Two Infinities

Mon, 12 Sep 2005

Yahoo and the categorical imperative

When students read Kant's categorical imperative, they often argue no moral imperative is categorical. They argue that lying, though surely proscribed by the categorical imperative, can be the moral thing to do, say, when Nazi SS men come to the door and ask if there are any Jews in the house. Now Yahoo defends helping Chinese authorities saying, "Yahoo must ensure that its local country sites must operate within the [local] laws, regulations, and customs."

The phrase "Yahoo must" must surely resonate with those who have seen "The Corporation". As examined in that documentary, corporations also seem to follow a categorical imperative, but one that finds US corporations "accepting illiberal Chinese laws" (The Christian Science Monitor) just as some circumvented US laws to do business with Nazi Germany just a generation ago.

Well, armies, nations and corporations are comprised of individuals acting. Shame on you, Jerry Yang.

posted at: 21:56 | path: | permanent link to this entry