Reframing the Issue: AIDS as a Global Workforce Crisis and the Emerging Role of Multinational Corporations

Elizabeth M. Chitty
J.D. candidate, May 2005
Indiana University--Maurer School of Law

By discussing the existing global AIDS epidemic, both in terms of the current framework of a human rights crisis, as well as in terms of the proposed framework of a global workforce crisis, this Note seeks to provide a common language by which MNCs and their critics may engage in productive dialogue. Part I of this Note briefly examines the current framework–AIDS as a global human rights crisis and the response of MNCs through corporate social responsibility. A case study of Cummins Inc. serves to highlight the response, including successes and shortcomings of one corporation’s response to the AIDS crisis through the lens of corporate social responsibility. This part concludes with criticisms under the current framework.Part II proposes an alternative framework through which MNCs, and their critics, may view issues and define responses. A global workforce crisis has emerged as a result of the AIDS epidemic. The disease often affects individuals in their prime working years across populations worldwide. Furthermore, AIDS directly affects the business operations of MNCs through increased costs, decreased productivity, and reduced profits. This part seeks to show that intervention by MNCs is cost-effective, in part by illustrating effective program implementations and their successes. Finally, this part concludes by demonstrating that reframing the issue in terms of a global workforce crisis may dispel criticisms present under the current corporate social responsibility framework.

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