety of virtuous or good character traits and so as to avoid vicious or bad character traits" (Salazar, 17). They also believe in three detrimental virtues, which are dishonesty, greed, and selfishness. Again, the hospital would be found unethical in this case because they were dishonest with the patients about their debts, they were greedy to want to take the money from such impoverished people, and they were extremely selfish because these people barely have enough money to live their lives, and the hospital itself makes millions of dollars each year.

Justified Ethics Evaluation

I believe that the Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare unit acted unethically in this case, as the Utilitarian, Kantian, and the Virtue Theory explain. The hospital exploited the people of their own community, just so they could make even more money than they were already making. They knew the area they were working in, and they knew that dishing out $30,000+ lawsuits would be almost impossible for the people to pay, but they did it anyway. Since this report came out, starting this year in 2019, the hospital will (1) No longer pursue legal action against any patient making up to 250% of the federal poverty guideline — regardless of that patient’s insurance status, and (2) No longer accept court-ordered interest on medical debt nor collect court-allowed attorney fees and court costs from any patient. So, I guess over time they realized their unethical ways and they are starting to make a stride to recover their once-respected name. 

Matt Newton

Thomas, Wendi C. “Millionaire CEO of Nonprofit Hospital That Sues the Poor Promises Review of Policies.” ProPublica, 1 July 2019,
Castagno, Peter. “US Hospital Suing Its Own Employees And Low Income Patients Who Can't Afford Bills.” Citizen Truth, 30 July 2019,
Ellison, Ayla. “Methodist Le Bonheur Suspends Debt Collection Suits amid Backlash: Memphis, Tenn.-Based Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Has Suspended Debt Collection Lawsuits over Unpaid Medical Bills.” Becker's Hospital Review,
The Case Manual, Heather Salazar

Hahn, Heather. “Hospital Changes Debt-Collection Policies.” United Methodist News Service, 31 July 2019,

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Kamoto Copper Company: mine in Congo collapses and kills 19

A mine owned by Glencore had collapsed in the Democratic Republic of Congo this past month on, June 27th, 2019, and killed at least 19 people. These 19 people were also mining illegally stated by the London-listed company. In parts of Africa and India illegal mining has become an issue. Miners are working illegally throughout the country and continue to see fatality take its toll on the people. 
In the ethical case on the situation what Glencore had done was unethical to the illegal miners.  In the Wall Street Journal written by Allistair MacDonald, “Kamoto Copper Company has observed a growing presence of illegal artisanal miners throughout its industrial mining concession in the Kolwezi area. This has led to daily intrusions onto its concession by an average of 2,000 illegal miners per day” (MacDonald 1). Knowing that 2,000 miners are illegally working every day is making the company lose money. It is also affected when it involves illegal miners dying.
However, this issue here is also with the government. The government has been not classifying the mining fatalities in the government statistics.  South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources had said that there were a record-low 73 casualties through the mining industry. The Mines Rescue service, a local organization, has helped freed trapped miners and have also found an additional 18 people who were died illegally in the South Africa mines that year. In the news article Bloomberg, it states, “The deaths highlight the growing problem of illegal mining. Congo and other countries face a constant struggle to stop their impoverished citizens from breaking into mines and extracting ore by hand” (Thomas Biesheuval and William Clowes). With more miners breaking and stealing ores this problem is going to continue and the death total could go up more. Stopping people from illegally mining will not be easy but it is something that needs to be done before more lives are lost. Edward Sterck, analyst at BMO Capital Markets, believes, “Preventative action will likely be needed, and it could impact Golencore’s social license to operate. This event is related to illegal mining activity, then the impact to production may be relatively short term” (Bloomberg). The point Edward is making is how the miners entered without permission and mined what they wanted. In the act of this it led to them losing their life. By adding the security to the property, it could lead to short term problems with illegal people working in the mines. Thus, helping the issue of people continuously break into the mines on their own.
Due to this event the shares of Glencore had suddenly dropped in the London trading. It the course of one incident it caused the stocks to drop 4.9%. Even with the drastic drop the company came back with none of their production or operations were affected in the area. Knowing that Glencore did not even get affected by this is unbelievable. Any other company after an epidemic like this could fall flat on their face. Glencore on the other hand can recover quickly and get back to operations within the next day. This goes to show how powerful Glencore is. Congo is home to the richest cobalt and copper and people want to sell it. Acquiring the product is what needs to change for the better of the people. However, the people who are near these mines are also the poorest of people. Thus, making people desperate and doing desperate things to help the living situation for themselves and for their families. It tragic that a company like Glencore can do what they can to maximize profit even though the safety of others is at jeopardy. It is a constant struggle between the impoverished people from breaking into the mines and extracting the ore. The mines these people go in are miles long which makes them difficult to travel through for anyone. 
In the case with the 19 deaths in Congo the stockholders affected by this incident is Glencore, shareholders, Congo, and the citizens near the mine. Glencore and Congo government are responsible for not keeping the area safe from others. The shareholders who put money into the stocks of Glencore are affected for the fact the company lost 4.9% stocks in a day due to the incident. The shareholders would not be happy knowing that they have invested money into the company for it to be lost on something that could have been prevented.
From an individual’s point of view on the situation people would be upset for what is going on. Explained in The Case Manual, “Individualism is business actions should maximize profits for the owners of a business but do so within the law” (Salazar 17). The miners who are go into the mines and stealing the ores is making the company lose profit. It is all about making as much money as possible as an individualist. If people are break in and going into the mines stealing the ore the company is losing that profit. The people who were killed from the accident were others who were stealing from the company. Also, with the people who were killed had the mine come down which also caused more money to be spent to open the mine up again or for another place to be started. Money either way is being lost in the section of the mine making the stolen and lost money unavailable to the company.
In the eyes of an utliltarian this situation would be viewed in a different way. Utilitarianism is, “Business actions that should aim to maximize the happiness in the long run that are affected by the business action” (Salazar 17). With what happened with the 19 people who had lost their lives in Congo, utilitarians would be devastated. Trying to keep people happy is a difficult thing for a business to do on a consistent basis. When it comes to the mining industry someone will be left unhappy. The country Congo is home to one of Glencore’s operation facilities. With the mines taking so much land it leaves people poor and homeless for most. This makes people unhappy with the living situation and cannot financial be stabled. By having the mine so close it leads people to do stupid things such as go in the mine and stela the ore for themselves.
A miner breaks up small chunks of cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo.For a Kantianism the case with Glencore and the 19 illegal miners being killed can be looked at in an interesting way. In The Case Manual, Kantianism is viewed as, “An act in ways that respect and honor individuals and their choices. There should be no lying, cheating, manipulating or harm others to get your way. Use informed and rational consent from all parties” (Salazar 17). Glencore’s mining area was not safe for anyone outside of the property. People could easily come in and grab what they needed in order to survive. In some ways you can look at the 19 illegal miners and respect and honor what the illegal miners were trying to do. The miners sadly lost their life, but they were doing it for a reason. Those illegal miners were trying to gather ore bare handed in order to make money for their family. They were willing to risk their own lives if it meant making the one’s the love happy. By breaking in and doing this it shows that no matter how bad things are it is worth fighting for something.
Virtue Theory is about, “acting so as to embody a variety of virtuous or good character traits and so as to avoid vicious or bad character traits” (Salazar 17). With the situation at hand with the illegal miners being killed no one was acting out of good character. Glencore has a history of doing things that are not looked at in a great way. It seems as if Glencore likes to take shortcuts or better themselves with false information to help the company in the long run. Good character is built on the people who run the industry and it trickles down into other management and workers based on how they are being treated. If illegal miners can get in mine shafts and dig their own ore out, that goes to show that Glencore has a bad character and bad traits that put others in harm’s way.
Evaluating the situation through an ethical standpoint what Glencore did was unethical. The company allowed for this to happen. With the way they acted towards the people around them it shows that people are desperate to do anything. By breaking laws for satisfaction, losing lives for ore, it all shows why this is not a good environment. Between individualism, utilitarianism, Kantianism, and virtue theory, there is no right way that Glencore is going about their business. Things the company does is not looking good and it will only get worse for them and the people of Congo.

Bell, Terence. “Glencore International Production of Metals and Energy.” The Balance, The Balance, 14 Mar. 2019,
“Glencore.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 30 May 2019,
MacDonald, Alistair. “Congo Mine Collapse Kills at Least 19, Glencore Says.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 27 June 2019,
Salazar , Heather. The Business Ethics Case Manual.
“Subscribe to the FT to Read: Financial Times Glencore Shares Fall after DRC Mine Collapse.” Financial Times, Financial Times,