When one thinks of Human Rights, one would most likely think, “unalienable rights,” “something for everyone,” “equality,” or things along those lines. Anthropologist Gerald D. Berreman, through his work as a social anthropologist and studying big business, shows this is not necessarily the case. Big Business in the name of profit have sacrificed the rights, and even lives, of many. Berreman states that there is a void of “ethical responsibility.” Many of the practices of big business help to institutionalize social inequality and stratification.
Some of Berreman and his colleagues, through research and statistics, work with corporations to keep them “forewarned about the consequences of their activities for the people involved.” Social Anthropologists have used their information gathered through research of various cultures to present companies with pros and cons of their proposed actions. Many social anthropologists state a primary commitment to the people they have studied and worked with before corporations. Whether the corporations listen to the research or not is a concern, due to the heavy impacts on many people and their rights, but ultimately they were forewarned.
Through Anthropology, work can be done to eliminate such gross inequalities. Through the continued work of dedicated anthropologist, like that of Berreman, corporations will continually hear about their impacts and be reminded of their consequences, and hopefully work towards a more equal distribution of wealth and rights.
“There is only one way that the products of oppression can be dissolved, and that is to stop the oppression.” – The Mark of Oppression, 1951