Honesty, loyalty, credibility, respectability, transparency, and quality – these are the basic principles of consumer society and, at the same time, corporate ethics that is acknowledged by civilized communities and practiced across the cultures with the slightly different specifications and implications. Vision and understanding of the corporate ethics issue may vary, but the basic principles are constant regardless of the characteristics of a particular culture they are applied to.
The article under analysis is titled ‘The Victor and the Vanquished – Herron Turns Pain into Gain.’ The piece was written by Catriona Mathewson and published in The Courier-Mail, an Australian news periodical. The work studies the case of the Herron Pharmaceuticals. The latter was a family-owned company founded by Euan Murdoch in Brisbane (Australia) in 1972. The business has recently become a part of the UK multinational healthcare corporation called GlaxoSmithKline. The British company is also known as the owner of Panadol trade mark (Mathewson 2002).
The case under consideration deals with the strychnine poisoning among the Herron Pharmaceuticals’ customers who took their headache capsules. The author of the article emphasizes Euan Murdoch’s “uncanny business acumen” (2002) by drawing the attention to the relatively non-massive constructing activities that, however, cost a lot. For example, his mansion is said to be worth approximately 5 million dollars (Mathewson 2002).
In this respect, there is another point that should be mentioned. The statistics cited by Catrions Mathewson in the article goes as follows: Paracetamol produced by Herron Pharmaceuticals comprises approximately 28 per cent of Australian analgesic market compared to that of Panadol that occupies 35 per cent of the market (Mathewson 2002). However, a shocking and terrifying case of Dennis Fountain, Herron’s alleged extortionist, has cast doubts on Euan Murdoch’s optimistic forecasts of Herron’s leading positions on the Australian medicine market, and the reasons for this are notable and obvious.
The author of the article successfully draws the readers’ attention to the causes. Firstly, it is mentioned that a few people were hospitalized with the diagnosed strychnine poisoning after taking up the headache capsules. Moreover, Dennis Fountain, the alleged extortionist, was found dead in prison on the eve of the trial on charges of the “attempted murder, extortion, product contamination, poisoning and fraud” (Mathewson 2002). The man is believed to have committed a suicide. However, his relatives wish to re-open the investigation that will be justified and clear. A person being charged with an attempted murder (prosecution in Dennis Fountain’s case claimed that the man was attempting to poison his wife), the two great healthcare corporations involved (Herron and Panadol) after the second case of poisoning with strychnine-laced capsules that happened to Brisbane doctor Dudley Pullen and his son David (Mathewson 2002) – each of these is a challenging and sophisticated case and, thus, requires a thorough and profound enquiry. Lindsey Lawrence admitted that “(Police) should reveal the results of their investigation so the family might be able to do their own research” (cited in Mathewson 2002). What really matters under the circumstances is the justice and the right to know the truth especially if one talks about the relatives of the dead. Moreover, the author of the work highlights that the investigation should be conducted to prevent more people from becoming the victims of bad and dangerous medicines.
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As far as the issue of the analysis of the article is concerned, one may resume that Catriona Mathewson, the author of the piece, is precise in details and specific about the information available on the issues. Moreover, the writer is unbiased and reflects the positions of all the parties involved in the case in spite of the fact that they oppose each other. Therefore, the author accentuates the importance of justice and finding the objective truth.
Typically, the article itself may be investigated form the perspective of social theory. The latter and the concept of public sphere were developed by Jürgen Habermas. The philosopher admitted the importance of socialization within the framework of informal communication (Habermas 2013). The scientist has explained the principles and the mechanisms of the critical social theory that was introduced by the Marxist philosophy, and developed in the 20s of the 20th century by the members of the Franfurt Institute (Habermas 2013). To put it in more simple words, the ideal public sphere, according to Habemass, creates the conditions under which an effective, unbiased, and peaceful discussion is possible. This is the environment that makes it possible for the interlocutors to treat each other like equals and find the truth. The model of the society Catriona Mathewson deals with in her article perfectly fits into the mentioned description. However, people’s comments sound as if out of the reality and absurd to a certain extent. Nevertheless, in this particular case, assumptions and statements that are emotionally marked should be taken into account.
One of the highest values in the contemporary world is safety. This notion has nowadays become synonymous to the issues of knowledge, freedom, and responsibility, which, in their turn, constitute the basic needs of a human being. In this respect, using cognitive abilities and thinking as a means for rationalizing the facts, making logical assumptions, and, thus, compromising between the ratio and emotions are really vital. Moreover, knowledge, freedom, safety, and peace will always remain the issues of people’s concern since they are the most vulnerable and, therefore, the most cherished by all humans. This is how the principles of social theory and public sphere are put into practice. This is what makes the research in the area purposeful. In this respect, Catriona Mathewson’s article represents itself as the practical aspect of social theory and public sphere.