Humanitarian intervention is an oft-discussed section of ethical debates. The issue of when, how, and where to send aid regularly plagues the world community. The flip side of the coin, which is less discussed, is the toll that such aid work takes on the workers – and whether it is ethical to harm the helpers in order to save devastated populations.
Mamula, an island situated on the border of Montenegro and Croatia, was the site of a World War II Italian concentration camp, in which 2,300 people were imprisoned and 130 or so were killed. Now, the Montenegrin government has agreed to a project to transform the island into a resort – a stark contrast to the fate of other concentration camps across Europe, which largely remain empty or act as memorial museums.
Many people were shocked earlier this month when both musician David Bowie and actor Alan Rickman, both 69, died of cancer. Neither obituary stated the type of cancer they died from, as the families chose to keep that information private. However, experts say not disclosing the type of cancer could be detrimental.
On January 1, Anne Frank’s diary was published online by more than one person, despite outcry from the Anne Frank Fonds, the foundation founded by Anne’s father. The argument of the publishing academics was that more than 70 years have passed since the death of Anne Frank in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, which sends the work into the public domain across most of Europe. However, the foundation argues that Otto Frank, as editor and publisher, held the copyright. He died in 1980, making the work still under copyright. Additionally, the translator that worked with Otto Frank on the diary, another copyright holder, is still alive.
An opinion piece on CNN calls into question the ethics and morality of the lottery. The numbers to the biggest Powerball lottery pot ever were announced on January 13, and thus far three people have claimed winning tickets to the $1.5 billion jackpot. Although those people are likely very happy about the lottery system, it is possible that the lottery is actually bad for society.
It’s a well-known fact that servers make below minimum wage, with the assumption being that the difference will be made up for in tips from their tables. However, if one server happens to have a slow or lower-paying section one night, he or she can end up assisting others, yet never see any return for the help. This begs the question: is there a fairer and more ethical way to tip than simply keeping what your tables give you?
The Chinese government announced in October that they are setting up a “social credit” system, designed to determine trustworthiness. Every citizen will be put into a database which uses fiscal and government information – including online purchases – to determine their trustworthiness ranking. Information in the ranking includes everything from traffic tickets to academic degrees to if women have taken birth control. Citizens currently treat it like a game, comparing their scores to others in attempts to get the highest score out of their social circle. Critics call the move “dystopian,” but this is only the latest algorithm designed to judge people without face to face interaction.
Rolling Stone is in hot water over Sean Penn’s interview with notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquín Guzmán Loera, also known as “El Chapo.” The interview, conducted in October and published last Saturday, has raised concerns over Penn and Rolling Stone’s approach to the interview, and whether they handled the situation in an ethical manner. Numerous people have accused the magazine and Penn of violating journalistic ethics with the interview, while they have insisted they did nothing wrong.
Italian fashion company Dolce & Gabbana recently released a new line of clothing containing hijabs and abayas. People around the world who follow the fashion industry were excited about the new line, which appears to be championing inclusiveness. Muslim women have been buying high-end fashion for years – most of which either stays in closets, or is only worn under abayas – and the brand’s new line appears to be in response to the general lack of fashionable options for Muslim women that can be worn out. Other brands, such as DKNY and Tommy Hilfiger, have also expanded their collections to include pieces that appeal to the female Muslim market. The Muslim market is lucrative, as many women from oil-rich countries shop for expensive, high-end clothing, primarily shoes and handbags. This line is supposed to give more options for expression beyond shoes and bags. Forbes said that Dolce & Gabbana’s move was their “smartest move in years” from a business perspective. Numerous lines have come to set up stores in Dubai, which even hosted its first fashion week this year. Since the sociopolitical culture is currently dangerous for women, Dolce & Gabbana’s new release was considered a move toward demonstrating the potential for harmony between Muslim and Western societies.
Few events are as captivating of the human imagination as the apocalypse. Whether seen in ancient religious texts or modern novels and video games, on some level it seems we’re all concerned with and captivated by how it’s all going to end. But when such a fascination begins to reflect real life, are there any ethical concerns to address?