Since the 1970s, the rise of global capitalism posed new ethical dilemmas for Western multinational corporations (MNCs), when it became apparent that they could profit from lower labor, environmental and human rights standards in developing countries. Academic reflection on the matter led to the development of the international business ethics field, which seeks to answer a key question: how should a company behave when the standards followed in the host country are lower than those followed in the home country? This chapter will fulfill three goals. Firstly, it will present the new moral dilemmas that economic globalization and technological change are posing to multinational corporations. Secondly, it will introduce a number of answers developed by practitioners in civil society, government and business. Finally, it will review a number of theoretical answers developed by normative researchers by adapting traditional moral theories such as utilitarianism, kantian deontology and virtue ethics. The chapter will conclude that traditional moral theories have mostly failed at providing guidance for a number of new cross-cultural moral dilemmas in the global economy.
Part of the book: Globalization