After reading the Hill (2020) section on 'Philosophical Approaches to Ethics' (first) and
then watching the Firestone and the Warlord documentary, please address the following
1. Describe two ethical dilemmas in the documentary that stand out to you. Why is each
situation an ethical dilemma?
Firestone company experiences management pressure in deciding on its operation in
Liberia. According to Gaviria and Will, the film shows a US ambassador supporting the move of
Firestone to conduct business with Taylor (minute 53:32). However, a group of diplomats from
America advised the company to consider the impending risks of venture operations with Taylor.
To begin with, the company has to strive to scale up its production and increase profit
margins in Liberia. Taylor is a dictator, and a move not to support him would have paralyzed the
operations of the firm. The company had to work with Taylor to protect its workers and assets.
On the other hand, an agreement with Taylor offered political capital and recognition to him,
exploitation of laborers, and massive campaign killings of indigenous citizens.
The executives of Firestone decided to engage with Taylor, who had violent forces, as observed
by US diplomats and human rights organizations.
2. Which approach(es) to ethics do you believe Firestone operates under throughout the
documentary? What evidence from the documentary leads you to this conclusion?
I believe that Firestone uses a naive, immoralist approach. Firestone executives fail to
follow ethical norms. For example, Taylor signs an agreement that allows the firm to remit taxes
to his rebel in exchange for safeguarding the rubber plantation operations, its workers, and
Firestone equally uses the Friedman doctrine approach as the company's social
responsibility was to make a profit. For instance, there were lower export taxes while working
with the Taylor government, which gave the company financial gain in rubber shipment at the
expense of workers' exploitation by rebels.
Do you believe that Firestone should have adopted a different approach?
If so, which approach would be most appropriate, and why?
The rights theories approach was appropriate. Individuals have dignity, and the decision-
making system should include moral emotions like sympathy and affectionate. Human rights
constitute a significant component of moral compass, and thus directors should consider
decisions that do not violate these rights.
3. What's your overall reaction to the documentary (e.g., likes/dislikes)?
I like the fact that Firestone provided work, housing, food, and health care to Liberian
locals. I do not support the activities of Taylor in his resurrection and exploiting laborers and
spoiling the environment.
Gaviria, Marcela and Will Cohen, directors. . PBS, 2014,