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Working for a Defence Contractor - Amoral? Watch

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    (Original post by DJkG.1)
    I think you mean 'immoral' rather than 'amoral', which means without moral value.

    For what it's worth, my opinion is that working for such a company in Britain, knowing what it does and what its products are used for, is terribly immoral. Hence, I would never take such a job. But if you don't share my views on British military operations in the present day, you probably wouldn't find such a job immoral. I'm sure all those who work for the likes of BAE Systems don't think twice about it.
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    (Original post by Saichu)
    Weapons can also be used to defend the refugees and evacuees, as well as journalists or aid planes. I'm sure some sort of moral equivalence can be maintained.
    Absolutely, I'd be happy with a company that supplied weapons to, say, Ireland but not Somalian warlords. But ultimately, as you intimate, it's a question for the OPs morality - there are no absolutes to be found here.
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    (Original post by Renal)
    Nope. PMCs are Private Military Contractors such as Blackwater, Aegis or ArmourGroup, they provide military and security services and were previously known as mercenaries. They do not develop or manufacture weapons.

    This discussion is about Defence Contractors. These are companies, such as BAe, or Northrop Grumman that develop and manufacture equipment for military use. However, obviously that is not all they do - Rolls Royce, for example, are one of the biggest defence contractors but military equipment is a small part of their business. What's more, any company that fulfils a military contract is, technically, a Defence Contractor, so we'd have to include Dell, IBM, Sodhexo, Rentokill and all the other companies that do useful things for us in that list.
    Ok got the term wrong, my bad.

    But the defence contractors such as BAE systems provide military hardware for either defence or rouge use.

    Purpose behind the company is to provide weapons (primarily) to whoever asks for it.

    While the companies you mentioned, provide hardware for military defence/service. They do not providing primary weapons for rogue states (nor defence)

    and also BAE does have a bad track record for providing those stuff for dangerous states.
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    (Original post by Electrodude)
    Ok got the term wrong, my bad.

    But the defence contractors such as BAE systems provide military hardware for either defence or rouge use.

    Purpose behind the company is to provide weapons (primarily) to whoever asks for it.

    While the companies you mentioned, provide hardware for military defence/service. They do not providing primary weapons for rogue states (nor defence)

    and also BAE does have a bad track record for providing those stuff for dangerous states.
    Weapons? Rolls Royce primarily makes aero engines, more than half of which are for the civilian market. Boeing primarily makes aircraft.

    Even if this was as simple as weapons what does marketing, selling directly or having products sold to rogue states mean? Plenty of LM kit ended up in Iran in the 80s, long before Iran became a rogue state. Plenty of British kit got sold to African nations by intermediaries - can you hold the manufacturer accountable? And finally, who judges what a rogue state is? You?
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    (Original post by Renal)
    Weapons? Rolls Royce primarily makes aero engines, more than half of which are for the civilian market. Boeing primarily makes aircraft.

    Even if this was as simple as weapons what does marketing, selling directly or having products sold to rogue states mean? Plenty of LM kit ended up in Iran in the 80s, long before Iran became a rogue state. Plenty of British kit got sold to African nations by intermediaries - can you hold the manufacturer accountable? And finally, who judges what a rogue state is? You?
    I am mostly targeting companies who develop heavy stuff such as rifles, nuclear parts, mines etc etc. And dont tend to hesitate selling it to rogue countries such as Zimbabwe.

    the question is not those who are contracted to deliver parts by companies (such as IBM) who do not manufacture weapons at that grade, but merely hardware for the military.

    Nonetheless, working for companies who are established to primarily develop weapons and sell it to anyone, could meddle with ones moral.
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    (Original post by Electrodude)
    I am mostly targeting companies who develop heavy stuff such as rifles, nuclear parts, mines etc etc. And dont tend to hesitate selling it to rogue countries such as Zimbabwe.
    Name one? :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by Renal)
    Name one? :rolleyes:
    BAE systems, Raytheon (OP quote)
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    (Original post by Electrodude)
    BAE systems, Raytheon (OP quote)
    Raytheon makes most of it's money from radar systems and as far as I can see it's biggest ethical error appears to involve selling an air traffic control system to Brazil.

    BAe has a far more ethically dubious history, but only exports weapons with the permission of the British Government.

    Neither company manufactures mines or 'nuclear parts'.
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    (Original post by Renal)
    Raytheon makes most of it's money from radar systems and as far as I can see it's biggest ethical error appears to involve selling an air traffic control system to Brazil.

    BAe has a far more ethically dubious history, but only exports weapons with the permission of the British Government.

    Neither company manufactures mines or 'nuclear parts'.
    A quick google will show on BAE;

    In 2006, BAE was excluded from the portfolio of the government pension fund of Norway "because they develop and/or produce central components for nuclear weapons"
    and:

    BAE has in recent times been criticised for its role in the production of cluster bombs, due to the long term death/injury risks they cause to civilians (they behave similarly to land mines)
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    (Original post by Electrodude)
    A quick google will show on BAE;



    and:
    That's something of a misquotation though. BAe isn't directly involved with the production of nuclear weapons, but one of it's subsidiaries is, and that only because of a merger. You wouldn't say that Fiat was involved in the production of the Ferrari Testarossa, but Fiat now own Ferrari. You also selectively ended the quote on cluster munitions - they are no longer produced. (Mind you I'm unconvinced by it being anything to do with public pressure - much more likely there's simply no market for them now).

    As for the morality of it, my general take would be that wars are going to happen, but developing better equipment is likely to mean those wars don't last as long and will be more survivable. Let's face it, if every arms manufacturer stopped production right now it's not going to stop innocent people being shot is it!
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    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    That's something of a misquotation though. BAe isn't directly involved with the production of nuclear weapons, but one of it's subsidiaries is, and that only because of a merger. You wouldn't say that Fiat was involved in the production of the Ferrari Testarossa, but Fiat now own Ferrari. You also selectively ended the quote on cluster munitions - they are no longer produced. (Mind you I'm unconvinced by it being anything to do with public pressure - much more likely there's simply no market for them now).
    It does not cover up the fact that they have been involved in devious activities.


    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    if every arms manufacturer stopped production right now it's not going to stop
    innocent people being shot is it!
    They will stop producing guns... No-one will be shot :cool:

    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    As for the morality of it, my general take would be that wars are going to happen, but developing better equipment is likely to mean those wars don't last as long and will be more survivable. Let's face it,

    I will respect your point. However, the whole industry create and develop deadly weapons.

    Weapons in general are built to kill... That is their purpose, that is their function. and when looking at it in simple black and white, one will question the moral contribution, when working to create them.


    It is like Yuri Orlov from the film Lord of War, convincing that his trade is morally right because it arms those who do not have weapons to 'defend' themselves ( Ie. committing genocide)

    But nonetheless, I do see you point of view.
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    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    That's something of a misquotation though. BAe isn't directly involved with the production of nuclear weapons, but one of it's subsidiaries is, and that only because of a merger. You wouldn't say that Fiat was involved in the production of the Ferrari Testarossa, but Fiat now own Ferrari. You also selectively ended the quote on cluster munitions - they are no longer produced. (Mind you I'm unconvinced by it being anything to do with public pressure - much more likely there's simply no market for them now).

    As for the morality of it, my general take would be that wars are going to happen, but developing better equipment is likely to mean those wars don't last as long and will be more survivable. Let's face it, if every arms manufacturer stopped production right now it's not going to stop innocent people being shot is it!
    Well it would eventually as the weapons will be too old to be any use at some point. And what makes you think wars won't last as long? I've seen no evidence of that happening - you could say WW2 but I don't think its really clear cut enough to suggest that.

    I personally think its a highly immoral industry to get into (possibly the most immoral) and would never even consider it - I'd rather be homeless and living on the streets.

    That said, it's always going to be there so I can understand why some people go into it.
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    (Original post by Electrodude)
    It does not cover up the fact that they have been involved in devious activities.
    No, but devious activities are hardly limited to the defence industry!
    They will stop producing guns... No-one will be shot :cool:
    There's somewhere in excess of 100 million AKs currently in the world - they won't disappear for a long time. There's more than enough weapons kicking around to keep people killing each other. Even if it's not guns, it'll be something else - war didn't start with the invention of gunpowder!

    I will respect your point. However, the whole industry create and develop deadly weapons.

    Weapons in general are built to kill... That is their purpose, that is their function. and when looking at it in simple black and white, one will question the moral contribution, when working to create them.
    I guess it depends where you draw the line defining a weapon. A bomb is a weapon, but is the whole aircraft which carries it? What about the civilian benefits of the research which goes into developing military aircraft? What about the duties the Navy performs, such as anti piracy, Caribbean support, disaster relief and SAR? Most of the work done by companies such as BAe isn't on pure munitions, it's on platforms which perform many roles. In any case, decisions on the morality of selling weapons manufactured in the UK or using weaponry supplied to the UK armed forces is made by the government, not by the companies or armed forces.

    I'm not particularly trying to convince anyone it's right or wrong - tbh I probably would describe it as amoral, i.e. without morality attached!

    (Original post by callum9999)
    Well it would eventually as the weapons will be too old to be any use at some point. And what makes you think wars won't last as long? I've seen no evidence of that happening - you could say WW2 but I don't think its really clear cut enough to suggest that.
    That wasn't really what I was driving at - warfare since WWII has been largely asymmetric, so one side will generally be significantly better armed (though possibly with other significant disadvantages, such as in Afghanistan) and so the conventional warfare phase is generally short. The invasion of Iraq didn't take long, as we were much better equipped and so could disable the Iraqi military quickly. Of course that doesn't help much against suicide bombers, but that's another facet of asymmetric warfare - occupation isn't easy.
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    Do you pay tax? If you do then you're funding war. Unless you become a self-sufficient hermit you will inevitably fund conflict.
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    (Original post by Einheri)
    Do you pay tax? If you do then you're funding war. Unless you become a self-sufficient hermit you will inevitably fund conflict.
    How is that remotely relevant to anything? Tax goes to war against my and others will - it's not as if I can reasonably do anything to stop it, whereas its pretty easy to not work for the war industry.
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    (Original post by callum9999)
    How is that remotely relevant to anything? Tax goes to war against my and others will - it's not as if I can reasonably do anything to stop it, whereas its pretty easy to not work for the war industry.
    Is it? As mentioned earlier, there's not a lot of businesses that can't be linked, one way or another, to the military.
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    (Original post by Renal)
    Is it? As mentioned earlier, there's not a lot of businesses that can't be linked, one way or another, to the military.
    Ah, I was focussing on the weapons industry earlier (so BAe and it's suppliers etc.) but I guess you're right. It's easy to not directly work for the industry though - which is what I interpreted the thread to be about.
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    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    No, but devious activities are hardly limited to the defence industry!
    There's somewhere in excess of 100 million AKs currently in the world - they won't disappear for a long time. There's more than enough weapons kicking around to keep people killing each other. Even if it's not guns, it'll be something else - war didn't start with the invention of gunpowder!
    We could put enough resources to remove them and ensure further development of them are stopped. Where there is political will, there will be results.

    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    I guess it depends where you draw the line defining a weapon. A bomb is a
    weapon, but is the whole aircraft which carries it?
    That point is stretching it too far. The whole purpose is to try and figure out whether it is immoral to work for a weapons manufacture or not.

    The question is whether developing the bomb is immoral, not the aircraft. The aircraft is not initially developed to kill, thus, one cannot hunt the manufacture of the craft, while those who weaponize it, would have a low moral standard.

    The same applies for defence contractors (loosely) since they do develop weapon and weaponize civilian products.



    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    What about the civilian benefits of the research which goes into developing military aircraft?
    I would personally not feel good making aircraft into killing machines.

    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    What about the duties the Navy performs, such as anti piracy, Caribbean support, disaster relief and SAR?

    Using military force should not be recommended when it comes to piracy. There are repressing reasons to why pirats resort to this stuff.

    Search and Rescue are one of the great benefits of the aircraft's radar system, I do understand the argument with the use of radar that was developed for military use. But then again, it could be used for civilian purposes. I do not think that we need a military driven company to develop useful products for civilian use, That is like whitewashing Unit 731 for its benefits on the experiments they conducted, despite the horror they inflicted on patients.

    Let us not stretch the arguments too far, and focus on the companies OP mentioned.

    The moral hazard comes when one is working for a company who develop weapons with that 1 purpose, to develop weapons that kill. These companies do that.


    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    Most of the work done by companies such as BAe isn't on pure munitions, it's on platforms which perform many roles. In any case, decisions on the morality of selling weapons manufactured in the UK or using weaponry supplied to the UK armed forces is made by the government, not by the companies or armed forces.

    I'm not particularly trying to convince anyone it's right or wrong - tbh I probably would describe it as amoral, i.e. without morality attached!
    The same reasoning could be applied to the jobs of Assassins. The clients are the one ordering to make the kill, while the assassin is just a tool.

    when it come to my moral compass, the assassin is just as immoral as the defence contractors.
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    (Original post by Electrodude)
    We could put enough resources to remove them and ensure further development of them are stopped. Where there is political will, there will be results.
    There's the political will to remove arms from the Taliban, but it's not making much progress is it? I don't think there's anything immoral about arming stable nations (if you're an all out pacifist we'll just have to agree to disagree there) and most of the weapons in the hands of guerilla groups are not arriving there from arms manufacturers. If there was a way to recall all those weapons do you think the government wouldn't be doing that anyway?
    That point is stretching it too far. The whole purpose is to try and figure out whether it is immoral to work for a weapons manufacture or not.
    No, it's not stretching a point too far, it's fundamental to the question. Look at the equipment BAe make - most of it isn't munitions. If the platforms (aircraft, ships etc.) aren't considered weapons in themselves then weapons production isn't BAe's core business. If they are considered weapons, then there's a lot more to them than just killing potential.

    The question is whether developing the bomb is immoral, not the aircraft. The aircraft is not initially developed to kill, thus, one cannot hunt the manufacture of the craft, while those who weaponize it, would have a low moral standard.
    Define developed to kill. A fighter jet doesn't have any civilian uses, so it is developed solely for military applications, and so weapons capability is key to its design. Also you don't seem to be aware that most defence contractors make the aircraft, ships etc., they're not made by third parties.

    The same applies for defence contractors (loosely) since they do develop weapon and weaponize civilian products.
    Actually it's the other way round - you're more likely to get civilian products derived from military vehicles than the other way round (the jeep, jet aircraft etc.). As much as anything that's because the military will pay for R&D, whereas civilian companies are more likely to wait for someone else to do the R&D and take the associated risks.

    Using military force should not be recommended when it comes to piracy. There are repressing reasons to why pirats resort to this stuff.
    I don't disagree that the reasons people resort to piracy need to be addressed, but some kind of deterrent is needed. You've also skipped other roles I've mentioned.

    Search and Rescue are one of the great benefits of the aircraft's radar system, I do understand the argument with the use of radar that was developed for military use. But then again, it could be used for civilian purposes. I do not think that we need a military driven company to develop useful products for civilian use,
    How about the jet engine? Would you say that was a worthwhile product? Whittle tried to get private investment to build the Whittle Unit but failed to get anything like enough to develop it - the money came from the Air Ministry. There's all kinds of other things, such as metallurgical developments which have both civilian and military applications, but development is driven by the military.

    Let us not stretch the arguments too far, and focus on the companies OP mentioned.
    Everything I've said is relevant to BAe/BVT (primarily to exclusively defence contractors) and Rolls Royce (significant defence contractor). If you're not aware of this, perhaps you should learn a little more about the defence industry before criticising it?

    The moral hazard comes when one is working for a company who develop weapons with that 1 purpose, to develop weapons that kill. These companies do that.
    No, no they don't. See my last comment.

    The same reasoning could be applied to the jobs of Assassins. The clients are the one ordering to make the kill, while the assassin is just a tool.

    when it come to my moral compass, the assassin is just as immoral as the defence contractors.
    I don't agree, but I'm out of time to explain why!
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    Well, you could go to bed everynight knowing something you made is going to really hurt someone. LAWL
 
 
 
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