Manifesto 2013 – choosing a topic

Manifesto Topic 2013

Many of you have already started the process of thinking through the topic for your manifesto.  I have spoken with several of you who have considered an alternate topic for your manifesto.  Regardless of the topic you will eventually explore, the central guiding question I will ask as a reader is “how is this essay an application of a moral philosophy?”  Another way to look at it is “how is this (writing) about ethics?”  If you can keep that in mind, you are on the right track.
Unless you get an alternate topic approved on Friday, May 17th, your Manifesto must be a response to this question:  How can we ensure that businesses make ethical decisions?
For simplicity’s sake, I would recommend that you frame your discussion of the problem around a modern economic failure like the collapse of the clothing factory in Bangladesh.  A sample model of this default topic is stated below these abstract examples.
All Manifestos will include the following four components:  a stated (economic) problem, a recognition of one’s assumptions about human nature, an argument of what is right (in an economic sense) and how right is known, and a viable solution to the problem.
Please recognize, as an author, that your goal is to state the problem and your assumptions and then build your argument for a solution to the problem – a solution that gets us even closer to the ideal.
A possible structure would look like the following:
 – the assumptions you have about human nature
 – the way that ‘right’  and duty are known in an economic sense
 – the problem that must be solved (and why it requires action)
 – the solution that will restore the ‘ideal’ and improve society while solving the problem
Likewise, some may find this structure more appealing:
 – a statement of the problem and the dangers of inaction
 – the recognition of how people behave without guidance
 – description of the ideal  good and how the good is realized
 – a clarification of the steps toward the solution AND the argument for why it is both necessary and viable
IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING, IGNORE THIS NEXT SECTION.  If you can’t decide on your own, you’re going to write on the default topic (or if you haven’t really decided yet).   You should tackle this basic sequence of questions in your work:
1. Why is the factory collapse such a big deal?  Yes, over 1,000 lives were lost, but there are other catastrophes that take a similar number of lives.  What is the economic injustice inherent in this issue?
2. How is this building collapse an example of what is wrong with human nature?  How do people behave both in nature and when they enter into an economic agreement?  Do people naturally care for others?  Should they care for each other in an economic sense?
3.And what obligation do we have to take action in this case?  What duty do we have to others?  Where does this obligation come from?  How do we know this obligation exists?
4. So, what should be done in this case?  Who is really responsible for the loss of life – the workers? the owner? the companies that contracted the work?  the consumers in the U.S.?  What specific steps need to be taken in order to ensure that this type of unethical business practices are not allowed to happen in the future?  and what makes you think these steps will prevent unethical business practices given what you know/stated about human nature?
So, please realize that by today, May 17th, you need to have a first draft of the entirety of the project including a possible solution to the problem.

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