Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thirty-Seven Days Until My Release From Taft Federal Prison Camp

I’ve been following the awful news about the pirates off the coast of Africa who have taken an American ship captain as a hostage. This must be a terrifying ordeal for the captain’s family members, and for all the people who are close to him.

These types of disturbances show that the world is drastically changing.  As I prepare for the career I want to lead  upon my release, I think about the many types of conflicts that have become a part of contemporary society.  As we continue to transition into a global community, we as Americans must control the reality that in other parts of the world, people think differently from us. In a poor country like Somalia, apparently, some people think it an acceptable practice to engage in acts of piracy.  This can lead to real ethical dilemmas for American businessmen.

It is my understanding, limited though it may be, that the United States of America has a policy that prohibits the country from paying ransom requests.  Similarly, I understand that legislators have passed laws that not only prohibit the payment of bribes in foreign countries, but make the payment of bribes a criminal offense. These types of laws may present ethical dilemmas for American businessman.  I was thinking about such dilemmas as I listened to a news report about the piracy debacle.

If a CEO was forced with the troubling decision of paying a ransom to secure the freedom of his employee who was being held hostage, what would he do?  To pay the ransom may violate American law.  The government may contend that paying a ransom request encourages piracy and therefore makes Americans less safe by capitulating to the demands of terrorists.  By providing the pirates with the ransom, the CEO would not only encourage more acts of piracy, the executive may simultaneously be funding a terrorist network that could result in dangerous armaments and possibly an attack on our homeland.  If the CEO does not pay the ransom, however, he exposes his employee to the barbaric consequences the pirates might inflict.

The classic moral dilemma feels much more possible as we embark upon more and more globalization.  The answer to such moral dilemmas should come from values-based decisions.  That concept has been one that I’ve spent hundreds of hours on in contemplation. I look forward to sharing with others what I’ve learned about making values-based decisions when confronting ethical or moral dilemmas.

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