Well, as we you live much enough away from Mexico long, do not travel, or spend some time at airports – indeed, ‘Schwein gehabt’! But it’s quite exceptional to start to see the social and political implications of the proceedings. Loads of things pop into your head. First, the nature is demonstrated by the pandemic of globalization.
It transcends edges; it defies financial, political, and social boundaries;, and it is a threat – theoretically – to the global world in general. British tourists returning from holidays in Cancun, French businesspeople coming home from Mexico City, migrant workers at the US/Mexican border – all are potential disasters in waiting.
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What can national governments or health regulators do? Not much too. President Obama hinted at this in his 100-days-in-office speech. But unless he closes the boundary to Mexico and shuts down plane tickets from there – there is certainly precious little local regulators really can do. Apart, from monitoring the devastation. Second, with the risk of loosing lives, the pandemic immediately increases moral issues. Yesterday, on the Canadian Radio CBS, the representative of the farm worker’s union was interviewed. Without a Mexican labor, Canadian agriculture would come to a milling hold.
So allowing these employees in can be an economic imperative. At the same time, Toronto remembers vividly the SARS pandemic still, and the result it acquired on the city (Toronto being one of the first and worst strike places by SARS in the past – because of its significant Chinese population). So how do we offer with Mexicans coming here?
Should they not come? What’s their responsibility in comprising the virus? These relevant questions provided the union representative some head aches. First signs of discrimination and incrimination of Mexican employees are emerging in Canada already, according to the radio program. Finally, what can government authorities do really? Crane&Matten have worked and have written (not at least in the Business Ethics textbook) about the ‘Risk Society’ thesis by the sociologist Ulrich Beck.
The key solution here seems to be a vaccine. Yes, pharmaceutical companies. But even they want at least half a year to build up a vaccine. So it all depends upon business here to provide the solution. Pharmaceutical multinationals have the research and knowledge base to address this pandemic. But they would only do so if they can make money on the drug.
So here is the dilemma: yes, a business can create a great advantage for culture. Pharmaceutical products have transformed our lives for the better and, in truth, saved an incredible number of lives. But is there the right incentives for these businesses? Don’t get us wrong. We aren’t defending the pharmaceutical industry.