Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Applying relevant ethical theories to equality

Punabantu, Siize (2012): Applying relevant ethical theories to equality.

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Abstract

Nelson Mandela said,

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against White domination, and I have fought against Black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

In other words Nelson Mandela did not simply engage in the struggle for Black people, he did so for Black people, White people, Asians, Arabs and people of diverse backgrounds. As a result he has special place in history and in the hearts of many diverse people. Martin Luther King Jnr is respected not because he engaged the civil rights movement for African Americans, but he did so for all Americans and all people alike. Today he is still fondly remembered by a diverse section of society. The question of ethics in society in terms of the regard human beings have for one another be it by gender, race, tribe or group has an impact on business and socio-economic development. It is this issue in governance that this paper will address. It raises interesting questions. When does the integration, for example, of gender equality interfere with the ability of a CEO or leader to make decisions that are in the interests of the institutions they manage and when is it a necessary active policy by which to improve gender equality? When does empowerment become discriminative and when does discrimination betray the more positive expectations of empowerment? If we as members of society are held to the highest ideal then mutual respect and equality between people of different races, of different tribes and groupings is an example of the best possible use of human reason and the most useful application of human emotional and social intelligence.

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