A PBS documentary has uncovered a trove of recently discovered documents revealing a 1991 deal in which Firestone agreed to pay Liberian warlord Charles Taylor $2.3 million in exchange for keeping its profitable rubber farm in operation during a bloody civil war. This case explores the social and economic implications of a foreign company operating in a politically unstable and economically undeveloped country. Students are asked to address the public relations crisis and explore Firestone’s responsibility for confronting past wrongs, striking a balance between social equity and economic prosperity.
Firestone: Crises Across the Decades
by: Andrew Hoffman
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After reading and discussing the material, students should:
- Explore the implications of a multinational company entering a developing country/emerging market to do business when the company has more money/power than the country it is entering.
- Examine the responsibilities of the company to upheaval in the country and identify where the line between government and company responsibility should exist.
- Determine the balance or allowable imbalance between social equity and economic prosperity.
- Explore future actions and responsibilities for recently uncovered wrongful actions and how these actions can or cannot make up for the past.
- Discuss levels of transparency in measuring the social equity and economic prosperity of a country.