An Afro-European communitarian ethic as a model for a private sector response to HIV/AIDS, with special reference to the King II Report on Corporate Governance for South Africa.
This thesis formulates and argues for a composite conceptual framework of ethics for strategic and sustainable corporate benevolence as a means of addressing HIV/AIDS in South Africa. The template consists of the following theoretical elements: modern virtue ethics, contemporary Western communitarian ethics, the African philosophy of Ubuntu and a feminist ethic of care. This template is applied to relevant pragmatic ends through the proposition that the King I I Report - as it explicitly advocates a universally communitarian and essentially African code of ethics for a business response to HIV/AIDS - offers a viable and valuable model to both understand and transcend the tensions between profits and caring in the post-apartheid era of the South African experience of the pandemic. Specific features of the thesis include contextual perspectives on the ethical variances of HIV/AIDS stigma and behaviour change, cached as the thought-form of " I and We" as opposed to "Us and Them", and the psycho-social linguistics of re-interpreting "the wounded other" as "the wounded us". This is drawn together conceptually in discussion around the individual in and of, rather than as opposed to, the community, stressing how the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic is compelling our society to integrate this reverence into our disposition and conduct. In the spirit of this Afro-European communitarian ethic, and to apply this postulated theory for a concrete social morality in the wake of HIV/AIDS, the thesis argues that there is an ethical role for businesses in restoring the balance between nurturing and selfinterest - an equilibrium that is essential for both human expression and human survival. This involves underscoring the elderly and young women, as well as children, who head households and care for orphans of AIDS in circumstances of great vulnerability, (particularly the nation-wide body of informally organised volunteer home-based caregivers), as target beneficiaries for a gravely urgent and massive empowerment effort by the business sector.
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