Chiquita Case Study

Essay by eamareCollege, UndergraduateA-, September 2014

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Ebenezer Amare Case 7: Chiquita

Chiquita had gotten into major trouble after that they had paid significant amounts of money to militia groups in Columbia. Chiquita pre-emptively paid these groups as a form of appeasement. They believed that that if they hadn't, the cost of loss of product, damage to property, and possible injury to employees would have been far greater than the cost of placating these private groups. The Justice Department found that the group whom Chiquita was paying was actually using the money to fund the torture and killing of hundreds of Columbians. This has generated widespread uproar and controversy towards Chiquita. In 2007, Chiquita paid the $25 million in fines and restitution settlements after pleading guilty to the charges of funding these groups in Columbia. So, was Chiquita partaking in unethical practices? Well, we can consider this case from a wide variety of ethical theories. For example, it is illegal to pay money to local militia due to the perceived threat of retaliation for refusing to pay within the country of Columbia where this plantation existed.

The theory promoted by economist Milton Friedman stated that businesses have an ethical obligation to maximize profits by any legal means possible. From this perspective, Chiquita acted unethically. Chiquita should only open plantations within nations that do not contain such powerful threats and potential extortionists. From a utilitarian viewpoint, you would examine the levels of overall happiness amongst all those involved in the business transaction being considered. This theory accepts that the best solution might not maximize the happiness of everyone involved. But, the choice should always be the case with the resulting highest possible level of happiness. Using this idea, Chiquita did not act in an ethical manner. First, employee happiness was constantly threatened and attacked due to the...