Slavery, Artificial Intelligence and Brands Ethical Dilemma in the Modern World
Summary of the case
In the quest to become more competitive in the global market, multinational corporations
have been accused of bypassing structured regulations and failing to promote ethical standards in
their operations. However, the host governments abstain from interventions because the MNCs
might withdraw from the market, leaving the locals unemployed. Some of these MNCs have
ignored workers’ welfare due to their profit maximization policies. This has led to the
development and growth of modern slavery and servitude, where the MNCs compromise the
locals to work at globally unaccepted standards. Due to various dynamics in society, some
companies have preferred to integrate robotics in the operations, which may have adverse effects
on human beings and the labor market.
What might be the due balance of these interests?
MNEs have been viewed as great contributors to people's employment in the economy
without considering their various social implications. They provide taxes and other direct and
indirect benefits to the host governments; hence the governments cannot intervene when these
corporations are exploitative on the citizens. This is because the hosting governments may fear
that the interventions may scare away foreign investors, leaving the locals unemployed (Munin,
2018). Competition in the global market makes the corporation adopt low-cost strategies to
source cheap raw materials from suppliers. This ensures that their production costs are relatively
lower; hence, their products may enjoy a competitive advantage in the markets. Some of these
suppliers have been compelled by such situations to use young children and other forced labor
forms to make their raw materials affordable and competitive.
Checks and balances to ensure a balance of interest is respected globally.
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Every stakeholder is equally essential in market operations. The local communities require the
MNEs for employment, and the MNEs need the citizens to provide labor. The suppliers play a
vital role in ensuring the delivery of raw materials that will enable production processes.
Creating a balance will ensure all the stakeholders mutually enjoy the benefits of these
operations. This can be through the ratification of various declarations that protect human rights
and laborers, such as the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides that no one
shall be held in slavery or servitude and further protects individuals' rights from forced labor.
Other regulations may be created to compel governments to finance the citizens using the
multinational corporations' taxes. In other cases where MNEs might be using robotics, the
governments may make regulations that control and constrain robotics that undermines human
power and capacity (Munin, 2018).
Consumers’ power to make MNEs respect this balance of interests globally
Consumers may advocate for the development of national legislation and regulations that
ensure sufficient measures are taken to defend weak economies from the exploitative nature of
MNEs (Munin, 2018). The consumers may advocate that the MNEs should be socially liable for
any environmental implication against society by requiring the corporations to act in socially
Consumers’ power to abolish slavery and exploitative tendencies by MNEs
Consumers can join hands in forcing MNEs to be truthful and respectful to the workers and
the entire communities. Their lives are influenced directly or indirectly by their operations as a
condition for buying their products. This can be through boycotting of cheap products produced
in the interests of profits at the expense of the workers (Munin, 2018). For example, consumers
may boycott brands that make chocolate whose suppliers of cocoa powder and butter use
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children and other forced labor forms in their firms. This will cause the MNEs to adopt globally
accepted standards and alert their suppliers on the effects of using forced labor.
MNEs play a crucial role in supporting the local economies and livelihoods of many
individuals. However, the bypassing of various labor policies and the use of artificial intelligence
to undermine human capacity should be addressed to ensure all the stakeholders mutually benefit
from the operations.
ETHICAL BRANDING AND MARKETING 5
Munin, N. (2018). Slavery, Chocolate, and Artificial Intelligence: Brands ethical dilemma in a
modern world. In H. Gringarten, & R. Fernandez-Calienes (Eds.) Ethical Branding and
Marketing; Cases and lessons (pp. 143–158). Routledge Management and