In the "Ethical Inquiry" series, we examine ethical questions, highlighting a broad array of opinion from journalism, academia, and advocacy organizations. Our intent is to illuminate and explore the complexity of some of the most vexing ethical questions of our time.

Click here to explore the full "Ethical Inquiry" series.

Ethical Inquiry: January 2014

2013 Year in Review

We begin 2014 with a look back at the issues we explored in "Ethical Inquiry" in 2013. We encourage you to explore these questions and the full collection of Inquiries - and share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Twitter, and by email.

food securityIs Food Security a Human Right?
Valeria Gemello MS '13
Is there a right to food? If so, who is responsible for the fulfillment of such a right? In this "Ethical Inquiry" we explore the ethics of food as a human right, taking into account the supporters and the opponents of such a right.

International AidThe Ethics of International Aid
Ariana Hajmiragha ’13
We all want the world to be a better place, but how to make that happen? Many focus on helping their own, local communities, but some are drawn to problems affecting communities across the planet. In this installment of "Ethical Inquiry" we ask: Who has the right to make those choices? Who should be in charge of directing what money and which resources goes where, and to what end?

OutsourcingThe Ethics of Outsourcing Labor
Ariana Hajmiragha ’13
Many businesses “outsource” labor to other countries, often because it lowers costs and raises profitability. Critics suggest that some businesses are trying to skirt labor and environmental protections ­– and even environmental protections – at home. In this "Ethical Inquiry" we explore the ethical implications of the outsourcing of labor, particularly in the case of businesses in developed nations outsourcing to developing nations.

VoluntourismHelping or Hurting? The Ethics of Voluntourism
Jessye Kass ’13
In this installment of “Ethical Inquiry” we explore the voluntourism industry, with a focus on both its ethical challenges and its contributions to the world. For an exploration of the ethical issues of tourism more broadly, including a brief discussion of voluntourism, see the Ethical Inquiry “What are the Ethics of Tourism?

MarijuanaThe Ethics of Legalizing Medical Marijuana
Alex Thomson '15
Massachusetts recently became the 18th state in the country to adopt a medical marijuana statute. (The District of Columbia also has a medical marijuana statute.) Yet the debate over legalization of marijuana for medical purposes continues. In this installment of “Ethical Inquiry” inquiry we explore the ethical implications of legalizing medical marijuana.

Hate CrimesThe Ethics of Hate Crime Legislation
Hailey Magee '15
Within the last decade, hate crimes have become a regular topic in the mainstream media. Two very recent tragedies, the deaths of Tyler Clementi and Trayvon Martin, have once again brought the topic of hate crime legislation to the forefront of public discourse. In this “Ethical Inquiry” we explore the ethics of hate crimes legislation.


CSRThe Ethics of Corporate Social Responsibility
Kristina Jacobs '15
There is a trend among businesses in the United States and around the world, to engage in practices of corporate social responsibility (CSR), also known as "corporate citizenship," "sustainable responsible business," and "corporate social performance." In this “Ethical Inquiry” we explore the ethics of corporate social responsibility (“CSR”). Do businesses have an ethical obligation to embrace CSR? Why or why not?

Acting TogetherRecommended Books From the Year
For the December installment of "Ethical Inquiry" we took the opportunity to recommend some books published in 2013 on topics related to the work of the Ethics Center and by people affiliated with the Center, as well as a few selections not as closely tied to our work that impressed members of our staff.

 What do you think?

Have suggestions for additional content that relates to the ethical issues explored in any of these inquiries? Let us know.

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