Today we consider a more realistic moral quandary, one that we actually run into quite often in various forms. We’ll discuss but one instance of it right now: Dubai. While this blog post may be short, the article I’m suggesting you read is rather long:
The dark side of Dubai — Johann Hari, published in The Independent on 7 April 2009.
The scenario might as well be sketched hypothetically:
- Consider a society and an economy that is built on the backs of what effectively seems to be slave labour. If an economy is built on something morally reprehensible, to what degree are we culpable, should we choose to have a vacation there? Or just go shopping for a day? Or even just fly the airline? Is contributing money to a morally reprehensible economy an act of aiding and abetting?
- To what extent does knowledge or lack of knowledge of the underlying reprehensible acts influence the ethics of our actions? (To what extent is ignorance a valid defence?)
In the case of Dubai and its airline: I have never even flown Emirates. It seems they are often the cheapest option for Europe-Africa flights and I know many people that fly Emirates. The reason I chose against that airline in the past was probably because the flight time is longer, though I got to feel good about my choice by only making it after checking CheapTickets.ch which claims BA, KLM and SAA are all more ecologically friendly (probably also because those flights are shorter).
BTW, Dubai is also in serious economic trouble. If you would like to visit and are thus looking for some noble reason to rationalise going, that might be of use.