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Honorable Mention award received from Carnegie Council on May 6, 2013

What is the greatest ethical challenge or dilemma facing the planet?

The main topic was, “In you opinion, what is the greatest ethical challenge or dilemma facing the planet?” This mainly highlights the ongoing issues that exist today whether it is the abuse of human rights, addiction with technology and many more. My essay was primarily focused on the topic of slavery. What normally comes into our mind when we hear the word slavery are people physically abused to work. This is the main idea that I would want readers to know. Slavery has transformed throughout the century from whipping people into threatening them by reducing salary. While I witness this happen continuously, I would like to people to notice it.


The greatest dilemma in facing the planet in my opinion is slavery.

        Slavery comes in various ways and forms that disable us from noticing it. This so-called “silent killer” has been around us since humanity began millions of years ago. It’s always there, as long as greed is among us and it’ll slowly rip us apart from being human to turn us into a greedy beast that everyone will hate and have no respect for. There’s only one thing that drives a man from standing high, into crawling on the ground, desperate to move and to do anything, slavery has reputation for doing this well.

        When we think of the word slavery, we might be thinking of people being whipped to be forced to do things. But these days, slavery works in a very similar manner to the ones in the past. Only this time, they do not include violence. They don’t include hitting and whipping. However, very few might do so. These days they might occur when people are forced to do things that exceeded their limits or when people had their freedom taken away by others. Giving them an unfair salary mistreats them; time to rest and even food does it.  These occur very often and can be found easily in a lot of companies and organizations. 

        Some companies such, as Foxconn in China is an example of that. A lot of people working in the company are heavily under-pressure because of the high demands that are increasing from several big and well-known electronic companies. This led to many suicides and suicidal attempts of the workers in the company due to the fact that they have exceeded their physical capabilities and yet they still have to work in order to make money.  However, things could have gone better if the company provide them an even amount of time to work and to rest. This simple rule is crucial to make a much better and safer company. 

        Some of us might be wondering, people working in Foxconn volunteered to work there, they should know it’s a tough job and they should already been trained by the company somehow. So how can this relate to slavery? Again, slavery comes in different ways and forms. Another way to “enslave” others is to use money to do so. People working in Foxconn must keep working in order to gain money to feed their relatives or themselves. Money is probably the most common bait to make people to do things for you. However, when they exceeded their limits or physical capabilities, this person is still forced to work. This can be called slavery because it takes away a part of their freedom, freedom to rest and freedom to have a life outside of the factory.

       In my country, Indonesia, a lot of people are considered to be in the lower class level. This means a lot of people will take money very seriously and they would do anything to get them because they’re not rich. For most of them, working in a factory are probably the most common job around these days, they give a pretty descent amount of money. However, people would still have to work hard to fulfill the company’s demands. The pressure is on and most workers are begging for a raise so that they can do more for their families and relatives or even themselves. As a result of them heavily depending on money, they threw a riot that will block toll roads and close down factories. This shows how people enslaved by money can have their mind altered to survive. If those people are not enslaved by money, they can have a much peaceful life because they do not go to work as an obligation; they go to work with joy and happiness.  This will also reduce the stress of the person and helps them to be more focused.

       Knowing things like these has happened, people ought to look for a solution, a permanent one that doesn’t have to be changed again and again. Amazingly, there are a few organizations that notice these issues and have helped provoke the people who mistreat the workers.  Organization such as Amnesty International and United Nations helped pressure governments to give heavy sanctions to those who mistreats others and to those who takes away freedom from them too. They provoke them in a non-violent way; they simply expose them to the public and tell the world that a certain company mistreats their workers and let the world throw their words upon them. These words will cause action that will force the company to be a much fair place for people to work. 

       In my opinion however, joining organizations that help remind companies and people about human rights isn’t going to do anything unless, we have a standard foundation to know we shouldn’t abolish the human rights. To do this, we can set schools or education with a foundation that teaches students about it. With this in mind, students will now have a healthier way of thinking and will continue to spread this teaching in the future. I believe that this is the most effective way to prevent the biggest threat to the world till this day, human dignity being replaced or enslaved by money. It is such a threat because it is similar to people being addicted with gadgets, it slowly makes a person become so closed-minded. However, the war to make money is much more violent cause there’s so much more negativity into it. The side effects of being in control of money can cause a person to rob a bank, copy others work or even hurt others to steal. 

        In conclusion, slavery is a true silent killer. It is hard to notice and hard to solve because they come in different forms, forms that appear as a bait.  Slavery these days easily prevent someone from having his or her freedom and can truly hurt someone and makes him or her look like as if they’re animals forced to do things. It also harms humanity and it has to be stopped now so that future generations can know and not make the same mistakes that we did today. 

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