Monthly Archives: February 2009

Ethics in Business – From Compliance to Commitment

Rana Group asked:

By the time this article goes to print all of us will surely have had our fill of news reports about Conrad Black’s infamous lawsuit. We’ll likely be numb to the never ending allegations of fraudulent practices at Nortel. But, how many of us as human resource professionals will be asking, ‘What does this have to do with me?’

It seems that, by and large, human resource professionals have been quite happy to have the accountability for their company’s business ethics and code of business conduct rest with their legal or audit departments. In so doing, human resource professionals miss an opportunity to help their companies shift from merely being compliant with the law to demonstrating their company’s firm and unwavering commitment to build an ethical business culture.

The ‘iceberg model’ helps us to better appreciate the influences that may undermine a company’s policies and practices with respect to business ethics. Think of the ‘the Law’ and your company’s Code of Business Conduct Policy as the tip of the iceberg, visible above the surface. Now, think about the influences that exist below the surface lurking within many companies. Things like:

? Pressures to conform (“Hey, we always take off early Friday afternoons, you need to join us or else someone’s going to take notice”)

? Desire to please (“I picked up the tab for a lunch I had with my boss. He told me it was the only way he could expense it without needing to get further approval. I did it because I wanted to stay on his good side!”)

? Accepted practices (“Don’t worry, we give box seat tickets to all our clients and they sure don’t have any problem with accepting them!”)

? Performance drivers (“Hey, maybe we should just alter our numbers a bit. If we do, we’re sure to be in the top category for a bonus this year!”)

When asked, most of us do not hesitate to say that we are ‘ethical’. In fact some people are offended when asked to sign a document confirming they have read and understood their company’s Code of Business Conduct Policy. However, what we fail to recognize and appreciate is our ability to rationalize our own behavior. Sometimes we justify our actions so convincingly that we no longer even perceive that what we are doing is inherently wrong or unethical. For example:

? “I’ll just pad my mileage claim this month, it’s not like I haven’t worked hard. The company owes it to me.”

? “I know I shouldn’t provide my son with supplies from the office, but university is so expensive and, I know this company can afford the photocopying I do and the pens and paper I take.”

? “If this company can afford a company jet, hey, they can afford for me to take a few sick days to ski!”

It is a slippery slope once employees believe they can justify actions and decisions that are fundamentally unethical. Reading a code of conduct policy and signing a piece of paper every year does little to help employees grasp and understand the essence of ethical conduct. Nor does it help employees apply good problem solving skills when they are faced with ethical dilemmas in the workplace. It may surprise some to know that virtually all the companies who have become household names (including Enron) as a result of their unethical business practices had well articulated policies and codes of conduct dutifully signed off yearly by their employees.

Few companies are making the effort necessary to address these underlying influences and regrettably, only those that do will truly build ethical cultures. By taking the following 7 steps, human resource professionals can play a critical role in helping their companies move beyond compliance, raising the bar to demonstrate their deep commitment to developing an ethical business culture.

1) Adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to building an ethical culture

2) Communicate your Code of Business Conduct in plain language

3) Ensure relevant policies, processes and practices align with your Code.

4) Develop ethical leadership

5) Gain employee buy-in

6) Facilitate reporting

7) Model the way

Adopt a Multi-Disciplinary Approach

Human resources must have a ‘seat at the table’ when matters of business ethics and code of conduct are discussed. That said, it would be wrong for human resources to act independently. Companies that are truly committed to developing ethical cultures adopt a multi-disciplinary approach that includes representation from their legal, financial, communications and human resource disciplines. Working together they develop a strategy that enables the development of an ethical culture that is truly sustainable.

Use Plain Language in Your Code

Most human resource departments do provide employees with a personal copy of their company’s Code of Business Conduct Policy at the time of hire. Many companies host their Code of Business Conduct and related policies on their intranet. However, few companies have taken the time to provide a document that is actually readable! By working with their partners in Communications, Human Resources can provide employees a document that is both easily referenced and easily read.

Align Policy and Practices

More than one company has been surprised to learn that upon review, some of their policies and accepted practices are not consistent with their company’s Code of Business Conduct Policy. Human resources can ‘lead the way’ by ensuring its policies and practices are ‘squeaky clean’; not only in the way they are written, but also, in the way they are executed. However, it is not only human resource policies that require review, virtually all corporate policies need to be reviewed in light of the company’s Code of Business Conduct Policy to achieve proper alignment.

Develop Ethical Leadership

Developing ethical leadership ought to be a primary goal of every leadership development program. Surely it is the role of human resources to ensure the topic of business ethics is adequately addressed in all leadership development programs. Not only do leaders need to know and understand their company’s Code of Business Conduct Policy but, they must also understand the role they play in facilitating an ethical culture. This is just as true for leaders at the frontline as it is for leaders at the executive table. Leaders often justify their own behaviors based upon what they see modeled by those to whom they report. Ethical leadership depends upon each leader understanding they are responsible and accountable for their personal actions and behaviors regardless of the actions of those at more senior levels of the company.

Demonstrating ethical behavior as a leader is inextricably linked to building trusting relationships, the cornerstone of many leadership development programs. However, while many of these programs address the matter of trust and trusting relationships, few make the link to ethical behavior and the expectations of leaders. Whether through instructor-led training or on-line training, every leader needs to have exposure to the topic of business ethics. Leaders must be fully cognizant of behaviors that develop a strong ethical culture and those that erode that culture. They need also to understand their accountability when employees raise ethical issues and/or report unethical behavior.

Gaining Employee Buy-in

Ethical cultures are built when employees, like leaders, have exposure to training that helps them differentiate between ethical and unethical behavior. Depending upon the size of your company this can be accomplished either through instructor-led or on-line learning modules. Regardless of the methodology, employees need to be exposed to different scenarios and situation
s that they may face within their own work. Employees need an opportunity to learn in a non-threatening environment what is appropriate and what is inappropriate. Your company’s Code of Business Conduct Policy is an important topic that must be addressed not only in all employee development programs but in your company’s orientation program for new employees.

However, learning in and of itself is insufficient. Building an ethical culture requires continuous reinforcement through a well thought out and on-going communication strategy and plan. Ethics needs to be woven into company newsletters, be reinforced through visual cues such as posters, and integrated into team discussions if a company is going to make significant head-way towards building a strong ethical culture.

Facilitate Reporting

Companies need to provide their employees with a means of reporting behaviors, decisions or actions they perceive are unethical and contrary to their company’s Code of Business Conduct Policy. This is best facilitated by providing access through a third party provider although many smaller companies encourage such reporting to their legal department or external legal counsel. That said, it is only through both educational and communication programs that employees understand their obligation to report unethical behavior and to realize that their company will fully support their actions provided, of course, that the reporting of unethical behavior is not maliciously motivated.

Model the Way

Finally, human resource professionals must model the way. For new employees, human resource employees are like a beacon signaling the strength of a company’s ethical culture. And, whether we realize it or not, the manner in which we conduct employment searches and implement recruitment practices sets the tone. Employees tend to assess the strength of a company’s ethical culture based upon their own personal experience and the experience of those with whom they have a close work relationship. They are sensitive to preferential treatment whether in regards to recruitment, compensation, performance management, or succession management and promotions. Human resource professionals must demonstrate through their actions an unerring commitment to ethical business conduct.

Since the Enron fiasco it’s hard to pick up a daily paper without seeing some reference to or allegation of unethical business practices. And, based upon these articles it would be easy for us to assume that unethical behavior is limited to those at the very top of organizations. This is simply not the case. While building an ethical culture depends upon the full commitment of senior executives to set the standard of acceptable behavior, each and every employee directly influences the strength of your company’s ethical culture through their day-to-day actions. Cleary, code of business conduct policies are insufficient in and of themselves to shape ethical behavior. Human resource professionals must help their companies move beyond compliance with the law and, they can do so by ensuring each and every employee develops the knowledge and skills necessary to build strong ethical cultures.

The Nursing Code of Ethics – What Should you Expect?

Grant Eckert asked:

Perhaps history’s most famous nurse, Florence Nightingale, gave her name to the earliest version of today’s Code of Ethics back in 1893, when a “Nightingale Pledge” was established. In 1926, The American Journal of Nursing published a provisional code, although it wasn’t formally accepted by the American Nursing Association until over 30 years later, in 1960.

Since then, the Code of Ethics has been revised and amended several times, although the underlying principles have remained the same. Nurses are still expected to perform their duties with integrity, and do the best job they can. As most people know, their job is difficult to begin with. A nurse is not only a caregiver; he or she is expected to have a wide range of other assets too, such as tact, patience and the ability to communicate.

If you are a nurse, you may not be tested on the Code and you won’t be expected to commit it to memory, but you will need to be familiar with its basic concepts. You may be required to attend seminars on the principles of the Code and perhaps review actual cases, particularly ones in which a difficult or ethical decision was reached.

Due to the fact that the Code also changes, and is amended to from time to time, nurses need to keep up with any updates as well. Arguably, the duties of a nurse have become even more challenging over recent years, due to such things as cost-conscious hospitals, a shortage of nurses in some areas and more complex medical treatments.

Most of us know what ethics are, as we make ethical decisions in our everyday lives. Ethics is actually a branch of philosophy – the word ethics comes from the Greek word ethos which means habitual usage, custom, conduct and character. Put another way, ethics are the guidelines which guide an individual or group in their everyday behavior.

Nurses perhaps know this more than anyone. Each day, nurses are faced with making life and death decisions, sometimes with no more than a few seconds to decide. Although nurses have the necessary authority and skills required to make independent decisions about a particular patient or situation, they are still responsible to the profession in general.

The first three provisions of the Code are perhaps the most important. They cover such basics as the nurse’s commitment to the patient, respect for human dignity and ensuring the privacy of every patient. Nurses can put these principles into practice every day by doing things such as explaining procedures fully, ensuring privacy and ensuring they have a patient’s full consent.

The Code of Ethics is also closely linked with patients’ rights and a section addresses this often touchy subject. A comprehensive bill of rights is a surprisingly recent concept. A Patients Bill of Rights was not enacted until 1973 by the American Hospital Association and was revised in 1992. By law, a patient must be informed of their rights upon being admitted to a hospital.

The Code of Ethics often conflicts with patients’ rights, for example, a patient may refuse treatment or discharge themselves against the better judgment of the nurse. In this case, a nurse must respect the wishes of the patient even though it may go against some of the principles of the Code of Ethics. The Code states that a nurse may never act to deliberately end a person’s life, although they should attempt to alleviate a patient’s suffering even if this causes death

Frequently, a person may have a set of religious or cultural beliefs which leads them to make decisions about their health that many of us would consider unhealthy or dangerous. The Code also addresses the question of funding for medical research and states that a nurse can choose not to participate in such research if they consider it to be unethical.

To some degree, the Code of Ethics also means that nurses must take responsibility not only for their own actions, but for the actions of other nurses too; the Code states that a nurse must take action if he or she observes others acting in an, “incompetent, unethical, illegal or impaired” manner. A nurse is also expected and encouraged to report such behavior, which is not always an easy thing to do.

Many hospitals actually have ethics committees or even an ethicist on the staff. He or she may be called upon in cases where a life or death decision has to be made, a decision that most of us would care to make. Not surprisingly, often the question of ethics arises in those situations in which it is being considered to cease life support and allow a terminally ill patient to die.

Ethics in the Workplace

We’ve all heard these rules to live by: Don’t hurt, don’t steal, don’t lie, and the more famous “Do unto others as you would have done to you.” In our personal lives most people try to follow these rules. Ethics are often thought of by many as something that is related to the personal side of life and not to the business side. In some businesses, having ethics may actually be frowned upon. This is usually due to the fact that business is about doing what’s best for the bottom line and not always about doing the right thing.

It is commonly understood that there are ethics and then there are workplace ethics. Often we don’t stop to realize that there is no difference between personal ethics and ethics in the workplace; ethics are the same whether at work or in personal life.

After all, ethics are about making choices that may not always feel good or seem like they benefit you. Ethical choices are the “right” choices to make and are examples of rules to live by.

Practical Impact

Executives typically want the answers to two key questions about ethics in their offices: “How do workplace ethics apply to practical goals of my organization and the work of my employees?” and “Is there reliable data to support these assertions?” The Ethics Resource Center (www.ethics.org), a nonprofit organization, assists leaders to impact their organizations by identifying ethical risks and establishing systems to emphasize higher standards for business conduct.

The Ethics Resource Center annually conducts a National Business Ethics Survey (NBES) – a rigorous telephone survey of 1,500 U.S. employees. The NBES findings are encouraging for organizations that have an emphasis on positive workplace ethics. For example, employees have high expectations for ethics within their organizations. Nine in ten respondents say that they “expect their organizations to do what is right, not just what is profitable.”

This suggests that most employees are not cynical about ethics at work, encouraging news when considering the implementation or development of ethics initiatives as the long term success of any program rely on the active support of employees.

Formal ethics programs and informal ethics practices were shown to affect certain key outcomes. Employees who work in companies with active ethics programs who observe leaders modeling ethical behavior, and also observe the application of values such as honesty, respect and trust applied frequently at work, report more positive experiences that include the following:

·         Less pressure on employees to compromise ethics standards

·         Less observed misconduct at work

·         Greater willingness to report misconduct

·         Greater satisfaction with their organization’s response to misconduct they report

·         Greater overall satisfaction with their organizations

·         Greater likelihood of “feeling valued” by their organizations

Findings of Concern

The NBES uncovered a substantial gap between senior and middle managers and lower-level employees. A consistent finding with management was the perception that their organizations have a positive ethical environment. This conflicts with the perception of lower-level employees however. This suggests that executives may underestimate the importance of specific ethics issues and concerns facing employees.

This disconnect may also position executives to fail to address these issues adequately within their organization’s ethics programs. Therefore it is important for executives to include input from employees at lower levels in the development of ethics programs and to continue to seek out their input and feedback on a regular basis.

In addition to the communications gap between employees and executives, one in three employees believe that their coworkers will perceive them as “snitches” if they report misconduct. This is roughly the same proportion of employees who believe that management will see them as “troublemakers” for reporting ethical concerns. A key element to take away from this discovery is the need to address and eliminate retaliation systemically, at the management and peer levels throughout the organization.

Questions Answered

Let’s go back to our two key questions: “How do workplace ethics apply to practical goals of my organization and the work of my employees?” and “Is there reliable data to support these assertions?” There are a variety of practical reasons for executives to focus on workplace ethics and reliable data that supports these efforts. The NBES findings consistently link ethics programs to more positive organizations outcomes and increased employee satisfaction.

It would be naïve to suggest that an emphasis on ethics will improve the work environment and solve the company’s problems overnight. In many cases a well developed and organized effort to target key ethical issues sends an important message. It tells employees that your organization is moving in a positive direction, one that is positive for them as individuals.

Establishing an Ethics Program

Establishing an ethics program is not an exact science. As with any organizational program, it will involve the input and cooperation of many people. The effectiveness of any organization’s approach will depend on characteristics that are unique to its culture, the leadership styles, proper planning, and so on. Since some people may be uncomfortable talking about the issues of ethics it can be helpful if management first asks, considers, and then responds to the following questions:

·         Why might good people in this organization do unethical things?

·         What are our organization’s values?

·         Have we adequately articulated these values internally and externally?

·         Does our organization have written ethics policies, procedures, or structures?

·         To whom is our organization accountable?

·         What do we mean by “success”?

·         Does the leadership of our organization support the idea of an ethical workplace?

With the feedback obtained by discussing the questions above, management will have a better idea of the perceptions their employees have on how the company is performing ethically.

In the end, it’s all about beginning with our personal and collective understanding of ethics. The second step is awareness of, and solutions to, questions concerning ethics as applied to the workplace. Many universities are now heavily applying the teaching of ethics to their curricula. Graduates of these programs take this information into the workforce with the understanding that solid, positive ethics need to be applied there as well as in the private sector.

In a perfect world, corporations will be better able to avoid embarrassing scandals that appear and reappear in both national and world-wide news scandals. Small businesses will be able to keep and attract more clients and customers. Negotiations between businesses could be accomplished with increased consideration for the other company. This is something for which we can all strive.

Volunteer for Hope for the Future Hiv Clinic in Ghana

Basecamp International Centers asked:

Yingor Development Foundation is a non-profit organizaton that strives to help with community development, HIV education and civic education projects. Through a series of programs in which they visit different communities, they work hard to educate as many people as possible in these areas. Once the clinic is built, it will be available to the citizens of the Keta Peninsula. Looking into the future, our goal is to acquire the clinic with equipment to perform rapid HIV/AIDS tests, condoms, information pamphlets and to make periodic trips to the surrounding isolated communities. We believe this clinic will have a very large impact on the Volta Region, and consequently the whole country. Many people do not learn health education in schools, or if they do it is not until they are much older. Our targeting age is youth (13-20) because we believe that giving them sex education and disease prevention information before they start having sex is critical if HIV/AIDS will be prevented. Hope For The Future is designed to be a clinic for HIV/AIDS testing and counseling. Our aim is to not only provide free testing services, but hold educational classes as well. It is our belief at Yingor that the younger generation of Ghanaians need to be better equipped to fight this awful disease, and we plan to help them by educating the youth and encouraging them to get tested. The help we will require from volunteers initially, is to build the clinic itself. Once the clinic is built, we will rely upon continuing volunteers, both Ghanaian and foreign, and the members of Yingor Development to help keep the clinic running. 

 Your main job as a volunteer will be to build part of the Hope 4 Future clinic. Tasks may include: assisting with the clearing of the land, pouring the foundation, producing bricks (It really depends at what point the project is at). You may also have an opportunity to do small health promotion projects on the side. We will have knowledgeable individuals supervising and directing the building. All that is required of you is you willingness to work, positive attitude, patience and a reliable work ethic. Please note that although this placement is a Health and Medical Placement, volunteers will be taking part mostly in the actual building of the clinic.   All that is required of the participants is their willingness to work, patience and a reliable work ethic. What specific skills are they looking for at this placement? Health & Hygiene Training HIV/AIDS Awareness Training Public Health General Labour Sexual & Reproductive Health Training 

 Basecamp International Centers welcomes all the interested volunteers from around the world to volunteer and make a difference. If you are interested in this placement then please contact us for the details: Email: info@basecampcenters.com Website: www.basecampcenters.com Mailing Address 298 Bagot Street, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, K7K 3B4 Phone: 613.541.7862 Toll Free : 866.646.4693 Fax: 613.541.1604

Ethical Leadership – A Must For Customer Loyalty

Businesses still do not understand that customer loyalty begins with executive leadership who demonstrates consistent ethics and values found within the organization’s strategic business action plan. When the executive leadership behaves badly, these actions are shared inside and outside of the organization.

For example, Indiana is an at will employer. Businesses can terminate employees without any notification. Yet most of these same firms expect 2 weeks notice when employees leave. Now does this attitude or belief demonstrate high ethics and values; or is there a thread of hypocrisy running through these organizations?

With the tightening of the global market place (and yes it is global even if you believe all your business is local), many organizations are cutting back on employees from downsizing to outright terminations. Usually what this means for mid-size to larger organizations is the slashing of the Education and Training Departments’ budgets as well as personnel.

Why is this area usually is the first to go is because of these two continued beliefs within the American business culture:

  • Education is not really valued.
  • The inherent value of human capital is not really understood by many American companies
  • In business, there exists what I have labeled the Osmosis Learning Belief. Stand next to someone and you instantly become a great leader or a super star goal achiever. Employees need to be developed where they demonstrate ethical leadership. They require assistance in developing their talents and further strengthening them so that the organization becomes even more competitive.

    American companies and organizations with the exception of a few such as Southwest Airlines do not value human capital. Many employees especially below the executive level are viewed as “throw aways” for the belief is that the firm can always find someone cheaper and better. For some enlightened companies such as Toyota, they have realized the tremendous cost of downsizing their employees because of the investment that has already been made.

    Each terminated employee represents at bare minimum 1.5 years annual tangible salary and benefits loss to the bottom line ranging from $30,000 to $200,000 plus. The intangible losses greatly increase that red ink and include:

    • Relationships those employees have established with external customers and other internal employees
    • Understanding of the ins and outs of the business
    • Additional growth in intellectual property (learning, training and development) by those same employees
    • Established loyalty and productivity

    TAKE ACTION ETHICAL COACHING TIP: Evaluate your organization from an executive leadership perspective. Are you leading forward, proactively during these difficult times or are you leading backward, reactively? Customer loyalty is the result of ethical leadership beliefs and actions. So before you terminate that next employee, take the 30,000 foot view and determine the real losses to your business.

    Want to develop ethical leadership? Take this free leadership skills assessment.

    P.S. Do you know what your talents are? Learn more about your ethical leadership talents to help you maximize education based marketing.

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    Business Ethics and Values Do Not Have Expiration Dates

    Walk through the aisles of any grocery story or even convenience store, pick up any product and you will see an expiration date. These dates are for your consumer safety as well as to receive the most benefit from the nutrients within the food product.

    Yet, recently, I have come to observe that many individuals in business who profess to be true professionals as well as those in government are demonstrating business ethics or values with expiration dates. Initially statements specific to their behaviors are made without a date. Then realizing that change is more difficult than originally expected or will take additional effort a date is added. If the added date is not made, a new date pops up.

    The work ethics associated with these behaviors become a moving object. As new dates are added, the impact of the quality decreases to those who are on the receiving end of these expiration dated values.

    For example, how many times have we heard that during the tenure of this leadership or management team it will be the most ethical in the organization’s history? Then as time moves forward, we hear, not from leadership, but outside sources about unethical behaviors. Then leadership makes excuses and sets a new expiration date.

    Why business ethics or values now have expiration dates may be connected to the relativism that has affected the U.S. during the last several decades. Relativism has many definitions, but essentially means that everything is truth and is relative to the individual. In other words, values become moving targets or simply are now produced with expiration dates.

    The recent meltdown of Wall street, the bailout of Wall Street, the ponzi schemes, the individuals who knowingly violate the law and believe that they are above it are all examples of values with expiration dates. Even before these incredible examples, many of us heard this expression, “Do as I say, not as I do.” This is a values statement with an expiration date.

    So how do business leaders and true professionals avoid values with expiration dates? First, make sure that you have a values statement that has been clearly articulated within your organization. Everyone from the bottom up to the top down understands the specific acceptable behaviors and equally unacceptable behaviors.

    Next, enforce the values statement. Recent surveys of college graduates and high school students show an increase in cheating and that cheating is acceptable. These surveys also reveal that these cheating young people believe that they have high ethics.

    The old expression everyone does it is another justification of having a values statement with expiration dates. In other words it’s okay to cheat to get the best grade in school and when I leave school, I will no longer cheat. If you believe that, I have a bridge I would like to sell you.

    Having a values statement may cost you some business in the short term. However, in the long term you will gain far more than any potential short term loses.

    Unlock more business results by standing out in your marketplace. Sign up to receive notification of Leanne’s forthcoming sales coaching book to help you become that Red Jacket in the Sea of Gray Suits.

    If you would like to how leadership development and business ethics can help you increase your business results, you may wish to visit http://www.processspecialist.com/fail-safe-leadership-book.htm

    You probably do not want to be uncomfortable. Who does? Yet, you want to improve business results and to stop all those sleepless nights right before sales figures are due. Now is the time to give Leanne a call at 219.759.5601 to schedule a free business coaching training or sales coaching strategy session. Experience how being uncomfortable can help you increase business results.

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    Exercising Moral Integrity in Modern World

    Recent Scandals In the wake of the Blagojevich scandal, others come to mind. The foibles of Former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer, former Florida Congr ssman Mark Foley and retiring Idaho Senator Larry Craig, to name a few. In the corporate area, Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme, caps off years of scandalous reports about Enron, Tyco International, and World Com. The moral faults of corporate leade s con inue to cost investors billions. Is there a modern day standard bearer to guide the common man?

    Ancient Warrior Code
    According to Shannon French, author, The Code of the Warrior: Exploring Warrior Values Past and Present, the essential element of a warrior’s code is to set definite limits on what warriors can and can not do. In this sense, warriors value honor, integrity, justice and a sense of what is right and wrong. To the ancient warrior, the discernment between right and wrong is like night and day. Clear, obvious, unquestionable. To them, there are no gray areas, no “that depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is “(Bill Clinton). To the warrior, if something is not right, he will not do it.

    Ancient Warriors versus Corporate Warriors
    In ancient times, one looked to the warrior for guidance to the light; to serve as defenders of moral integrity. Today, though, the warrior, or rather corporate warrior is perceived as mere profiteers. Neocons, using natural disasters, social unrest, changes in regimes and wars- have been used ‘as a natural ally’ of corporate interests. Naomi Klein, in her book, the Shock Doctrine, indicates that heads of,companies, representatives of municipalities stood in the rubble of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and thanked God for the solution to the problem of housing in New Orleans. Similarly, PW Singer, in his book, Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry writes that private corporations working for profit have the ability to sway the course of national and international conflict.

    Warriors of Light
    Paulo Coelho, in his book, Manual of the Warrior of Light made this observation: “Sometimes the warrior feels as if he were living two lives at once. In one o” them he is obliged to do all the things he does not want to do and fight for ideas in which he does not believe…Then all that is needed is a little daring, and his two lives become one.” p 181. Ancient warriors carried out actions that brought them closer to their higher ideal. Some political and corporate warriors, on the other hand have tended to capitalize on the weak. How might we attain warrior of light status?

    Friends and Allies
    First, we need to de-bunk the myth that warriors are ‘lone wolves.’ Throughout pop western culture, American icons: John Wayne, Rambo, Clint Eastwood, have presented the ideal warriors. These warriors exercise independence of mind, thought and action. Often, they are presented as friendless. A warrior of light, however, appears to revel in the company of friends, followers and allies. Twyan Towery, in his book The Wisdom of Wolves, argues that the ‘strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the pack is the wolf.’ Coelho quotes John Donne and continues in his own words. “No man is an island. He can not fight alone; whatever his plan, he depends on other people. .. p 103.

    When selecting alternative courses of action, the warrior, relies upon the wisdom of his closest friends. Prior to committing a whimsical act, how many have been spared public humiliation because a colleague quickly intervened?

    Angels
    Second, warriors of light recognize that they are fallible and need divine help. Theologians say there roughly 300 references to angels in the Bible. Coelho presents warriors of light as men who steadfastly rely upon angels, God and Jesus Christ.

    “A warrior knows that an angel and a devil are both competing for his sword”hand. The devil says: ‘You will weaken. You will not know exactly when. You are afraid. ‘ the angel says: ‘You will weaken. You will not know exactly when. You are afraid.’ The warrior is surprised. Both angel and devil have said the same thing. Then the devil goes on: ‘Let me help you.’ And the angel says: ‘I will help you.’ At that moment, the warrior understands the difference. The words may be the same, but these two allies are completely different. And he chooses the angel’s hand.” p 123. How does the warrior of light know that the purpose for which he is fighting is just and pure? According to Coelho, ‘The warrior of light meditates. He sits in a quiet place in his tent and surrenders himself to the divine light…. A warrior of light knows that in the silence of his heart he will hear an order that will guide him.” p 55.

    Open Heart
    One would readily suspect that warriors, those who must exact judgment on a daily basis, are driven by hatred and unfettered greed. Instead, according to Coelho, “The warrior of light always keeps his heart free of any feelings of hatred. .. He accepts that his opponents are there to test his valor, his persistence, his ability t” make decisions. They force him to fight for his dreams. It is the experience of battle that strengthens the warrior of light.” p. 87 As keepers of the light, warriors are born with a spark of light. As each day passes, warriors evolve. Their spark flickers into a small and then larger flame through prayer, meditation and connection to the One. We turn to Coelho again for clarification, “Accumulating love brings luck, accumulating hatred brings calamity. Anyone who fails to recognize problems leaves the door open for tragedies to rush in.” p 53.

    Conclusion
    When the warrior reaches temporary defeat, he is comforted by this, “The warrior of light unwittingly takes a false step and plunges into the abyss. Ghosts frighten him and solitude torments him. His aim had been to fight the Good Fight, and he never imagined that this would happen to him, but it did. Shrouded in darkness, he makes contact with his master. ‘Master, I have fallen into the abyss,’ he says. ‘T”e waters are deep and dark.’ ‘Remember one thing, ‘ “eplies his master. ‘You do not drown simply by plunging in to the water, you only drown if you stay beneath the surface.’ And the warrior uses all his strength to escape from his predicament.” p 129. So too, there is hope for the likes of political and corporate warriors, Blagojevich and Madoff. Get up and aim to respect the true code of the warrior; value honor, integrity, justice and a sense of what is right and wrong.

    Dr. Mead, PhD, MBA, MA http://www.ishareknowledge.com is a consultant specializing in human behavior, school and social psychology. She can be contacted at: tonya@ishareknowledge.com

    Accounting Ethics Courses: Optional or Necessary

    Justin Shomper asked:

    Ethics and high morality are in high demand today especially among corporate America, and specifically within the accounting profession. After the ethical failures of Enron and WorldCom, a public outcry for future preventative measures resonated throughout the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and the accounting community at large. Consequently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the overseeing government board of the AICPA, released the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, otherwise known as SOX. The act requires a higher performance standard for accounting firms and the audits they perform to prevent future accounting scandals. SOX, which has been extremely beneficial, doesn’t change the ethical standards of an individual but instead takes away most of the opportunity to commit a scandalous act. The basic character of the fraudulent individual remains corrupt, even with legislation in place. The question is then posed: Can ethics be taught, and if so, what accounting or business ethics courses are available? The answer is not ironclad as the word ethics describes the morality of an individual, which is hard to measure. There are also very limited courses offered on ethics, however ethical education should be a required course in college and a prerequisite to new employment for all accounting firms.

    Most higher education institutions, and some high school level institutions, are implementing brief ethical materials into their curriculum, but very few offer courses on the subject. The basic argument against incorporating a required accounting ethics course is that there isn’t any proof that individuals who take a course would be any more ethical than they already are. If this is truly the singular obstruction to imposing an accounting course in ethics, than why aren’t other courses in the curriculum subject to examination from proof. Many audits, specifically those at Enron and WorldCom, have failed because of poor functional accounting knowledge, not just ethical queries. Most other curricular accounting courses would fail a proof assessment required by those who oppose an accounting ethics course. It is necessary to have an accounting ethics course to properly prepare students for any future ethical temptation they may experience within the field. Without experience in fraud recognition or ethical righteousness, many new timid accountants are susceptible to fraud or ethical dilemmas. A recommendation would be to add not just one course on ethics into a curriculum, but possibly three or four. A course in ethical theory could tie into another ethics course involved in spotting frauds and ethical dilemmas while a third course could focus on answering these ethical uncertainties.

    The need for an accounting ethics course is also very apparent in how much destructive attention financial catastrophes attract to the profession. The recent big company accounting scandals all brought negative publicity to the accounting field. The burden of the economic failures in today’s society must be placed somewhere, and many people look at accountants as an outlet to place that burden. All of these events from big companies provide a negative perception of the accounting field, and that’s not to mention the small business owners who have encountered other accounting mistakes or unethical occurrences. This is not to say that legitimate and honest mistakes will not be made by new students, but the ability to recognize the mistakes and evaluate ethical problems can be reduced with the addition of an ethics course. The more education and experience that new accountants have and acquire the fewer mistakes that will occur, and ultimately the less negative publicity the profession will receive. It is extremely important that in the accounting profession, clients feel secure and trusting of those who they employ.

    Another need for an ethics course comes from a common stereotype of accountants. The stereotype is that accountants are known to simply follow the rules, or do just enough to meet the basic criteria. To correct ethical dilemmas, it is required to go above and beyond the norm to investigate and solve uncertainties. A class in the area of ethics could help prepare and motivate new accountants to become more proactive when evaluating a possible unethical or fraudulent scenario. Clients will feel a greater sense of security with a proactive accountant, and ultimately bring more profit to the profession.

    Society can not function without ethical people. The business world and accounting profession can not function without ethical people. It is for this reason that an accounting ethics course or courses are imperative. The elimination of stereotypes, fewer mistakes, and a heightened sense of awareness is exactly what could be acquired from an accounting ethics course. It is important to add ethics courses immediately, and for employers to require that their new hire’s be educated in ethics knowledge. If an employee is not educated and courses are not offered, employers should take measures to offer a mandatory ethics course within their organization.

    Meet Harriet Beecher Stowe

    Mary McCauley asked:

    My upbringing was in a strict Protestant family. With a father like Lyman Beecher, who was considered one of the leading religious orators of the times, I had no recourse but to be bestowed the heritage of religious ethics. Our entire family was imbued with holy rights and unholy wrongs. Father was most adamant about his views. He was strongly pro Calvinism, and believed firmly in equality of all men.

    Another ethic I embraced at an early age was work. No one ever put in longer hours helping around the house, studying,

    writing and teaching than I. My sister Catherine, relied on me to assist her at the school for girls which she founded.

    When I married Professor Calvin Stowe, the widower of one of my dearest friends, I had already seen several of my short stories published in magazines. For me, writing was a compulsion. It was not unusual for a friend or relative to receive 10 or 20 page letters from me. I poured out my feelings with intensity.

    My brother, Henry Ward, who as my father also became a renowned minister, was bombarded with my epistles of soul rendering prose. Within me screamed the Muse who

    could not be stilled. I wrote until my hand ached, my mind wearied, and my thoughts finally stilled by pure exhaustion.

    I was deeply disturbed by the slavery issue. My father convinced me at an early age that all men are created equal. This conviction led to his ultimate ouster from the Church he loved so dearly. The prevailing attitude in many of the Protestant churches was that there were classes of society and each should act accordingly.

    This attitude was unthinkable to me. In my later years I realized that people are classed by their own attitudes, perhaps brought on by the prevailing mode of society, but no one should ever be enslaved by another. Race, creed, economics, or academic quality should not be used to denigrate any of God’s creation. I firmly believed that education was the primary means of ending this injustice.

    My joy in life was always my family. My children were my first priority, and the loss of two sons devastated me. Each time I buried myself in my work and wrote with unceasing vigor. In my writing I could lose myself and ease the pain.

    Many of the stories I wrote had been serialized in magazines before they were published in books. I had become known as a writer of essays and articles prior to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which by the way I wrote and sent chapters weekly to the National Era magazine. I had

    planned to complete the story in six months, but it grew and grew and was finished in a year. I never expected it to make such an impact. That it was ultimately printed in forty languages overwhelms me. I frequently stated that I could not control the story, it wrote itself. In my heart I believed it was written by God, using me as an instrument.

    As a published author, I was afforded the opportunity to travel to England and the Continent. I made several sojourns there and delighted in the hospitality. I had never been in robust health, and the sea voyage always rallied me. Perhaps it was the sea air, or perhaps it was the time away from the continual demands of my life.

    My son Charles claimed that President Lincoln looked down at me with his coal nugget eyes and said, “so this is the lady who started the great war!”. I don’t recall the incident,but Charles was with me the day I met Mr. Lincoln. If it was said, it is a terrible

    accusation to put on anyone. True, my book, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, did stir up the hornet’s nest, but the seeds of unrest were planted and a divided nation had been the

    harvest before it had been written.

    I never felt that I had a hand in bring about the Civil War. The only contribution I might have made was in my letters to some of the noted women of England, enlisting their help to being about Britain’s support of the government of President Lincoln. I was not anti

    the South. I thought the people were kind and genteel and that the practice of slavery occurred only because it had been part of their heritage.

    To be politically minded was never my first cause. My religious values were paramount in all of my novels. It was my belief that God is all love, and thus, all are loved by God. That we should treat each other with humanity, justice, and love was my foremost philosophy.

    On the occasion of my seventy first birthday in 1882, at a party in my honor, I reticently gave a speech where I stated my feelings about life with the comment, “Let us never doubt. Everything that ought to happen is going to happen”. And so it did in my life, so it does in yours.

    If I were to live in these times, I would entreat you to be mindful of the good in your

    neighbor so that your neighbor will find the good in you.

    Volunteer at Mecd Organisation in Nicaragua

    Basecamp International Centers asked:

    The MECD organization is the National board of directors in charge of the entire country education system, they work toward a free education in urbans semi-urbans and rural zones as well, throughout the whole country. In the rural areas they only can afford to have elementary schools, but in larger communities or towns they have at least one high school. Their objective is to form productive, ethic and competitive citizens stressing the importance of hard work, integrity, personal responsability, creating a democratic education system that can reach all children and youth in the Nation. They work along with the Sports board of directors to drive young people toward sport, creating new courts and public amenity. Volunteers must be of age 18 or above with minimum education of high school. This placement doesnot need any volunteer in the month of Jan,Jul and Dec.

    Volunteers can assist by doing following tasks:-

    They will work directly with the schools, and the staff, this depending on what the volunteer choice. 1- English teachers 2- Math teachers 3- geography teachers 4- socials cience teachers 5- Profecional english teachers- this is very important for the Nicaraguan teachers. 6- web design teacher 7- handycraft teachers

    Volunteers with the following special skills are preferred for the placement:-

    Teacher – English Teacher – Math Teacher – Science Teacher – Geography Teacher – Environmental Science Teacher – Physical Education TEFL Certificaiton / Training Handicraft Design Business Management Computers – Web Design Computers – General Programming Teacher – Social Science Teacher – Commerce, Finance, Business

    Yes, Basecamp International welcomes all the interested non local participants to volunteer and make a difference. If you are interested in this placement then for the details youcan

     Email: info@basecampcenters.com Website: www.basecampcenters.com Mailing Address 298 Bagot Street, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, K7K 3B4 Phone: 613.541.7862 Toll Free : 866.646.4693 Fax: 613.541.1604

    Ethics is not a Place

    Guy Kingston asked:

    It seems that Ethics is a growth industry. There are even advertisements in the newspapers for “professional ethicists”.

    Does this mean that we are getting more ethical? Are we at the place of which Plato dreamed, where “kings are philosophers and philosophers are kings”.

    Alas, the opposite seems to be true. The fact that so-called “experts” have to be employed to say what is ethical is just one sign that many people are increasingly incapable of telling right from wrong for themselves.

    Indeed, the “professional ethicists” are not really concerned with moral right and wrong. Rather they are a junior branch of the legal profession. Many sectors, especially those related to medicine and human services, now have “codes of ethics” or “codes of conduct”. A breach of these codes may have legal consequences. The purpose of the “professional ethicist” is to give a degree of protection from those legal consequences. Surely this is the very opposite of ethics.

    The last century has seen an enormous expansion in the scope of the law in most jurisdictions. Activities which were previously left up to individual conscience are now regulated by the state.

    This is particularly true of business.

    Yet it has not made business more honest. To rely on force rather than conscience to get people to do what is right is to undermine conscience. When people are forced, rather than persuaded, they will do what they are forced to do and no more. They will feel no sense of obligation.

    More and more, the business world is filled with people who are governed by the principle of “what can we get away with”, rather than by what is right.

    It was not always so. We must not be so naive as to imagine that there was ever a Golden Age when everyone was always honest – but things certainly used to be better than they are today.

    Previous generations were less likely to see a conflict between doing what was morally right and doing what was in their own best interests.

    Partly this was due to the greater emphasis that was placed on Reputation in those days. Business communities tended to be smaller, either because they were geographically isolated or because there might be a small number of specialists in very close correspondence. If a man did anything dishonest, it would soon be known by everyone and his chances of remaining in business would be negligible. Today, the global market is so big that it is unlikely that everyone will hear if someone has a bad reputation.

    Mainly, however, it was because business communities usually had shared religious values.

    Max Weber described the “Protestant Work Ethic”. The same principle which encouraged people to work hard to succeed in business – a desire to please God – also imposed strict honesty on those business dealings. Protestant devotional works sometimes recommend standards that seem laughable today – like not taking advantage of information that was unknown to the other party in a deal and not charging market price where the profit is excessive. Yet the people who read those works often became very wealthy, not least because they had a reputation for fair dealing.

    In the same way, Jewish bankers were able to do business, even if the face of virulent Anti-Semitism, because they built a reputation for scrupulous honesty. This only irritated the Anti-Semites even more.

    Even today, an entrepreneur is better off if he deals with someone who is concerned about his reputation for honesty – and who possibly believes that there is an Accounting beyond the balance sheets of this life – than relying on any number of laws and regulations and artificial codes for protection.

    Small Business Internet Marketing Company

    Rajeev Rajagopal asked:

    In today’s marketing world, the Internet is the perfect marketing and communication tool to ensure success for your small business. With the support of a mall business Internet marketing company, you can advertise your company’s name, product or service on the Internet. An attractive and fast website improves your search engine placement. This is important since high search engine ranking is the key to any online business success.

    Internet marketing companies in the United States provide high quality Internet marketing solutions such as search engine optimization, interactive marketing, affiliate marketing, blog marketing, pay per click marketing and article marketing. Moreover, they offer SEO friendly web design service, web maintenance and web application solutions to commercial as well as non-commercial clients to make their sites more accessible to search engines. Internet marketing experts give new or existing small businesses great opportunities to achieve online marketing objectives. Thereby they help small businesses to

    · Convert a large number of prospects to paying customers

    · Promote the small business locally as well as internationally

    · Make the business much more profitable

    · Generate more business leads

    · Create a positive image for the business and increase sales

    To be ranked high on the search engines, SEO experts optimize the websites well by following ethical practices such as:

    · Selecting business centric keywords

    · Doing keyword research and analysis

    · Creating unique content with targeted keywords

    · Content optimization

    · Title tag optimization, Meta tag optimization, Alt/Image tag optimization, anchor text optimization and heading tag optimization (On-page search elements)

    · Link building, directory submission and search engine submission (Off-page search engine elements)

    · HTML validation/Error free code

    The small business web design service packages offered by Internet marketing companies include:

    · Logo design

    · Graphic design

    · Flash development

    · Web page programming

    · 2D and 3D animated graphics creation

    · Cascading Style Sheet and HTML code· Scripting

    · Template design

    · Banner design

    Online marketing companies implement winning search engine marketing strategies to create an effective and affordable online presence with the most effective communication and advertising tools. Making use of ethical and innovative search engine optimization techniques, they provide web design and development, search engine optimization, analysis, submission and link building.

    In the current scenario, there are many web marketing companies in the United States with the capabilities to market small business websites in the most efficient manner.

    Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania Expects Change

    Paul Justice asked:

    Despite the current conditions that American face today, Pennsylvania is expecting change. This change is coming from the way that businesses do business with one another and how industries interact with one another. This change comes from the recent events that have been sweeping our nation at a increased rate. In order avoid economic crisis Pennsylvania officials have decided that the way people treat one another is step 1 in fighting this crisis. The main example that they have is the way the medical malpractice in Pennsylvania is being treated. Medical malpractice is an epidemic that has been sweeping the country for years aiding to many deaths and injuries alike. Despite this problem, Medical malpractice in Pennsylvania has been decreasing ever sine the freeze was first introduced. This along with PA officials coming together to get their state to practice business with higher ethical standards, acting more responsibly, and conducting business in a way so that everyone succeeds is directly affecting the rate of medical malpractice in Pennsylvania.

    What many people want to know however is what will happen after the freeze gets unfrozen. A lot of this has to do with who is going to be the next president. For the rates of medical malpractice insurance premiums is expected to be unfrozen in June 2009. Therefore the next president will have a big say in what will happen. Hopefully they will see the importance on people being able to afford general healthcare as well as having the premiums for medical malpractice Pennsylvania to be low enough for practitioners, doctors, and medical institutions alike be able to continue practicing medicine. If for some reason officials do not come up with a viable solution that will allow both parties to be happy we are back to square one. In order to make sure that this does not happen, we must place great importance on the severity of the matter. In doing this it is important to gain the much-needed awareness on the topic so that people truly realize what is going on. Pennsylvania is currently doing this, but it is not enough. We need the entire nation to come together and make it known that we really care about this issue. Medical malpractice in Pennsylvania is decreasing, but what about your state. Medical malpractice is a very serious issue that must be addressed now so that in June we have the proper plan in place.

    If you or a loved one has been directly affected by medical malpractice in Pennsylvania, contact a lawyer as soon as possible. They have the superior experience and knowledge in this sector of law that will be able to stand up for you in a court of law. In filing a medical malpractice Pennsylvania suit, you may be able to recover monies to cover your medical expenses, loss of wages, as well as for pain and suffering. An act of medical malpractice is very serious; therefore it is imperative that you do not waste anytime in contacting a lawyer.

    Ethics: the Conscience of Every Business

    John Platania asked:

    At the foundation of every business is a philosophy, a conscience if you will; businesses cannot function without these. This applies to both online and offline businesses. What drives the conscience of a business, however, is a set of rules that everyone knows and follows. These rules, or ethics, are considered obligatory and reflect not only laws pertaining to any given field and business in general, but also a sense of fair-mindedness and civility regarding proper conduct and the treatment of others—especially customers.

    The thing with ethics is that entrepreneurs, and even the patrons themselves, must stay abreast of all applicably codes of conduct, written and implied, as well as the needs and preferences of their respective societies. A customer’s freedom to make informed choices regarding the businesses with whom they deal allows everyday interactions to become mutually beneficial to everyone involved. Ignorance is bliss, the saying goes, but not in the business world. How people conduct themselves reflect this. Shoppers, for instance, are not likely to feel confident by the judgement of businesses representatives who have no idea how to answer their questions or service them properly and satisfactorily. No one benefits from this, and both the customer and the business suffers. Lying and “winging it” don’t cut it, as that shows a blatant disregard and disrespect toward others and will hurt everyone; having and dispensing correct and up-to-date knowledge on merchandise and service will guarantee success.

    As far as marketing goes, fair and equitable prices go a long way. Although quite a few entrepreneurs insist that higher prices bring greater profit, shoppers will gravitate to other markets where the merchandise they want can be obtained at a far cheaper cost. People like to save, and even though many might be desperate at times, they are drawn to low prices and bargains. Business persisting with merchandise in the higher price range eventually fail as a result. Comparing prices between competitors, not to mention doing research on what people are typically willing and able to spend on certain products, ensures that business representatives provide satisfactory service for the public. In the end, operations win favorable appraise and profits grow considerably.

    At the heart of all this is honesty. Someone lied—it isn’t a crock. Being truthful, sincere, straightforward and genuine with others, and offering quality merchandise and service is always the best way to go. This is because shoppers return where they are appreciated and welcome, where they trust those who provide what they want and need, without hassle or complaining. The public might be uninformed regarding some things, but people are not stupid and do not tolerate being treated as if they are. Deception eventually comes to light, and businesses (and shoppers) who deal in such practices are subject to legal penalties and irreparably scrupulous reputations.

    Ethical situations abound every day, which is why proper conduct can quite often be sticky. Being up on what these “rules” are is crucial for creating an atmosphere that is acceptable and pleasing. Terms like “trust,” “honesty,” “positive image” and “mutual respect” are involved for a reason; they are not only plastic words for describing an ideal world—they denote a social and economic way of life.

    For information on helping you succeed in business click on the link below for your free e-book. This book is loaded with tips for your success.

    Social Justice Through Health Care

    Pardeep Kumar Sharma asked:

    SOCIAL JUSTICE THROUGH HEALTH CARE

    We hardly come across a person who may be fully satisfied with the health care delivery system run by either the government or the private sector. This is true not only for developing but for all the developed countries as well. Every law abiding, contributing individual has some legitimate expectations from the state. Disenchantment with present dispensation of health care compels people to seek better options across the borders. Even the present flow rate of patients from developed to developing countries has assumed the proportions of Medical tourism. Medical tourism is not a one-way traffic. Poor from India are known to visit Rashid Hospital at Lahore for kidney transplants. Medical tourism will definitely bring in world class equipment and services in our corporate hospitals. These corporate tertiary care hospitals can act as excellent referral hospitals. Lack of enough clinical material, as the patients are often referred to in medical parleyences is prompting the doctors from developed world into medical adventurism. Very recently two NGO’s headed by renowned plastic surgeons of Indian origin were in India, claiming to their credit hundreds of cleft lip and palate surgeries conducted in one week. During my brief interaction when I asked them one basic question that how do you justify single step surgery by a single specialist for a clinical entity that require 3-5 set up surgeries by 10 specialists over a period of 20 years, there was no answer. On record local doctors conduct all these surgeries. These NGO’s bring in a battery of trainee resident doctors for hands on training. Dumping of questionable services and drugs continues unabated in the absence of stringent regulations. Clear-cut up to date guidelines by health authorities have yet to be issued to safe guard the health interests of this nation. Most of the drugs banned in developed countries are still being dumped in the Indian market. Commerce alone dictates the policies of multinational companies in health sector of developing countries. State and national medical councils, the watch dogs of our national health interests are controlled by elected representatives from among the doctors. Competitive populism for being elected to these high offices takes away the very sting off these regulators. In this ‘market forces’ driven health sector, apart from other factors, size of the population, economic prosperity and literacy levels dictate the out look of key players. Subjective as well as objective assessments of the health care operations leave people confused with huge piles of data and endless interpretations. At the tail end of govt. health care delivery system is the rural dispensary or the slum revamping center, and the end user an illiterate or semi literate villager or a slum dweller. Dispensary is the humane face, the welfare state can present to its people. In yesteryears the service providers were from among the same social class they used to serve. Doctor can be a friend, philosopher and guide to the locals. Unfortunately the economic and social disparity between the service providing doctors and the service user population has grown enormously. Ad-hocism in health care delivery should be done away with immediate effect. Doctors and paramedical staff appointed on yearly contract basis are not showing any interest in the national programmes. Established private health care providers also have not shown any meaningful commitment for national programmes. Middle class itself has fragmented. Now it is fashionable to assign economic values to any issue like gender, but for social responsibility and justice. In this era of fast paced growth, the unorganized, silently suffering millions can not be wished away. Once reading on biodiversity I stumbled upon a very interesting quote, “only the species with economic importance will survive”. In our active pursuit for magnetizing economy, we assigned economic values to any thing except for morals. Commercialization of education has produced a new breed of professionals who have scant regard for professional ethics. Privatization is the buzzword with governments, because it takes away government responsibility. Private sector players are eyeing many ‘viable’ health institutions. There are no takers for commercially non-viable rural institutions. Rural health institutions dispense social medicine. Very recently one of the key players from private sector health care quoted the cost of developing one bed in corporate hospital at Rs. 30-60 lacs. These corporate health services are definitely out of each of the common man. These type of hospitals are definitely required for a nation with the present rate of growth but ‘bharat’ definitely needs different kind of hospitals. There are very strong social under currents against the exploitive private healthcare, inadequate government sector health care resources and the indifferent approach of welfare state. Health for all is a very lofty but expensive proposition. There are ways and means to reduce the pressure from government institutions. Private-public partnership, health insurance, monitoring and regulation of private sector health care can all make the things bit easy. Preventive health care education can go a long way in improving the public health. Community participation in health care has produced few but wonderful examples. Complementary community participation can make up for minor but critical deficiencies in the government run health care system. Setting up of health system corporations with World Bank assistance has already improved the working of govt. sector health care institutions considerably. Community participation through NGO’s can still improve the system, but most of the meaningful NGO’s turn their back on govt. run health care institutions because of their doubts on the integrity of government officers. Government health care institution are increasingly seen not as caring hospitals but like police stations, where medico legal reports are written and postmortems conducted. Most of the government doctors’ time is spent in courts appearing as medico legal experts witnesses. Emergency, post mortem, and then the VIP duties in addition hardly leave the doctors free for any meaningful job at government hospitals. There is an urgent need to have separate curative, preventive, legal, administrate and health intelligence wings. Government hospitals attract the poorest of the poor, mostly people from the unorganized sector. Their contribution to national GDP is by no means small. With the present growth rate, upward social mobility is seen in every strata of society. Many segments of this unorganized sector can be organised so that they also enjoy the patronage of welfare state in the form of health insurance policies. Apart from direct benefit to these segments of society, the state will benefit from the ‘off loading’ of burden from government run health care system and loading it on insurance driven private sector health care institutions. Poorest of the poor will repose faith in welfare state. Sanjivini, health insurance policy with the Punjab Milkmen Cooperative Societies is already a big success. ECHS (Ex servicemen Contributory Health Scheme) is an other success story. These success stories can be replicated with countless groups like, panwallas, dhabewallas, autorikshaw drivers etc. Simply organize the unorganized sector. There is no dearth of role models from among government doctors also. Their inclusion rather than drift after dissent from the present dispensation of health care will immensely improve the system. Stability of tenure is an excellent incentive government can give to its doctors without costing anything to exchequer. Yet tenure beyond decades should be discouraged as it leads to development of ves

    ted interests of the old incumbents and denial of chance to the youngsters. Resource mismatching is a major problem in the govt. run health care system. There are dispensaries where specialists are posted and still many more civil hospitals where non-specialist are posted. These mismatching result in defective and inefficient health care. Nodal Hospitals can be created for round the clock emergency services by cannibalizing defunct and sick institutions where equipment worth crores is lying unused and salary bills are bleeding the exchequer white. Most of the medical officers retire in the same administrate rank. This undue stagnation has forced many a brilliant doctors out of service. By simply seeking options for place of posting, honestly implementing with minimum displacement on merit can also revitalize the govt. doctors’ cadres. Private sector health care delivery system is a totally market driven commercial enterprise. So called ‘market forces’ have least respect for ethical and moral value systems. Multi level marketing chains have evolved in the name of referral systems. End result is exploitation of the unsuspecting common man, who still regards his healer a holy person. This ‘incentive’ system is strengthening the hold of unqualified, unscrupulous and unregistered medical practitioners on illiterate masses. Not many qualified doctors are unscrupulous. A large section of private health care providers feel genuinely threatened by blackmailers of all sorts. Consumer protection act is a very convenient beating stick in the hands of their tormentors.

    Under the constant threat of being blackmailed, the private health care providers are becoming more defensive in attitude. More patients are being referred to tertiary care institutions for this reason only, thereby flooding the referral institutions. People have a common feeling that sickness is an invitation for exploitation at the hands of private health care providers. Even the charitable hospitals are charging as heavily as fully private hospitals. Medical profession is fully responsible and capable of self-correction. Medical councils and associations can jointly evolve a fail-safe mechanism to keep their black sheep under check even without government help, but the buck stops with the government. Welfare state is duty bound not only in providing health care delivery system but also proper health care administration and social justice through its health care delivery mechanism.

    Name : Dr. Pardeep Kumar Sharma

    Email-ID : omfspardeep@yahoo.com.

    (M) : 0988456296

    Date of Birth : 12.02.1962

    Education Qualifications : BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery)

    MDS (Master of Dental Surgery in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery)

    Educational Institutes Attended

    Govt. High School Bargari : Matriculation (1969-1977)

    Distt. Faridkot, Punjab, India

    DAV College Chandigarh : Pre-University (1973-79)

    (Punjab University)

    Barjindra College Faridkot : Pre-Medical (1980)

    Dental Wing, Medical College : BDS (1981-1986)

    Patiala

    Dental College and Hospital : MDS (2003-2006)

    Amritsar

    Professional Experience

    House Officer, Christian : 1987-1988

    Medical College & Hospital,

    Ludhiana

    Research Officer, All India : Jan. 1989 to June 1989

    Institute of Medical Science

    AIIIMS, New Delhi

    Dental Officer, Indian Armed : July 1989 to August 1994.

    Forces in the Rank of Capt.

    3

    Medical Officer (Dental) : w.e.f. Nov. 1995 till date

    in Punjab Civil Medical Service

    (PCMS)

    Research papers Published

    “Role of Programmed cell death in dental anomalies associated with cleft lip and Palate”. “Medical Hypotheses” Churchil Living Stone Publishers London-1991

    Post traumatic polatoglossal adhesion, a case report stomatologica India (1990).

    Research Project Undertakes

    “Malocclusion and associated Factors among Delhi Children” a study sponsored by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

    Areas of Interest : Environment, Health, Defence, International Affairs and Rationalism

    Brand yourself for Internet Marketing

    George Collins asked:

    The thing about branding is that you do not want to brand yourself with everything. The best thing is to brand yourself with one or possibly two things. The best thing is really one. Some people we work with are branded as a master marketer online. So you brand yourself with the pay per click technique and that is what you stick with, not to say you cannot master anything else or teach anybody anything else, but people are always going to know you for that one thing. So that is branding. Now for longevity. When you have those brandings you can always create new products, things are always changing and evolving in marketing online, things get better, things could get outdated or not as useful anymore.

    Because you have that branding you can always be updating your branding on that product or come out with new products on that type of scenario to generate income. If you are in the home based business industry, that is just another income stream. Now, in this industry when you lead people or jump from program to program, if a person did that, at least tell the people in the other program that you are in, hey I am moving on to another program, be honest with people. When you do not do that it just kills your branding and kills your business online. Pretty soon nobody is going to trust you and when you say I am going to do this, I am doing this opportunity right now nobody is going to trust you. They are going to think that you are just going to take my money, leave me there and move on to the next opportunity and do not really care about me anyway. You do not return my phone calls or emails or even do what you said you were going to do.

    The reason I joined you is because you said you were going to teach me about this business and you did not. So that looses your branding. When you brand yourself, again you can put that on your lead capture page, you can have it in your header graphics, you can have it under your picture, you can have it throughout your sales or newsletter, you can have it at the bottom of your emails. If you write a newsletter on it you can call the newsletter that type of branding. If you do conference calls you start off, I am, and then your branding title, whatever branding you have, you can start the conference calls that way. Everything you do, if you write ebooks you can continue that throughout the book and at the end of the ebook when you do the signature or your picture, you put that branding there under it.

    Now, branding does not happen overnight, it can happen quickly, but not overnight. Depending on when you get your branding and how much branding you do after that point, it depends on how many on the internet get to know you for that one thing. I absolutely think and know for a fact that branding creates business longevity. It is only from your own personal branding, because you are an expert at something, all the way to your business practice on branding yourself and how you practice business, whether you are ethical or unethical or however it might be, it creates a branding of yourself. If you are an ethical person you are branded for that. Whether you even tell people that you are ethical or people just realize it and it just becomes your branding.

    Whether you do everything you say you are going to do or follow through with everything, that becomes your branding. If you hop from program to program you become branded as a program hopper. If you send out emails twice a week you soon become branded on that email list. You send out two emails a week and you do that consistently every week, people expect it, you become branded for that. When you stop doing that people are like, are you going to send out anymore emails, that becomes your branding. These are unique things that can create business longevity for yourself. Without it you will not have a long lasting business. You will always be worried in your business where your next commission or sales is going to come from.

    To Choose Ethical SEO Analysis to Get Profits

    Dr. Anuj Gupta asked:

     

    In this particular SEO industry, there are several SEO experts can come in different sections with different principles. They can not all work by themselves and ensure each site unique. Because they believe that each site require different phenomenal work to obtain successful SERP.

    On the other side of the coin, you will find giant SEO service providers. These companies employ more middle levels of SEO peoples to maintain numerous number of SEO campaigns. Thus, it is assumable that they do not have much time to separate the different technical requirements for multiple sites individually.

    They are only the following working day format or simply say you can work templates for all sites to maintain and ranks practically do so in a way daily. In this way their sharpness level drops at the same time. So it is conceivable that they have a strong tendency to rotate into SEO factories.

    Before you for your service provider, you have more than one tip for SEO companies. They must make their recommendations for your site, what they want to deliver their glorious performances. Do not hesitate to ask further questions about your chances for success. Try to avoid technical terms and suggest them to speak in layman’s terms.

    Unfortunately, SEO analysis is neither simple nor as easy to pretend, as it sounds. Search engine algorithms are becoming increasingly complex, ever since the Internet world is well advanced. So you need an effective SEO expert, will understand your company should first do the work accordingly. You do not need a famous SEO firm has no time to do any research for your own website and is the same work as they do for others.

    SEO is an ongoing process not a single issue. They need constant care and the research work done side by side with other SEO work, so that your keywords in the highest position in all search engines, otherwise they will quickly fall down and disappear form the cutting edge, the effect of your company’s growth.

    SEO benefits received ethical analysis.

    The attitude of a growing ethical SEO expert or a company for your small business is thought to be the finest, if you like, do you prefer yourself or your keywords in terms of your competitors. What are the advantages of obtaining the services of a growing ethical SEO company? Here are some advantages to the appointment of an expert SEO analyst.

    • Specialized SEO experts have the detailed knowledge on methods to improve search engine ranking of your keywords in all search engines and able to do it quickly. It helps your site to create a superior amount of Web traffic to your site.

    • Increase the volume of authentic Web traffic is the creation also means an increase in sales of your company’s product and service portfolio. In ethical SEO you do not need PR on your web pages, it is automatically generated. They focus mostly on your keyword ranking is the excellent effect on the always excellent Web traffic.

    • SEO specialists will give you superior advice on factual information online Web promotion and off-site marketing methods. You can use them advice for finding the best ways to lift your keywords in all search engines top positions in very small period of time.

    Forget the cost estimates

    SEO is the best option for those small entrepreneurs, financial constraints to promote their business on the Internet because they can not afford to spend a lot of money for banners or advertisements. To search for the people those companies, SEO ask for a least cost for search engine marketing.

    But not only you can determine in price, you should calculate their efficiency, because a well-known SEO SEO company offers services to low spending, does not automatically mean that they are efficient enough for your site.

    Select the SEO experts have plenty of time for more than one type of research done work for your site. Search algorithms evolve from day to day and the SEO company needs to know the latest tools, methods and anticipated new ways of searching could help to increase the keyword ranking in all search engines.

    10 Reasons Why You Must Improve the Environmental Performance of Your Business

    Gareth Kane asked:

    1. You are wasting money

    Between 2006 and 2008 I carried out simple half-day environmental health checks in 26 businesses ranging from catering through printing, engineering and construction to major pharmaceutical companies. I identified an average saving in waste, raw material, energy and water costs of £175,000 per annum, per company. And those health checks barely scratched the surface.

    One of my favourite definitions of waste is ‘anything you buy that you cannot sell’ . Savings from cutting waste (whether that is wasted materials, energy or water) comes straight off your bottom line. If your profit margin is 25%, every £1 saved in this way is equivalent to £4 worth of new sales. And unlike cutting staff, cutting waste costs improves rather than detracts from your ability to deliver value to your customers.

    2. The true cost of your waste can be immense

    I despair at the number of businesses who go to great lengths to manufacture a high value product and then reverse a forklift truck into it or spill it on the floor during packaging. Most businesses know how much waste costs to dispose of, but the true cost of this type of waste is much higher as it includes:

    • Disposal costs;

    • Raw material costs;

    • Energy and other utility costs for manufacturing;

    • Labour costs both from the original manufacturing and the clean up;

    • The cost of the disruption required to fulfil orders including knock-on effects on other orders;

    • Opportunity costs of not being able to sell that product;

    • Opportunity costs from poor customer satisfaction (eg lost future orders).

    3. Your energy, water and waste costs are rising

    Energy costs doubled between June 2007 and 2008. Waste costs continue to rise as landfill tax escalates and the type of materials that can be landfilled are restricted. Indications from the government are that it will continue increasing the Landfill Tax by £8 per tonne each year up to a level of at least £48 per tonne (from £32 per tonne today). In areas such as the South East of England, water resources are becoming ever more scarce so costs are rising. Doing nothing on environment performance means going backwards rather than standing still.

    4. Your customers or clients demand it

    If you sell to the public, certain markets are going solidly green. The proportion of white goods rated A for energy efficiency sold has risen from 0 to 76% in the ten years to 2006. 70% of baby food sold in the UK is now organic.

    If you sell to other businesses, then your environmental performance becomes their environmental performance. Increasingly larger organisations are demanding information on suppliers’ performance and Local Authorities and other public sector bodies are turning to ‘green procurement’ to meet Government targets.

    5. Your compliance costs are rising

    There are literally hundreds of pieces of environmental legislation being drafted in the EU and the UK Government. Continually shifting incrementally to keep ahead of the law is an expensive hobby whereas eradicating problems completely is cheaper in the long run and keeps you miles ahead of the lawmakers.

    Regulators such as the Environment Agency are increasingly taking a risk based approach to enforcement. If you routinely store hazardous materials, or they regard your practices as poor, they’ll be knocking on your door much more often than if you have eradicated the hazards and have tip top housekeeping.

    6. You may be risking prosecution

    Every three years the Environment Agency surveys small business’ attitudes to the environment. In 2005 only 18% could name one piece of environmental legislation that affects them, even though every company must comply with several pieces of legislation, for example, waste management regulations .

    And it is not just small business who are at risk. In the last year, I have had several arguments with major household names who have misunderstood the scope of the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE). I really had to browbeat them into accepting that they were breaking the law, faced prosecution and the resulting PR fall out.

    7. You are missing out on a great PR opportunity

    With all the media attention on environmental issues, good environmental performance gives you a great opportunity to get good news stories into the media and advertising. Good solid green PR will impress the public, the pressure groups, your clients and customers and the regulators.

    8. Pressure groups may give you a nasty surprise 

    In 2007, Apple Computers had it all. From their stylish iMac and MacBook computers to the revolutionary and must-have iPod and rumours of a phone abounding, their fashionable, cutting edge image appeared unassailable. That was until Greenpeace put them bottom of an environmental league table of electronics companies and set up a parody of Apple’s website to detail their environmental infractions . Apple’s legendary CEO Steve Jobs at first dismissed the campaign, but only instigated a stronger backlash . Jobs then realised the precarious position he was in, with Apple’s hip image at serious risk. He did a swift u-turn, launching a radical programme to improve environmental performance and publicised it on the company’s home page for a month.

    If you are a high profile business (eg a high street retailer, an energy company, a major construction company, a motor manufacturer, a producer of household goods or in the primary sector – mining, oil, gas, forestry etc), then you are at direct risk from environmental and human rights pressure groups. These groups need high profile campaigns like the Apple example to make the mainstream media take notice and are always looking for a ‘tall poppy’ to target. If you are a smaller business, but you do business with a high profile client, then pressure groups will hold them responsible for your environmental sins. This is a very easy way to lose a major customer.

    9. Your staff want you to do it

    Environmental and CSR initiatives are a determining factor in employee retention and engagement rates according to the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD). In the US, a survey of over 4,000 people carried out by recruitment job site MonsterTRAK found that 80 per cent of young professionals are interested in securing a job that has a positive impact on the environment. Meanwhile, over 90 per cent claimed they would prefer to work for an environmentally friendly employer. In the UK, a survey of 5,000 job hunters showed that 43% would not work for a firm which had no ethical or environmental policies, even if they were offered £10,000 a year more than to work for a business with a sense of corporate social responsibility.

    10. Your competitors are doing it

    The 2005 NetRegs survey found that 71% of businesses had made at least one practical step to improve their environmental performance . Some sectors have seen green issues come right to the fore eg the current great green supermarket wars where Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury’s are fighting it out to get the best green image. Sir Timothy Leahy went on the record this year to say that Tesco’s plans would not be affected by the ‘credit crunch’ as he believed consumers’ values would not change . He sees this as a serious part of maintaining Tesco’s competitive advantage over its rivals.

    If your competitors have a better environmental performance than you, then compared to you they will:

    • Have lower operating costs and either a higher profit margin or a more competitive pricing structure;

    • Be more robust to future change: new legislation, green taxation, and customer demand;

    • Have better PR and marketing opportunities;

    • Have better motivated employees and will be attracting the best new recruits;

    • Have less risk of prosecution, NGO campaigns and a lighter touch from the regulators.

    Well, they’d be mad not to, wouldn’t they?

    What Are Business Ethics?

    Naz Daud asked:

    Business Ethics have only come to the fore recently. They state that there is more to business than just making a profit. The new focus is also on how the business treats the environment, reacts with the local community and works with its staff to build a responsible company that is both sustainable and adds value to the people that it interacts with.

    “Greed is good” is no longer acceptable to most consumers. The consumer is now better educated with new means at his disposal. High speed internet access and forums like Ecademy now mean that good and bad news travels almost at the speed of thought. They are now demanding more from businesses even though their own ethics at times might be questionable!

    Business ethics are now included in most business courses and the top management schools. The top graduates enter the corporate world ready to incorporate what they have learnt in the classroom.

    Businesses need to have specific programmes in place to manage their staff and workplace in a responsible manner. They must give social welfare a high priority if they are to maintain their public image. They have to be seen to be recycling their waste and disposing of old equipment in an environmentally friendly way.

    Businesses now have to be wary of using sweat shop labour in the third world especially if they treat them badly. Everybody realises that third world country wages are lower but they expect Western companies to treat their employees with some respect and dignity. Businesses that employ children are now frowned upon even though child labour is the norm in these countries.

    Many “watch dogs” now exist that “police” most large companies and report any blatant abuse of ethics. Most of these have only been set up in the last twenty years. Most large media organisations also have special reporters whose sole purpose is to identify where breaches are taking place and publicise them.

    The top brands in the world need to be extremely careful now. The value of a brand might have taken decades to build but can be destroyed in a matter of weeks. An example of this is when Gerald Ratner made a speech to the Institute of Directors and in humour referred to a cheap necklace that “everyone knows is crap”. These comments served to wipe out over a half a billion dollars of the companies value and played a major part in the downfall of a once thriving jewellery retailer in the United Kingdom.

    There are now funds that specialise in only investing in ethical businesses. They refuse to invest in companies that produce weapons or manufacture cigarettes as an example. These funds have taken of spectacularly and have billions of dollars to invest in the stock markets. Before they invest in a business they send their fund managers in to investigate the business fully to see if they comply with their guidelines. If the company is not willing to answer all their questions fully then they might not get approved for investment.

    When properly managed and executed the use of business ethics can actually serve to enhance the profitability of the company concerned. The business can proudly declare their values in brochures, newspapers, internet and television marketing campaigns. Reputation is the strongest asset that a company has and maintaining this and the value of their brands is essential to the long term future of the business.

    Christians And Environmental Ethics – A Strange Combination?

    Gorazd Andrejc asked:

    You can find very different attitudes towards environment and global warming problem among Christians. There are of course Christians who simply do not care and do not see any real connection between their religion and the idea to save the planet. Religion is about saving humanity, spiritually speaking, not the planet, right? Before moving to the answer to this question, let’s have a quick look at another, even less eco-friendly Christian attitude.

    Many Christians (evangelicals) believe in the second coming of Christ, but some of them believe that Christ’s second coming is imminent, that it will happen very soon. Majority of those in this second subgroup also point to global warming phenomenon as a sign before Christ’s coming – a prime example of such a sign actually! Such interpretation of the prophecy also includes the claim that we really can’t do anything in this matter to make things better. The belief, that Christ will come very soon and that global warming is an important sign of His coming, naturally leads to the belief that there is no point in “saving the planet”. Not only will this planet burn in destruction in a very near future, but you are actually working against the prophecy (and so against God) if you are trying to save the planet. Not to mention the peril of wasting your time and energy you should use for other more important things to do. The comment of the late evangelical leader Jerry Falwell, that “the myth” of global warming is a “Satan’s attempt to redirect the church’s primary focus” is just one expression of such a position.

    Even if these beliefs are not so explicit and widespread, and despite the change of mood in the environmental issues among the evangelical leaders in the USA in last couple of years, there is still a general feel of relative passivity in relation to the environmental issues among many evangelical and also other Christians. In the internet and in other media you will much more likely find new-age believers and atheist defending the green attitude. Why? Majority of new-age belief-systems include belief in (equal) sanctity of all life, a belief in Gaia Mother Earth, and similar. These beliefs inspire new-agers to action. Atheists on the other hand believe that this world, however bad and imperfect, is the only world we have. So whatever we feel, we better do something about it or we will simply cease to exist as a race! If there is no afterlife you naturally have a very strong motivation to preserve this life and this world.

    So, what about Christian beliefs and environmental concern? Are Christian beliefs actually a disadvantage for someone who wants to take eco-friendly attitude? Not necessarily. This of course mainly depends on one’s choice of Christian theology. Which biblical messages are more, and which are less important and relevant today? Such hermeneutical decisions, for Christians who take Bible more seriously, guide their ethical priorities and lead to decisions.

    There is an important difference between focusing mainly on the texts where God threatens to destroy the earth because of the sins of humans (e.g. “I, the Lord, now promise to destroy everything on this earth”(Zep 1,2)) and on the other hand focusing on the threats that He will destroy the destroyers of the earth (“It is time to destroy everyone who has destroyed the earth.” Rev 11,8). Also, the responsibility towards the whole of mankind, which is for majority the single most important reason why we should care about the environment at all, is present in the biblical idea of the first human couple and the human race as a big family (whether Adam and Eve are literal or a symbolic doesn’t matter here, the very idea of the human family is what counts). Yet another positive route to environmental ethics in Christian theology is praising the inherent value and beauty of Creation, which definitely doesn’t lack in the Bible (Gen 1:31, Ps 104, Rom 1:20, etc.). Most of these positive reasons for environmental concern are of course present also in Judaism and can be found in Islam too.

    So, there are many starting points for a Christian believer when deciding why to take environmental issues seriously. Christianity need not be eco-unfriendly at all.

    What are Business Ethics and What is Their Importance?

    William King asked:

    Business ethics are a matter of much debate. Every MBA entrant is taught the meaning of them, and yet many will never follow these guidelines in their real life careers. It has become a vast and complex field, and is the subject of much research. Business ethics encompass a large and significant portion of what it takes to do business today. Under the umbrella of business ethics comes:

    • The social responsibility that a business is supposed to have towards the community in general, particularly the one in which it operates or has any interests. An example of this would be the Exxon Mobil oil spill. It is the responsibility of a business to protect the interests of the people, animals and environment where it uses resources. Due to improper handling of the issue, it became a public relations nightmare for the company. Exxon has now been ordered to clean up the area which it should have taken care not to damage in the first place. Indifference to business ethics in this case, caused a negative public image for the company and a huge lawsuit.

    • Issues regarding a company’s responsibility towards its shareholders. This is a heavily regulated area but one that requires a lot of government intervention due to certain unethical practices adopted by many companies in the past. The concept of increasing shareholder value is part of the fundamental principles of a company and if business ethics are not brought into play here, the business can collapse due to the pressure exerted by shareholders.

    • Inter-company dealings and negotiations. Often rivalries in business can turn ugly due to the amount of money and ego riding on them. Hostile takeovers and business espionage are some of the examples of unethical behavior within the business world. If discovered, these deeds can be punishable by law or simply public opinion. To allow for fair play and keeping the best interests of the consumers in mind, the government regulates a great deal of what goes on in company dealings. Microsoft has been the target of much abuse and outrage due to its allegedly monopolistic techniques of doing business. While this has not sunk the IT giant, many say that it may have long term repercussions. The government has also stepped in to make sure that other businesses and consumers are not harmed.

    • Stakeholder protection. Every business has stakeholders other than its owners – the employees, the stockholders and the general public. The business has to ensure that the rights and interests of all of these groups are adequately protected in the course of its operations. The recent outcry about the harassment and bad working conditions of employees in Wal-Mart led to the generation of a lot of negative press about the outsized department store. This gives the competition the lead and rivals take the opportunity to get ahead while the company is busy trying to do some damage control.

    • Fundamental business practices of a company. Underhanded dealings, the use of substandard products, spreading misinformation about the product, hiring illegal workers at lower than minimum wage, etc. prove that a business is run in an unethical way and that it is not a high quality work place or service provider. For instance, cigarette companies that spent most of the seventies telling people that it was not unhealthy to smoke, though they knew this to be untrue. In a recent judgment, one such company was forced to pay out $28 billion.

    The Tweaking “CC”

    All work and no play makes Timmy a dull photog...

    Image by I, Timmy via Flickr

    by Rick Brenner

    When did you last receive an email message with a “tweaking CC”? Probably yesterday. A tweaking CC is usually a CC to your boss or possibly the entire known universe, designed to create pressure by exposing embarrassing information.

    Maria opened her inbox one morning and found, among the usual meeting announcements, deadline reminders and spam, a message from Ken. Ken and Maria had had some difficulties, and a low-grade feud had been simmering for some time. So when Maria saw Ken’s name, she felt a twinge. His messages were never good news. And this one certainly wasn’t.

    “I need your input for the quarterly report by Friday,” Ken reminded her. That was fine. But he went on, “I hope you’ll make the deadline this quarter.” Less fine. And he had CC’d her boss. Definitely not fine.

    Ken’s message to Maria contained a “tweaking CC,” which is a CC to someone whom the sender believes has influence or power over the recipient. The tweaking CC is designed to intimidate.

    We use the tweaking CC when we want to rattle people, by tattling on them or informing on them[1]. When used artfully, the tweaking CC provides cover to the sender, who can claim that the CCs were included only to keep everyone in the loop. Usually, this “FYI veil” is pretty thin — everyone can see right through it, except perhaps the sender.

    When you receive a message with a tweaking CC, remember:

    • It’s possible that the message you’re looking at doesn’t have a tweaking CC. Maybe the sender added the CCs for some other reason that you don’t know about.
    • Tweaking CCs hurt. Let yourself feel the hurt. Denying the hurt will only cause you more grief later. Get support if you need it.
    • The sender is in pain, too. The sender’s self-esteem is low. Senders of tweaking CCs often feel that it would not be enough to simply let you know that something is amiss — it’s necessary to tell someone really powerful.
    • Taking any action at all within the first hour or two is unwise — you’re very likely to make things worse.
    • Defending yourself gives credibility to the sender.
    • Defending yourself in email is risky because emails are so easily misunderstood.

    Senders of tweaking CCs often feel powerlessWhat about Maria? She went for a 20-minute walk. Later, she dropped in on her boss. She explained that she regarded the email from Ken as a tweaking CC. Her boss instantly recognized what she meant by the term, and told her that when he received the message he recognized it as such. He asked Maria if she wanted anything done about Ken’s behavior, but Maria declined the offer, saying that since all was well between the two of them, she felt better, and she would find a way to work things out with Ken.

    When you receive a message with a tweaking CC, breathe. Center yourself. Recognize your own power — the sender certainly does.

    Internet Marketing: – Excellent Opportunity For People To Cooperate

    Sunita Attri asked:

    Copying someone\’s work has never had any respect – not in the past, not today, not in school, not at work and especially not in business. There are copyright issues that you will have to adhere to as an internet marketing business owner. Otherwise, you could violate ethical issues and even get into legal problems should someone complain. In internet marketing, copyright legal issues are such a concern mainly because of the nature of the environment online, where much of the content provided is for free.

    Copyright and plagiarism

    Copyright refers to the legal right to control reproduction and/or use of an original work. Usually, this right is given to the artist, for more details visit to www.internet-marketing-word.com writer or publisher of the work. If something is protected by a copyright, it means that its use or reproduction is restricted or controlled. Anyone wishing to use the content has to have the correct permission from the owner of the copyright.

    Copyright and the Internet

    Copyright infringement is related to plagiarism, the act of negligent or deliberate reproduction of words, thoughts or ideas either in part (as in the case of direct excerpts) or in full and then claiming them as original. Online and off, this is considered illegal. Many writers, for more details visit to www.marketers-traffic-course.com professionals and business owners have been unmade because of copyright infringement. Interestingly enough, plagiarism is a word derived from plagiarus, which is Latin for \’kidnapper\’.

    Copyright infringement is considered a virus on the internet and is not easily forgotten. Even offline, in the traditional business environment, copyright infringement remains a problem. The internet provides such an excellent opportunity for people to cooperate and share information and then allow access to it for free. The problem is that some people believe the word \’free\’ is a license to obtain content, reproduce it and use it to their own advantage.

    This is false reasoning. Just because someone writes or shows content online that may be accessed free of charge does not mean you could take it and pass it off as your own or use it for some commercial purpose. You cannot, for example, take a few paragraphs from an article on a book, website or blog, copy them and then use them on your own website without acknowledging the author or writer or asking permission to republish it.

    Bits and pieces

    There is, however, a gray area in copyright legal issues when it comes to internet marketing. Copyright, for one, has a limited time period of coverage and will lapse. There are also content that are made available through public domain. When content does enter a lapse period or if it\’s found in a public domain, it is quite possible that someone could take that content and plagiarize it without actually committing a copyright infringement. So does that make it legal? What about the copyright legal issues?

    In this case, the issue probably just escapes the legal restrictions and enters ethical domain. Remember that not everything that is legal is always right. You cannot, for example, use someone else\’s work and claim it as your own without their permission and believe in your heart you aren\’t cheating.

    The ethical side of internet marketing

    All businesses should be ethical and legal. Since internet marketing is such an excellent medium for business, it would be such a waste to abuse how it works. It has its drawbacks, true, but it doesn\’t have to break laws. Furthermore, it exposes your business to unnecessary trouble. Once content has been published online, it can be extremely difficult to take it back, particularly if people have already seen it or used it. You do not want to be labeled as a plagiarist or a violator of copyright because then you will not be seen as a legitimate internet marketer.

    Protecting yourself from copyright infringement

    If there is content online or offline that you find interesting or useful and want to use for your internet marketing business, always check the copyright protection first. Usually, the copyright notice is indicated on the material. If it\’s not, it\’s probably copyrighted anyway unless the author, illustrator or owner gives his permission to reprint or reproduce his content. If the use of content is freely allowed and contains information that is not considered unlawful, it\’s safe to republish it. If you will be offering original content of your own, it\’s also important to protect it with a copyright. That is, unless you want to allow others to reproduce your content and use it. This is a generous act on your part and will benefit plenty of interested users.

    The Importance of Fair-trade and Ethical Products

    Gen Wright asked:

    These days technology is rising quickly, and it still does because it makes people’s life easier. Nowadays the web is used to do pretty much anything, from finding basic to complex information, meeting new people and even buying and selling products. Not like the old day when people need to buy something they always go to the market. Today we can stay at home, open our web browsers and with a few clicks we can get what we are looking for by having it conveniently shipped to our homes.

    When it comes to technology it all sounds beautiful and simple but there is most definitively a downside. The cost of technology, in many cases, affects the well being of Mother Nature and by consequence ourselves thus, not being completely ethical. Many technologies that companies develop and produce are not safe to our planet and as a result these unsafe products can damage the earth. It is true that human kind cannot get anything without first giving something in return but in the process we forget just how valuable the things we sacrifice really are, for example, a farmer who plant coffee or rice will always want to get the best price for his work, he is part of the supply part of the market but in many cases people’s demand is too high which makes producers work even harder and putting more strain on the earth used to cultivate the good, if this process continues we will soon regret being part of this demand/supply chain because the one suffering and taking a big hit in the long run is Mother Earth. Striking a balance between fair pricing and lowering the impact the planet takes because of our demand is why fair-trade is important.

    What is buying fair-trade? Fair-trade is a system of trade based on a direct relationship and partnership between buyers and producing community. Fair Trade makes sure that farmers and artisans receive a fair price for their products, have direct involvement in the marketplace, and uphold environmental and labor rights standards. The system builds real and last relationships between producers in developing countries and businesses and consumer. Buy fair-trade means that you make selection to the products you want to buy. You only buy products that are not giving exploitative to the earth (it is friendly product) and the products that already have a fair price.

    What about the ethical products? The ethical products are some products that are made or create by thinking about the safeties for the earth. These like the friendly products or usually people said these are organic products. According to the latest information, people who buy organic products are increase. It is because they started to care with the planet earth that we are living in and great awareness of the issue surrounding the source of the products. And it is because many producers make organic products.

    Even the organic products are more expensive but most people still choose to buy these products. Food and beverage are dominated ethical products that the consumers buy. Followed by eco-friendly stuff that most people say eco-green living. For example like clothing, house wires, jewelry, handicrafts, and accessories and of course the most important is organic foods (rice, vegetables, fruits and staples).

    This fair-trade and ethical product is issue that is important to know and to do. Because this issue has many consequences for the producers, relailers and consumers. So, start from today why we do not buy in fair-trade and ethical products. It will give many benefits to us and also protect our earth. Just go green.

    Why Large Recruitment Firms are so Desperate to Sell Giant Advertisements to Their Clients

    Toby Marshall asked:

    Do large newspaper ads work and are they value for money? In the days before My Career, Seek and Monster the answer was sometimes. Today it’s NEVER.

    Australia is unusual in having large numbers of expensive recruitment ads at the front of the papers. Some countries have a few but nothing to the extent that we do. We have a mass of recruitment agency-controlled ads and all are large and expensive. And these ads are bought in blocks by the recruiter ahead of time – and at wholesale prices.

    Why is there incredible pressure to sell mass media ads at the big firms? There are at least five reasons:

    1. It’s great free advertising – the ads raise the ‘profile’ of the firm, making them top of mind with clients and applicants. Their clients are unknowingly paying for their corporate positioning – or perhaps they do know but just feel they have no choice.

    2. Applicants who are not suitable for the advertised role (that the client paid for) are sold to other companies. If he can’t get a quick sale, the recruiter gets new resumes that he can ‘reverse market’ to lots of other employers at the same time.

    3. Many firms buy the ads wholesale, and sell retail. Some even put hidden ‘production costs’ on top of the retail price – they get two hidden fees. One firm I know adds 15% for ‘production costs’ as part of their normal business practice. This brings in a lot of $$s their clients are never told about.

    4. All space is pre-booked. What page your agency’s ads run on is decided by how many you sell each week. On a regular basis, the newspaper assesses each group’s usage. If yours has fallen, another recruitment firm may be allocated some of your space. Or, even worse, you swap places in the paper – they come forward and you slide back to the pages few readers reach. Talk about strategic pressure to keep selling.

    5. At least one of the major firms in Australia pays a hidden commission to their recruiters for each ad sold. As at mid 2005, this was $900 pretax. Quite an incentive for them to persuade their clients that an ad is the best solution. An even bigger incentive are the bonuses for reaching their ad sales quota for the quarter – which can earn them $10,000 or $20,000 extra.

    Try this question on ‘consultants’ who are pushing a mega ad onto you:

    “Ok, you clearly believe this expensive ad will find us good people. Are you happy for a panel of recruitment experts to evaluate it’s effectiveness at the end of the campaign, and then allow them to publish their conclusions? And if those are negative, will you rebate me some of the cost of the ad?”

    Tough question! Should sort out the women from the girls!

    Who would be on the Panel? Me for one and happy to find some more volunteers.

    The panel’s brief? Assess the costs versus the salesman’s claims, and identify where good applicants were actually sourced.

    For example, how many came from Search if the role is a senior one – and ask for their research files to see if they actually did any Search. Easy for them to claim they did, so asking for proof will keep the basta.ds honest.

    The panel would then publish their conclusions in the mass media (or after August 16th at www.recruitershamefile.com) – in most cases this would be deeply embarrassing. Of course just asking the question makes it unlikely you will have wasted your money. Only a very brave or foolish ‘consultant’ would persist with selling you an ad on these terms – or one who was totally convinced that in this particular case it would work.

    The pressure on the ‘consultants’ to sell these ads is intense, and the main focus of their internal weekly sales meetings. Directors often prowl these meetings intimidating ‘consultants’ – where I used to work, they walked around the table where we all sat waiting for our turn to be picked on! When I started my career over 19 years ago this was the practice – from talking to people who have recently left the large firms, the not-so-subtle intimidation may have become even worse. At least in my day my commission cheques weren’t linked to having to sell ads and no-one slipped $500 into my pocket when I did.

    So, the large ads benefit the agencies and the media. Not the sucker that paid the bill.

    How do they get away with selling so many expensive, wasteful ads?

    There are four reasons why this incredible con continues:

    1. Their sales pitch is built around the plausible sounding ‘attract the browser’ argument – the absurdity of this argument is shown below.

    2. “They are a big, successful firm who are experts in recruiting – they know about these things, and if they tell us we need to spend $12,000, then we had better do it.” Remember, most managers or professionals only recruit once or twice a year and few know much about the secretive recruitment industry.

    3. Some ads actually do work. They do catch some browsers – it is just that they are atrociously wasteful in terms of the ‘cost per appropriate applicant’ – surely the only valid measure of value. And given the Mega recruitment firms obsession with tracking and reporting on activity and results, it might surprise some people that they don’t track this. If they do, no surprise that they don’t share it.

    4. Finally, who is to know whether the ad worked anyway? The applicant who finally got the job could have come from anywhere, and rarely is any tracking done. Remember that big firms have a high profile because they sell so many ads with their logo and other branding taking up a huge chunk of the expensive space. So applicants come to them directly, even if they didn’t see the ad (and that would be fine if they were blo.dy well paying for it).

    The ‘browser’ sales pitch

    I learnt this pitch 19 years ago when I worked at a giant recruiter with hundreds of ‘consultants’: it was drummed into us at the weekly sales meetings. We were made to practice it on each other and in front of the mirror. You had better believe that this pitch is the foundation stone of Australia’s major recruitment firms.

    The pitch is simple, plausible and seemingly valid: people read the front of the newspaper, and their eye is caught by an advertisement so they become interested in it and apply. They are argued to be better applicants because they are more likely to be happy in their current job and therefore likely to be good at what they do. And of course, would not see jobs where active job seekers go to look – online or in classifieds.

    Who could argue with something so self-evident??

    No surprises that I’ll have a go. There are 3 counter arguments that rubbish the whole sales pitch:

    Firstly one that came to me at 4.30 a.m. on a recent Cold August Night, the hour when all good ideas roam in a fevered brain. In the 3 years since I wrote a version of this Rant in my book, Get Great People, I had thought there were only 2 main counter arguments. This final one is the Big Momma – the last and very large nail in what is now virtually a metal coffin:

    That we have moved to a world of Free Agents and the Internet. Where people manage and assess their careers constantly (even if usually not particularly well!). A world where people under 40 (Gen x and Gen Y) consider themselves independent of their employers, even if they enjoy their jobs. That they have a life outside work, or in more extreme cases, that they have a life, and work is just a small component of that. Something that many of us Boomers have also come to believe and live our lives by.

    In this world, the Free Agents browse 10 or 20 or a 100 websites a week (even I, a geriatric, am on at least 20 different sites every week). And one of the sites they go to is MyCareer, Seek or Monster. Just for a look. To keep in touch. Because you never know. And what about all those niche job boards attached to professional forum sites: LOTS of browsers on those. And what about the snowballing LinkedIn and Facebook and all the other social networking sites. Full of browsers. Full of recruiters.

    And because it is so easy to apply for jobs with just a few clicks they are more likely to make an enquiry than that browser reading the paper in a cafe or their garden.

    Now, if the price was about the same, the ad salesman just might have a point. But we are talking chalk and cheese on cost. Not in the same ball park. A $100 versus many thousands.

    So, you tell me:

    Who are the browsers? Where are the browsers? And, in particular, where do the browsers go who in this ageist world are the most sought after by employers? Reckon there are way more of these valuable young applicants on the job boards and social network sites than there are reading the Early General News in the Saturday papers.

    Maybe the ad salesman is looking a bit like a seller of dodgy cars – even before we get to the other two reasons ….

    Secondly, we read the Saturday pages ‘eyes up’.

    If there were only 2 or 3 job ads on a page, and they were designed to attract the eye, no problem attracting eyeballs. That’s the argument of all advertising agencies and media sales people and it’s completely valid.

    With recruitment, all the ads are in a block at the bottom of the page. Or, even worse, they are on a whole page by themselves when you get towards the back! Great for browsers!

    I can remember the incredible hubris one Friday when I was at a Mega Firm and we had sold a whole broadsheet page of ads – it was all us! We were so proud! We were the champions! But hey, didn’t we forget something: what sort of insane browser browses a whole page of ads!? Maybe a desperate job seeker?

    The ads are all the same size and all look pretty much the same – even better they are now in color so stand out like the proverbial dog ba.ls. They are also conveniently located in the bottom half of the paper – so handy for folding the broadsheet in half as I lie in my deckchair on Saturday morning!

    So after 30 years of such ads, those browsers know where the ads are – they know to keep their eyes focused on the top of the page. That is where they find what they are looking for: something interesting to read.

    I don’t have any major research to quote, but I have talked to a lot of people – it is quite common to read the Saturday papers ‘eyes up’. Don’t you?

    Thirdly, the Saturday papers are now conveniently divided into sections.

    The sections help readers find the bits they want to read. And in what order they want to read. And of course it helps in selling ads to particular demographics (now there’s a thought: recruiters could place ads in sections that attract who they are trying to employ?!)

    With the sections, many of us have developed very idiosyncratic ways of reading. Take how I read the Saturday SMH (apologies for those who don’t live in Sydney):

    I start with the front page; quick glance at the back page for some scurrilous gossip; Mike Carlton and Peter Fitzsimons for a laugh; rugby news; the rest of News Review; Spectrum; and sometimes the Good Weekend. And finally, if I get through all that, I turn to the news bits where the recruitment ads are – pages 2 to about 20 – and religiously keep my eyes up. But most weekends I don’t get to it.

    Again, no research on readership that I can quote, just an informal survey of professionals; but it is common practice to read selectively. Of course the newspapers do lots of market research, which lead them to create sections in the first place.

    So, three strong reasons that rubbish the browser sales pitch – just tell the advertising salesman masquerading as a consultant to go and spin his B.S. to someone else.

    Love to hear your stories of ‘consultants’ trying to sell you ads. Or, even better, a recruiter defending them!

    Spurious Advertising research by Mr Ad Salesman

    Ad salesmen have a standard pitch that goes like: “Mr client, only a tiny percentage of applicants who end up on the final shortlist are ever on a recruiter’s database. The best candidates are not actively searching for a job – we need to attract them to apply with an advertisement that catches the eye as they are browsing through the Saturday morning papers.”

    A regular speaker to our industry runs a firm that sells giant ads. At a conference 3 years ago he asked the 110 recruiters in his audience: “What percentage of those who are ultimately short-listed were previously on ANY agency’s database?” I proffered a guess of “less than 10%” – obviously he wanted a low number and I wanted my ‘gold star’ for the right answer!

    Now he is one of the doyens of our industry and has been financially very successful. Most of what he was telling us was great stuff about how to be a more productive as a recruiter – overall a great presentation which was well received.

    He triumphantly and emphatically came back with “research shows it is less than 5%”

    Extraordinary and a great sales tool if true so I wanted to track it down. But as I doubted it was true, it would have been aggressive to challenge him publicly (I was also on the speaking programme, though with a much smaller role) – after he finished I asked “could you tell me where to find this research?”

    The answer and his body language were classic: He looked down, started to turn away and said “Oh, it’s old research, not sure where it is now”. And continued to turn away, and started speaking to someone else!

    And no, he didn’t know me (it was before I published my book), and I had had a shower that morning.

    Now, that got me thinking. Firstly, doing such research would be virtually impossible, as it would mean tracking each candidate’s job search. Very time-consuming and also candidates might not want to admit how hard they’ve been trying (and by definition, not successfully). Also, having just been rejected by an agency they may not be favourably inclined to help an agency do research. It would also be very expensive – who would care enough to spend maybe $50,000 with a research firm?

    Easier to invent a figure that sounds plausible in front of an audience that wants to believe it.

    Takes some chutzpah to create facts that are so easy to challenge, particularly when you are being paid a hefty fee to provide expert training. But …. maybe not. No-one else seemed to notice.

    Secondly, on reflection, I believe the figure is actually much higher, more like 20 or 30% – remember it was any agencies books. But, as with the presenter, I have no evidence, just a feeling from years in the trenches – and I have no particular axe to grind. I don’t sell $12,000 ads that are virtually useless.

    Thirdly, his usage of the words ‘old research’ is interesting. The world of advertising has changed a lot – if the research is so old that he and can’t find it, maybe that is another clue that it ain’t true, in the unlikely event it ever was.

    If you want to sell expensive ads, and he and his company do, “less than 5%, proven by research” is a seductive sales pitch. Shame it’s a bald faced lie.

    The Day the Victory Bell Wouldn’t Stop Ringing – The Completely Useless $35,000 Ad Campaign

    I briefly worked at a Mega recruitment firm, back in the day when the internet was just for nerds.

    We had a large brass bell hanging in the middle of the office – you rang it when you made a sale of an ad or a body. Crass I know, but lots of sales teams have them and we were in no doubt that that’s what we were – the bell kept the team focused on what really mattered to recruiters!

    The bell started ringing one day. And kept ringing. And ringing.

    The ‘consultant’ had just returned from visiting new clients – a restaurant chain was opening in Australia and needed 200 staff. The ‘consultant’ had sold the client the equivalent of 4 large ads in the front of the Herald, more than $35,000 in today’s money. He had sold 40% of the firm’s maximum pre-booked space for the week. He was only one of 15 recruiters in Sydney so it was quite a coup – our biggest ad sale in about 4 months.

    That night we went off to celebrate with the Managing Director shouting the first drink. Later I asked the excited and merry ‘consultant’ about it, saying it seemed unlikely applicants would come from the front of the Herald – not the first reading choice of many kitchen staff.

    His response with a huge smirk on his face? “Hey! My client also paid $2000 for lineage (classified) ads in the back of the Herald and Telegraph, that will fill the jobs.” And the cheap ads did, with barely one applicant from the quarter-page extravaganza.

    His client, the poor restaurant chain, had made a sizeable and greatly appreciated donation to our firm’s profile and helped us hold onto our much valued position on pages 5 and 6.

    Does it still happen? You bet.

    Friday Night Specials – “Have we got a deal for you!”

    I cringe remembering Friday Specials from my 12 months working at Mega Firm.

    About every 3 weeks, usually late in the morning on a Friday, we were summoned to a quick stand up meeting around the Victory Bell and told “we have some discount ads to offer our clients”.

    Our Director would ask each of us for the names of 2 or 3 clients to call – if we were reticent, he would suggest a few names.

    We then trotted off to ring them and offer them a discount on ads in Saturday’s newspapers. The discount often started at 25%, getting rid of our wholesaler’s profit. By 2 p.m. it would fall to half price. Occasionally, if it was still not sold, we would have to run a filler ad for ourselves – a big loss so the company hated this.

    One Friday I rang a good client with the special offer and got a very aggressive response

    “Why do you have all these ads to sell?? Why is there such a panic? You don’t even know what I need! What’s in it for you?”

    He was simultaneously both angry and confused – unusually he had been rung 3 times in just 6 weeks. As a good ad salesman who still half believed they worked, I gave him the company line: That we had had a last minute cancellation so are offering our good clients “the opportunity to be at the front of the paper at a great price”. But it got me thinking about these constant specials, and what this new industry I had joined was really up to.

    The real reason why Friday Night Specials happened so often? Because on Tuesday we had to commit to how much space in Saturday’s paper we could sell to our clients. And there was always pressure on management to take a couple of extra ads to ensure we maintained our spot at the front of the paper (your position is based on how many you sell over the quarter versus the other firms). So we often had trouble selling the last few spots that our optimistic and hopeful managers believed we could achieve so they would get their bonus (remember, the entire strategy of these firms is based on their position in the paper and the free publicity from the ads.)

    The loss to the firm if they couldn’t sell the ads, given the exorbitant prices, was significant. So the kudos you got for flogging these specials to a gullible client was huge – and lasted until the next time it happened. When you had to prove you had cojones once again.

    Still happens? Of course.

    Now, I can hear some of you say: Ok, guess we got the message that you don’t like the big ads at the front. What do you say about those at the back of the newspapers? The Classifieds.

    Not one redeeming feature. Nothing. Zip. A complete waste of money. They just clutter up the job market and make it more inefficient.

    Trihedron of Modern Episteme: Comte and Foucault

    mohammad amin ansari asked:

    “Modern man is not the man who goes off to discover himself, his secrets, his hidden truth; he is the man who tries to invent himself. This modernity does not ‘liberate man in his own being’: It compels him to face the task of producing himself.”

    Baudelaire

    In this paper an attempt has been made to undertake Foucault’s criticism of the linear classification of branches of knowledge by Comte. The paper first begins with summarization of Foucault’s trihedron of the mathematical, empirical sciences and philosophy and then moves on to linear classification of Comte, with special reference to has positivism. In the final analysis the paper compares both the Comte and Foucault and the major criticism of Comte by Foucault, with reference to Foucault’s other major works.

    Foucault’s projection of modern episteme:

    Foucault account of the human sciences is centered on a polemical assertion that, man is an invention of recent date. And one perhaps is nearing its end’. Foucault says that man is simultaneously the subject and object of knowledge, as a transcendental doublet, is a construction of nineteenth century, with specific conditions of possibility. Man did not exist in the 17th and 18th century and his place in the structure was occupied by representation. Grammar, wealth and natural history had the representational structure. Foucault says,

    …representation governs the mode of being of language, individuals, nature and need itself. The analysis of representation, therefore, has a determining value for all empirical domains. The whole classical system of order, the whole of great taxonomy that makes it possible to know things by means of system of their identities, is unfolded within this space that is opened up inside representation when represents itself, that area where being and the same reside. Language is simply the representation of beings; need is simply the representation of needs (1966:209).

    The 19th century saw the knowledge of wealth, living beings and language freeing itself from representation. The knowledge in these areas no longer remained unified in taxonomic tables. Language, economic and living beings begun to be seen as an organic structure, consisting of function based. Biology no longer analyzed living beings through taxonomic tables based on surface structure, but explored the space between the superficial organs and the hidden ones, connecting both to the functions they perform. Similarly in the realm of philology purely grammar appears. The individuality of the language and its resemblance to other languages is determined by their means and interior grammatical mechanisms. Foucault says,

    …language no longer consists only of representational and of sounds that in turn represent representations and are ordered among them as the links of through require; it consists of formal elements grouped into a system which imposes upon the sounds, syllables and roots an organisation which is not that of representation (1966: 235)

    Foucault is not saying that the modern episteme eliminates representation as a function of thought, instead he says, representation still has crucial place in the modern conception of signs (as well as of language and of knowledge). His point in just that it is no more an unquestioned, self-justifying starting point; it is no longer simply accepted as a function identical to thought itself. The power of representation to connect must be instead be sought “outside representation, beyond its immediate visibility, in sort of behind-the –scenes world even deeper and more dense than representation.

    Foucault sees Kant’s project of critique as a primary focus of this view of representation. Kant allows some forms of knowledge—those are empirical ones—are essentially representational. But he does not accept the classical assumption that all thought is by its very nature representational. His critique questions representation on the basis of its rightful limits. The entire system of representation which for the classical age is the necessary form of thought and reality as such appears, to Kant’s critical eye, as just a particular form of thought and reality needs to be grounded on the uncritical acceptance of representation are imply systems of dogmatic metaphysics. Kant works also open the questioning of all sources of representations, (Gutting: 1989: 243).

    One of the single most important development in modern knowledge was the fragmentation of the field of knowing. For the classical age, knowing formed a homogeneous whole, with each domain (from mathematics to philosophy to empirical sciences) just a particular form of the general science of order. To know in any domain was to construct ordered tables and differences. Foucault says,

    In the classical period, the field of knowledge from the project of analysis of representation to the theme of the mathesis universalis, were perfectly homogeneous: all knowledge, of whatever kind, proceeded to the ordering of its material by establishment of differences and defined those differences by establishing of an order; this was true of mathematics, true also for taxonomies (in the broad sense) and for the sciences of nature; but it was equally true for all those approximate, imperfect, and largely spontaneous kinds of knowledge which are brought into play in the construction of the latest fragment of discourse or in the daily processes of exchange; and it was true, finally for philosophical thought and for those long chains of order that the ideologues’, no less than Descartes or Spinoza, thought in different way, attempted to establish I order to create a path leading necessarily from the very simplest and most evident of ideas to the most composite truths. But from nineteenth century epistemological fields became fragmented, or rather exploded in different directions. It is difficult to escape the pre-eminence of linear classification and hierarchies in the manner of Comte; but to seek to align all the branches of modern knowledge on the basis of mathematics is to subject to the single point of view of objectivity in the knowledge the question of the positivity of each branch of knowledge….(1966: 346)

    The epistemological field exploded in 19th century in different directions (346), and could no longer be understood as a linear series of inquiries employing the same basic method in different domains. The modern episteme is not ordered in accordance with the ideal of perfect mathematization, nor does it unfold, o the basis of a formal purity, a long, descending sequence of knowledge progressively more burdened with empiricity (1966:346). Rather their emerged three distinct dimensions of knowledge-

    (1) Mathematical sciences, including pure mathematics and mathematic physics., which construct deductive systems, linking together evident or verified propositions

    (2) Empirical sciences, such as biology, economics, and philology, ethic relate the discontinues but analogues elements of the experienced world so as to reveal causal relations and structural constraints between them.

    (3) Philosophical reflection, which seeks a unified understanding of the grounds o knowledge and of the order of reality. That is common plane for linguistics biology and economics.

    Foucault sees these divisions in the field of knowledge as due to the decline of representation. The splitting off of the philosophy as a methodologically distinct mode of enquiry is the direct result of the fact that representation is no longer the unquestionable form of thought and knowledge. The split between the mathematical and the empirical sciences as a consequence of a new distinction between analytic and synthetic knowledge, wh
    ich itself flows from the questioning of representation.

    Directly opposing linear progressive growth model of Comte, Foucault say that modern biology, economics and philology correspond to sharp breaks in the history of thought and are not merely extensions of previous ways of thinking-

    The analysis of wealth in terms of labor move beyond the pure representational view of wealth by Adam Smith, but the major break with the classical episteme in the analysis of occurred only with Ricardo, who presented labor not only as the measure of value but also the sole source of value. Value had ceased to be a sign, it has become a project…value of things increases with the quantity of labour…but does not change with the increase or decrease of the wages for which labour, like all other commodities is exchanged (1966: 254). And with this conception of labor, new conception of man as an economic agent emerged, to which Foucault calls, homo oeconomics.

    Foucault says, both Ricardo and Marx saw economic life as the linear history of finite man’s struggle to survive through his labor. Both see history as moving towards culminating point at which man will face the ultimate consequence of finitude. Ricardo sees this culmination point as a mere dead end that makes permanent the scarcity against which man has so long struggled, Marx on the other hand, sees it as the end of scarcity and the beginning of the new form of human existence. These two linear thought are two different ways of developing the basic picture of economic reality, are founded on the identical archaeological structure of modern economics.

    Foucault lambasted Marxism and said that, at the deepest level Marxism in the western knowledge introduced no discontinuity it opposed to bourgeoisie economic views, but this opposition is just a mere surface effect. As Foucault says, Marxism introduced no real discontinuity; it found its place without difficulty, as a full, quite, comfortable and, goodness knows, satisfying from for a time (its own), within an epistemological arrangement that welcomed it gladly (since it was this arrangement that was in fact making room for it) and that it, in return, had no intention of distributing and, above all, no power to modify, even one jot, since it rested entirely upon it. Marxism existed in nineteenth century like a fish I water: that is, it is unable to breathe anywhere else… and further he says that the Marxist-bourgeoisie controversy was like…a few waves and caused a few surface ripples; but they are no more than storms in a children’s addling pool (1966:262).

    Thus Foucault says that Marxism was not as revolutionary as it is believed to be and nor does it brought any major rupture and break with the classical episteme, but was a mere surface effect, which continued the linear progression of history.

    The move to modern biology begins according to Foucault, with the introduction of notion of organic structure, by Lamark, but the decisive break came only with Cuvier, who was the first to give organic structure a role independent of taxonomic classification. For Cuvier, the structure of an organ is to be understood in terms of the functions that the organ performs. In this way Cuvier, arrive at the definition of living thing as a functional system, where life becomes a category that defines the object of biological inquiry, and modern biology becomes, in contrast to classical natural history, the science of life. Life was than tied to temporality and historicity, which according to Foucault provided the basis for the introduction of the idea of evolution by Darwin, which was foreign to the classical thought.

    I case of philology, the major break and rupture that separate philology from general grammar come with Bopp, who recognized the verbal roots of the relationships of the languages.

    Thus we see here in the modern episteme, that with the fragmentation of knowledge and decline of representation, language lost the central place it had in the classical episteme, and language became just one object of knowledge among others. Foucault says that the formalization and interpretation of language are rooted in the new status of language as a historical reality and object of our knowledge. The formalization and interpretation are not opposed to each other, but have a common origin and purpose; they have a common ground of phenomenology and structuralism in the modern episteme. In modern literature, according to Foucault, language returns to something like its status during the renaissance. Where as the renaissance language was ultimately controlled and limited by text of the worlds and given as ‘god’ creative word, the language of modern literature is totally ungrounded with “no point of departure, no end, no promise”. Thus we see here that language is tracing back its roots to classical episteme, thus we can assume that it is the interplay of both renaissance and modern episteme that forms the modern language.

    We have already discussed the the three axis of modern knowledge—the mathematical, the philosophical and the empirical, but we have not yet encountered the human sciences. The human sciences, which are of ultimate concern to Foucault are excluded as because, as he says, From the epidemiological trihedron the human sciences are excluded at least in the sense that they cannot be found along any of its dimensions or on the surface of any of the planes thus defined. But one can equally say that they are included in it, since it is in the interstices of these branches of knowledge, or, more exactly, in the volume defined by their dimensions, that human sciences have their place (1966:347).

    Foucault viewed modern philosophy, that is the philosophy from Kant onwards has dealt with the ‘man’ that is also the object of human sciences. Foucault says that man is the product of modern episteme, and before the end of eighteen century man did not exist (338) and that he will disappear wit the collapse of the modern episteme. The idea of man here represents for those whom representations exist. The appearance of man within the modern episteme means that the subject of representational knowledge becomes, as such an object of knowledge. Foucault recognizes the empirical sciences as the locus of knowledge, but further says that man cannot merely be an object of knowledge, but a subject that constitutes the world and all that is in it as objects. Foucault maintains that the study of man precisely as a constituting subject is the central concern of modern philosophical reflection and in other way of the modern human sciences.

    Kant gave the distinction between man as a transcendental subject and constituting object of his experience, but Foucault says Kant failed to five adequate relationship between man a transcendental and empirical, which led the post- Kantian philosophers to reduce the transcendental to the empirical and led to the emergence of two different ways-

    (1) Empirical biological knowledge of the human body as the basis of a positivistic rendition of transcendental aesthetic. The result was the discovery that knowledge has anatomo-physiological conditions, that it is formed gradually within the structure of the body. This was taken to show tat human knowledge has empirical nature that determined its character and, at the same time made it an object of knowledge.

    (2) This approach was based on historical rather than biological knowledge about the human condition. This led to the Marxist version of a transcendental dialectic, showing that knowledge had historical, social or economic conditions in short that there was a history of human knowledge which could both be given to empirical knowledge and prescribes its form (1966: 319).

    The positivist, that is the alternative of basing philosophical, and eschatological, basing empirical truth on philosophical truth becomes important to understand the human sciences. Positivist says that our philosophical discourse about knowledge is itself true in virtue of truths about empirica
    l objects. The eschatological says that our scientific and historical accounts of empirical objects are true in virtue of the truth of our philosophical discourse about knowledge. Foucault says, Comte and Marx both bear out the fact that eschatology and positivism are archaeologically indissociable: a discoure attempting to be both empirical and critical cannot but be both positivist and eschatological; man appears within it as a truth both reduced and promised (1966:320). Thus it becomes clear that the efforts (both Comte, Marx) to carry out the reductionist project typically fluctuated between positivism and eschatology.

    Foucault says that modern philosophy quest for man has come to dead end, the unquestioned acceptance of man as the ineluctable focus of the philosophy is a new form of dogmatic slumber. Foucault says, in modern thought, what is revealed at the foundation of the history of things and of the historicity proper to man is the distance creating vacuum within the same (1966:340).

    The central concern of the human sciences is man. These sciences deal with man as a living, producing and speaking but not in the manner of the empirical sciences of biology, economics and philology. The human sciences like philosophy are concerned with man as a subject, as a knower whose representations constitute his world and are not just products of it. The human sciences are not an analysis of what man is by nature, they are rather an analysis that moves from man’s nature as living, producing and speaking being in contrast to biology, human science is concerned with human life. the human sciences treat man’s life, labor, and language in the stratum of conduct, behavior, attitudes, gestures already made, sentences which already pronounced or written…(1966: 354)

    The division of human sciences into three epistemological regions, all subdivided within themselves, and interlocking with one another, each corresponding to one of the empirical sciences of biology, economics and philology.

    Foucault develops his methodology of the human sciences in terms of this threefold divisions and holds that each of the three divisions of the human sciences employs a model taken from empirical science to which it particularly linked. Although Foucault holds that each of models has a primary role and significance in one particular human science, he recognizes that all the models operate in all the human science. Foucault says, all the human sciences interlock and can always be used to interpret one another; their frontiers became blurred, intermediary and composite disciplines multiply endlessly, and in the end their proper object may even disappear altogether(1966: 358)

    The human sciences are original because they seek the man’s active role as a subject, which has come to be called as unconscious, and it is through these unconscious functions, conflicts, and meanings, the human sciences are able to develop an account of how man represents the fundamental realities of life, labor and language, which appear in the empirical sciences as determinants of man a an object (Gutting: 1989).

    Achievement of the human sciences belongs to the domain of knowledge, not science, because the human science is form of knowledge, just as physics and biology, they have legitimate position defined in modern episteme. They do not posses the formal criteria of a scientific form of knowledge. Thus difference between human sciences and empirical sciences lies in formalization and testing (Gutting: 1989).

    History constitutes a favorable environment which is both privileged and dangerous for human sciences. To each of the sciences of man it offers a background, which establishes it and provides it with a fixed ground and, as it were, a homeland; it determines the cultural area—the chronological and geographical boundaries—in which that branch of knowledge can be recognized as having validity; but it also surrounds the sciences of man with frontier that limits them and destroys, from the outset, their claim to validity within the elements of universality (1966:371).Foucault holds that history has a special role because the object of human sciences—man—is a historical being. Man treated by any human science will in fact be man only through a particular range of his history. The validity of universal knowledge (as positivism) can also be tested in any chronological era. We will discuss the universality of knowledge later.

    Foucault in the last chapter of order of things, talks about the counter sciences like psychoanalysis and ethnology. Both the counter sciences instead of developing a general concept of man, they question the very concept of man itself. Just as Kant’s raising of the question of the condition of the possibility of representation led to the decline of representation, so the raising of similar question about man is the sign of disappearance of man, what Lévi-Strauss said of ethnology: had they dissolve man.

    The modern episteme seems to be failing and giving way to structuralism and poststructuralism. Thus we have again returned to language, thinking perhaps that, since modern thought arose with the dispersion of language, whatever is to replace it will require a rebirth of its unity. Thus the man emerged in the modern episteme, and is bound to disappear with the fall of modern episteme.

    Comte’s linear classification of the branches of modern knowledge

    In the nineteenth century, Auguste Comte turned the Enlightenment idea of progress, into a three-stage/law linear evolutionary view toward positivism. He outlined three historical stages: (1) the theological (2) the metaphysical, (3) the positive. Comte’s three-stage evolutionary view was based on the belief that the positivistic pursuit of history, where the third stage to which he called positivism, would consist of observations leading to general laws governing human activity. Let us now discuss briefly some of the important components of the linear classification.

    Let us first briefly look at the Three Stages linear progress of human civilization. In 1822, in his first sketch of the Positive Philosophy, he argued that “because of the very nature of the human mind” all human knowledge passes through “the theological or fictive stage; the metaphysical or abstract stage; and finally the scientific or positive stage.” In the theological stage “ideas of the supernatural” operate as explanatory concepts, and “the observed facts are explailzed, that is, are looked at a priori, in terms of invented facts. The metaphysical stage is an intermediate style of thinking which operates “in terms of ideas which are no longer altogether supernatural and are not yet altogether natural. Briefly, these ideas are personified abstractions in which the mind can decide to see, either the mystical name of some supernatural cause or the abstract statement of a simple series of phenomena, according as it is nearer to the theological or to the scientific stage. (Action: 1958)

    Theological stage is reflected in such notions as the divine right of kings. The metaphysical stage involves such concepts as the social contract, the equality of persons, and popular sovereignty. The positivist stage entails a scientific or “sociological” (a term coined by Comte) approach to political organization. Quite critical of democratic procedures, Comte envisioned a stable society governed by scientific elite who would use the methods of science to solve human problems and improve social conditions.

    Corresponding to the theological stage of human thought was the predatory-military stage of social organization, corresponding to the positive stage of thought is the positive industrial stage of social organization, while between the two is a stage of non-predatory or defensive military organization within which metaphysical ideas develop. There was also a corresponding development of the feelings, showing itself in the moral outlook of mankind. In the theologico-military society men’s feelings are organized about their conception
    of a supernatural world with its rewards and punishments after death. In the intermediate revolutionary society, men’s feelings are organized about their worldly self-interest, so that liberalism is held to be at the same time a metaphysical and a selfish outlook. At the positive stage of human development the agreement in opinion to which scientific method leads will, Comte predicts, combine with the sociologist’s awareness of the dependence of each individual upon the whole of society to produce a regime with “love for its principle, order for its basis, and progress for its end.”‘ The morality of industrial-positive society will tend to be one of universal love. (Action: 1958).

    Comte’s classification claims to represent the order from simple to complex, and from general to special, and the order of mental growth is the first as stated, and the second reversed. We should expect that the order of individual mental progress would fairly represent the order of the progress of the race in the sciences, but this is plainly not the case. Mathematics, for instance, the earliest of the sciences in developing, dealt with the simplest but with the most general and abstract of notions. Its rapid progress was due in great measure to progress according to the law of least mental resistance. It was easier for the mind to work out an ideal world of form, than to patiently make inductions among the complexities and perplexities of the actual world of things. All he means is that we are justified in regarding as knowledge of the world only what can stand the test of observation and experiment. Comte believed that natural science methods like observation, experiment, verification etc can be used to study and solve human problems.

    Comte then proceeds to use the three-state law of scientific progress as a basis from which to argue for the existence of laws of progress governing other aspects of society. First, he appeals to the fact that changes in one aspect of society will bring about changes in other aspects in an attempt to establish the existence of laws of social static’s, the science of social equilibrium. Comte further says that in addition there must be laws of social dynamics which describe the development of aspects of society other than its scientific development. These other aspects of society must progress in order to keep pace with scientific developments, so as to avoid the entire decomposition of the system.

    Comte believed that the aim of the positivist method is to find facts and truths, which is the ultimate aim of science. Comte believed that the progressive positive science will lead to betterment of society is doubtful, because the scientific advancement has produced colonized and what Foucault calls, disciplinary societies. Comte’s believed that scientific knowledge of social science will lead governments to recognize that there are definite limits to what they can hope to force or persuade their subjects to do, but it was Foucault who provided the knowledge-power nexus which Comte did not talked of. The application of the positive method had already resulted in greed and authoritative sciences of nature, and was leading to the construction of an agreed and equally authoritative science of society. Although, Comte rejected belief in a transcendent being, he recognized the value of religion in contributing to social stability. In System of Positive Polity he proposed his religion of humanity, aimed at encouraging socially beneficial behaviour.

    Comte believes that because human nature is everywhere one and the same, society will always develop in accordance with the same laws. These laws can be discovered through a study of the most advanced human societies. Local factors such as race and climate cannot change the nature of this development. They merely affect the rate at which the society in question passes from one state to the next in the social series. For this reason, Comte believes non-Western societies merely to represent earlier states of social development through which Western Europe has already passed.

    Thus, Comte believed in an evolutionary and liner stage of growth theory of human progress based on the laws of scientific positivism, where the laws of evolution can be generalised universally because of similar human nature. And the ultimate aim of the positivism was to find the truth, a universal truth governing society. Comte positivism was like the stages of growth theories propounded later on by psychologists, where human being evolves, same as the child grows-up to adult. Comtean positivism was later on taken up by Durkheim, who proposed evolutionary positivist ideas like mechanical and organic solidarity, and to some extent also Marx (historical and revolutionary evolution) in case of dialectical materialism.

    The major points of contradiction between Comte and Foucault

    As we have already discussed the both Comtean stages and Foucaudian episteme, and now let us move towards Foucault’s criticisms of linear stages of knowledge proposed by Comte. I have already slightly touched the main criticisms of Foucault; I will now try to discuss them briefly.

    The first point of contradiction between Comte and Foucault is about, the linear classification of branches of knowledge. Comte proposed three stages of progress of knowledge and, said that the knowledge passed through theological to meta-physical and finally to scientific, to which he called positivism. Comte said that each stage of knowledge forms a hierarchy, where the progressive scientific or positivism occupies the highest place. Comte believed that the higher the hierarchy of knowledge, the more rationalistic and progressive it is. As Canguilheim puts, Progress means the rejection of the human race’s childishness and prejudices, and a recognition of its errors (1988:315).

    The positive stage, according to Comte, “is the final mode to be assumed by any science; the two first being destined only to prepare the way gradually for it. In this stage facts are linked in terms of ideas or general laws of an entirely positive order suggested or confirmed by the facts themselves. The attempt is constantly made to reduce them to as small a number as possible, but without introducing any hypothesis which could not some day be verified by observation, and without regarding them as anything but a means of expressing phenomena in general terms.” the Law of the Three Stages is, in the first place, a formulation of a theory of knowledge. In this aspect, examination of it is a matter for philosophy. In the second place, it is used by Comte to interpret the history of science and of Western society. In this respect it is an alleged sociological law. (Action: 1958).

    Comte refers to positive science as “the continuous work of the whole of humanity, without any special inventor,” and says that “quite apart from its point of departure, the public reason ought to establish the general aim of positive speculations, always ultimately directed towards predictions relating to universal needs.” The prime reason why the theological and metaphysical modes of thought are rejected is that they do not link with good sense and practice in the way that the positive mode does (Action: 1958).

    Comte also pointed out that only verifiable and testable statements are meaningful. He regarded that any proposition which is not strictly reducible to simple enunciation of the fact—either particuar or general—can have no real or intelligible meaning for us… comte used the verifiability as a stick with which to beat the metaphysicians. This was particularly important for Comte, in the lit of his three stages of intellectual development. All of the sciences have themselves gone through periods of domination and by’ l’ espirit metaphysique’, (1971:39).

    Foucault criticism of Comte is that, the knowledge cannot be arranged in linear progressive and hierarchical way; rather it has to be understood in its own episteme. That is knowledge has to be understood in its own time, context and its importanc
    e or place in the said period, and we cannot simply say that renaissance knowledge was savage. Instead of looking at classification of knowledge in linear terms Foucault has tried to understand it in terms of epistemological break and rupture, and says that it is the task of historian to understand knowledge in terms of homogeneity and continuity. Thus, Canguilheim rightly said that living in the twentieth century, we can understand why the nineteenth century took a critical view of the eighteen, even though it thought it was following I its footsteps (1998:322). Levy Strauss argues that it is unacceptable to discredit cold societies on the ground that their means of production are archaic… (1998:224).

    Foucault says that, the intrinsic “impurity” of what we call “reasonn-its embeddedness” in culture and society, its entanglement with power and interest, the historical variability of its categories and criteria, the embodied, sensuous, and practically engaged character of its bearers(McCarthy:1990). Foucault reject the Comtean picture of an autonomous rational subject set over against a world of objects which it seeks to represent and, through representing, to master. Foucault thinks reason, in its cognitive employment as well, is embedded in socio-cultural milieu.

    Comte uses his positive ideas of science to human sciences like sociology and claims that it is the science of society. He says, that like empirical sciences sociology can be quantified and mathematized. But Foucault says that to seek to align modern knowledge on the basis of mathematics is to subject to the single point of view of objectivity in the knowledge the question of the positivity of each branch of knowledge. Foucault says that both empirical and human sciences have the common root and ground and traces its connection in pre-enlightenment era.

    Comte like other natural scientists proposed that the ultimate aim of positivism is to seek ultimate truth and fact, which is a universal. The idea was more popularised by Durkheim in his Rules of Sociological Method where he discusses the right method of sociological research based on ultimate facts. Foucault main question is that, can there be any single universal truth? Foucault thinks the answer to be ‘no’, because truth is episteme bound, and what was true for one episteme may not be true for other. Foucault thinks that, like other practices, epistemic practices too have to be comprehended in their socio-cultural contexts. Thus it is in this sense; Foucault believes that the theory of knowledge is part of the theory of society, which is itself embedded in practical contexts, and in rather distinctive ways.

    Furthermore, Foucault is critical of the role that the social sciences and social scientifically trained “experts” have played in the process of “rationalization.” Foucault saw the rationality that came to prevail in modern society as an instrumental potential for extending our mastery over the physical and social worlds, a rationality of technique and calculation, of regulation and administration, in search of ever more effective forms of domination. Inasmuch as the human sciences have assisted mightily in forging and maintaining the bars of this “iron cage,” to use Max Weber’s phrase, they are a prime target for genealogical and dialectical critique.(McCarthy:1990).

    Since the Enlightenment, a history and idea of reasonhas always surfaced, and that is why Foucault says, “I think that the central issue of philosophy and critical thought since the eighteenth century has always been, still is, and will, I hope, remain the question: What is this Reason that we use? What are its historical effects?” Of course, in our own day, we have to add: “What are its limits and what are its dangers? How can we exist as rational beings, fortunately committed to practicing a rationality that is unfortunately crisscrossed by intrinsic danger(McCarthy:1990) Foucault that the answer to this questions are in genealogical histories, which stress the local and contingent aspects of prevailing forms of rationality rather than their universality.

    Each society, as Foucault puts it, “has its regime of truth,”‘ and genealogy is interested precisely in how we govern ourselves and others through its production. Focusing especially on the human sciences- the sciences of which “man” is the object -he examines the myriad ways in which power relations are both conditions and effects of the production of truth about human beings. In areas of inquiry ranging from psychiatry and medicine to penology and population studies, he uncovers the feedback relations that obtain between the power exercised over people to extract data from and about them (McCarthy: 1990).What separates this way from a universally oriented “analytic of truth” is an institutionalisation and rationalisation of knowledge such as psychiatry, criminology etc. thus Foucault basically points towards the knowledge-power nexus in the modern episteme.

    Along with Foucault other thinkers who are equally or even more critical of the rational and progressive knowledge of Comte are as follows- Freud, Nietzsche, Canguilheim, Levi- Strauss etc.

    Freud, we are living in a especially remarkable period. We find astonishment that progress has allied itself with barbarism. Nietzsche said, progress is merely a modern idea, that is to say a false idea (1998:326).Canguilheim says, It is however possible to reject evolutionism and the linear conception of progress without, hopefully, succumbing to the temptations of a retrograde naivety. We can that is, compare the history of different societies, or different states of the same society, I various ways and in accordance with several criteria. According to Levi-Strauss, so called primitive societies do not represent sates that have been transcended by the progress made by so-called civilized societies; they represent different solutions to analogous problems, and their value cannot be gauged by standards imported from outside (1998:324). Thus Levi Strauss has challenged the paradox of progressive ideology of civilized man, by pointing at the very moment when it was bringing destruction in the name of progress.

    In conclusion it can be said that the linear and progressive classification of modern knowledge by Comte is being rightfully rejected by Foucault and also by other like Canguilheim, because society cannot be only understood in terms of quantification and rationalism does not always moves towards a higher stage of human conversation, instead it can be said in the words of Canguilheim that, the dark side of enlightenment rationalism was the 15 hour working day for childrens.

    Bibliography

    (1) Foucault, M (1966) The Order of Things: an archaeology of human sciences. London. Tavistock Publications.

    (2) Gutting, G (1989) Michael Foucault’s Archaeology of Scientific Reason. Cambridge/New York. Cambridge University press.

    Articles

    (1) Canguilheim, H (1998) The Decline of the idea of progress’, Economy and Society (27, 2&3) pp 313-329.

    (2) Ludden, L (1971) Towards a reassessment of Comte’s Methode Positive’, Philosophy of Science, vol. 38, NO. 1. pp 35-53.

    (3) McCarthy, T (1990) The Critique of Impure Reason: Foucault and the Frankfurt School’, Political Theory, Vol. 18, No. 3. pp. 437-469

    (4) Acton, H.B (1951) Comte’s Positivism and the Science of Society’, Philosophy, Vol. 26, No. 99. pp. 291-310.

    The Dilemma of Nanotechnology – Science Vs. Ethics

    Tatiana Velitchkov asked:

    What is Nanotechnology and why should I care about it?

    Nanotechnology, referred to commonly as molecular manufacturing, is making huge strides within scientific and government communities. Despite its growth and the potential impact it will have on society at large, too little emphasis has been placed on the ethical considerations of nanotechnology and the ever-rippling effects of its applications.

    The control of molecular matter has led to amazing breakthroughs in medical treatments, which of course is a benefit to mankind. However, the military is hard at work creating powerful weapons that are no larger than any known bacteria. In addition, molecular level surveillance techniques for surreptitiously keeping track of other organizations and individuals are changing the face of military, law enforcement and humankind in general.

    Just like with human genome capability and stem cell research breakthroughs, scientists, governments and individuals need to weigh the obvious advantages of nanotechnology against the residual disadvantages. Although the power of nanotechnology is indisputable, the possibilities of irreversible harm from its indiscriminate use must also be taken into consideration.

    What are the Social and Ethical Implications of Nanotechnology?

    This is where social and ethical dilemmas present themselves. As life saving tools, nanotechnology is unsurpassed in its promise of an absolute revolution for medical treatment of previously incurable or untreatable conditions.

    Conversely, when this technology is used to manufacture miniature weapons or explosives the infinite possibilities of far-reaching repercussions is a very real prospect. Given that researchers fear that nano-machines can become self replicating, theories abound that their by-product, known in scientific circles as “the gray-goo scenario”, could result in unheard of havoc. In addition nanotechnology has the potential to erode our privacy and freedom by providing human rights violations via monitoring and tracking devices that can invade our everyday lives without our knowledge.

    For this reason the social and ethical issues relevant to nanotechnology must be addressed before its many technological innovations are unleashed upon society.

    Every action has a reaction and nanotechnology is no different. Whether the anticipated power of nanotechnology ever reaches fruition, as a society we must be prepared to deal with any fallout that may arise from its inception and universal acceptance.

    There is no doubt that development of nanotechnology and its many proven advantages, is going to continue, yet as a responsible society we must prepare a social policy that will address the benefits in correlation with the ethical consequences of it effect on life as we know it. Why should society be concerned with the Fallout?

    When trying to incorporate nano-technological advances into society, there are a myriad of items that require intensive study, such as: issues regarding equity of disbursement, privacy rights of individuals and/or corporations, security considerations, the effect on the environment and the social and ethical impact on the human race.

    As responsible humans who are concerned with passing a legacy of improvement down to upcoming generations, it is essential that we develop and create guidelines and working hypotheses that address the far reaching impact that nanotechnology can have on human lives and on the universe itself.

    Eco-friendly Credit Cards: Ethical Opportunity or Cash Cow for Banks?

    Caroline Poynton asked:

    In a capitalist market seemingly obsessed with profit, the green bandwagon suddenly appears rather ironically overloaded with corporates. Whether it be big brand retailers, such as Tesco, or technology giants, such as BSkyB, business now seems intent on winning the hearts and pockets of the environmentally-conscious consumer.

    Financial-services firms are the latest businesses to show a keen interest in the environment, with several banks now launching ‘green’ credit cards. Barclaycard, for instance, is introducing its ‘Breathe’ credit card in the summer. Made from PETG – a recyclable and more environmentally friendly alternative to the usual PVC – use of the card will also help generate funds for carbon-reduction projects. In the first year of its launch, Barclaycard has promised to donate £1m to environmental initiatives, with 50% of its profits from the card going to green causes thereafter. In addition, Breathe card holders can enjoy a preferential annual percentage rate (APR) of 5.9% on purchases of environmentally-friendly goods and services.

    Other banks are keen to compete. Virgin Money is also developing a green card, which it claims outdoes Barclaycard because it is bio-degradable rather then merely easily recyclable. The Co-operative bank has also long offered a range of affinity credit cards. With its Greenpeace card, for instance, the bank promises to donate £15 when you open the account, plus 25p for every £1 you spend on the card and 25p for every £100 you transfer to the card.

    It all sounds very nicely in tune with current concerns over climate change. But it seems unlikely that a bank would go green purely out of a shared concern for the planet. Factor in other evidence, such as recent announcements that both Virgin and Barclaycard intend to charge customers £10 and £20 respectively just for not using their credit cards and you begin to wonder – is there a catch to the banks’ swing to green?

    With growing interest in green issues, banks may wish to do something environmentally ethical if only to improve their brand reputation or consumer loyalty. There is, however, undoubtedly an opportunity for banks and other institutions to make an easy profit out of this burgeoning interest in the planet’s welfare. For instance, Barclaycard’s Breathe card has a typical APR of 14.9% (reduced to 5.9% on environmentally friendly products). This rate is below market average, but still not as good as some other offers currently in the market. Barclaycard’s own Simplicity credit card, for instance, has a best-buy rate of just 6.8% and there are still many opportunities in the market for 0% balance transfers, which may prove far better value than an eco-friendly card, if you don’t pay your balance off in full every month.

    You may be delighted to hear that you can now get a credit card which will make donations to charities that you care about at no cost to yourself. But you still need to carefully evaluate the different credit card options to ensure that you are getting the best deal. If your overriding concern is the environment, then you should consider whether the bank has a good track record generally on environmental and ethical issues. If not, you may wish to make your donations through another party. Alternatively, by choosing a cheap credit card deal with a different provider, you could use the savings to make donations directly to the environmental cause of your choice.

    “The environment is of prime concern to many people today, so seeing financial institutions donating to green causes will please many people,” said Sophie Neary, product director at BeatThatQuote.com. “You still need to be diligent in taking on any credit card, though. You need to weigh up all the benefits against any potential costs, whether those are higher rates or hidden fees. An eco-friendly card may not be the right option for everybody.”

    There is one clear positive aspect to these latest offerings though. Banks are listening to their customers like never before and while profit will always be the imperative, we consumers have never been in such a powerful position to drive the market in ways that suit our pockets, rather than the banks’.

    Book Review: "churchill & the Jews"

    C. Read asked:

    Martin Gilbert is a historical writing phenomenon; a historian without peer in many areas; and an intellectual giant in Churchilliana. Again he has produced another valuable niche product in the vast compendium of Churchill related works, this one centred on Churchill’s 70-year relationship with Jews, Zionism and post 1947 Israel. Even if you are not found of Churchill, the book should be read by those who desire to know more about the Middle East, the current Israeli-Arab struggle, and why in modern times, Israel was created as a backdrop to current events; Gilbert has produced a valuable canvass.

    I have read all of Gilbert’s works, and pretty much everything there is on Churchill, and this book served up two pleasant surprises. The first, is the not inconsiderable politically incorrect pro-Zionist narrative found in Gilbert’s prose acted out by Churchill’s 70-year affinity for the cause of ‘Jewishness’ and Zionism. When world ‘opinion’ and outrage is so consumed by sympathetic revisionism seen in pro-Arab, pro-Palestinian and extreme tolerance towards all things Muslim, it is heartening to read intelligent reality based commentary which disavows genuflection to the Arab-Islmaic-Mulit-Cult, anti-modern program. The second surprise was to read of Churchill’s constancy in his support of Jews, in spite of political opprobrium over so many decades. He even once described Judaic ethics as, “incomparable the most precious possession of mankind, worth in fact the fruits of all other wisdom and learning put together.” The gutless political wonders of today wouldn’t have the courage or intellectual understanding to utter such a thing. Besides the Arab feminist gay vote would cry and be pouty. It takes a rare man to stand so long on principle even as political and public ‘opinion’ support erodes.

    But neither Churchill nor Gilbert are ordinary men. Churchill’s career, as Gilbert highlights, is one intertwined with, and supportive of, ‘Jews’ and Zionism, especially the idea of a Jewish home, where the long persecuted race could find security and safety. Churchill always rejected, ‘the anti-semitic lines of prejudice’ both in and outside Britain, feeling that with applied intelligence and patience, Jews and Arabs could peaceably prosper in a flourishing and modern Palestine. Unfortunately the Arabs then as now, show little inclination to live in the modern world.

    From 1904 to 1908 Churchill, the 30 to 34 year old politician represented a minority Jewish constituency in Manchester. Jewish concerns were thus imprinted upon Churchill’s world view early in his career. As Gilbert elaborates, Churchill during his lifetime had many Jewish friends, publishers, researchers, political allies, and even financiers. (Churchill almost went bankrupt in the 1930’s, saved by the intervention of some notable Jewish families). As a Cabinet Minister in 1921 and 1922, charged with determining the future status of a Jewish home in Palestine; through World War Two and the holocaust, as Prime Minister from 1951-1956; and as a historian puzzling over the relationship between Jews and Arabs; Churchill was profoundly associated with Jewish concerns and the complexity of Arab Jew interaction in Palestine.

    Though fond of Jews (and too fond according to one critic), Churchill was at times evisceratingly critical of Jewish extremism or inflexibility. Not surprisingly Churchill knew of the depth of Jewish leadership in the Russian bolshevist movement (all top Bolsheviks, including Lenin were indeed at least partially Jewish), calling upon Jewish leaders to denounce bolshevism and instead elevate true Jewish ethics instead. Likewise during the 1930s and 1940s, when fringe Jewish terrorist groups were attacking and murdering British Subjects and innocents in the Palestine mandate, Churchill adjured Jewish leaders to strike down such evil elements lest a Jewish home became a political and social impossibility.

    In short, if you analyze his career and statements, Churchill was not Hitler’s caricature of a drunken, Jewish knave, promoting capitalism as the smiling, materialistic face of neo-imperialist slavery. He was instead a politician who believed in the Judeo-Christian tradition and who had the power to help realize Britain’s 1917 Balfour Declaration guaranteeing Jews a Palestinian home (done to gain support of Jews in Russia and America to prosecute the war against Wilhelmina Germany). If you look at the historical record, the Jews owe Israel’s very existence, at least in part, to Churchill’s exertions.

    In 1922 Churchill as a Cabinet Minister responsible for Palestine, produced the Churchill White paper; which laid the foundation of an Israeli State. Churchill’s White Paper, which addressed the partition of Britain’s mandate between Arabs and Jews (Palestinians were a separate ‘people’ created by the U.N. and Arabs circa 1967), was decidedly pro-Zionist, allocating perhaps 12% of the mandate to the Jews and 88%, including present day Jordan, some of Syria, and current ‘Palestinian’ holdings to the Arabs. In terms of geographical coverage the Arabs won in terms of legitimacy, the Jews had their necessary and powerful, political support. Churchill’s plan was to increase civilizational development for 1000 years. As Churchill commented, the Arabs had done nothing with the land. As Jews increased from 80,000 people in 1922, economic development would dictate the levels of Jewish emigration. It was Churchill’s hope that the 500,000 Arab residents in 1922 would not feel overwhelmed by a rising Jewish population.

    As it turned out he need not have worried. By 1948 the Arab population in the British Mandate had tripled from 1922 levels to 1.5 million. The Jewish population had surged to about 800,000. Upon declaring statehood in 1948, post-British withdrawal, the tiny Jewish State was attacked by 5 Arab States with 50 times the population. Israel survived of course, humiliating the Arab armies. (It is a cautionary tale. However, for those who chatter about precipitate withdrawal from Iraq or Afghanistan, those Western allied governments will simply collapse if the West exits).

    Gilbert’s book is in many ways required reading for our days and times. There is nothing wrong as Churchill’s example attests to, of having constancy and moral purpose in politics. Defending the Jews- a vital part of Western civilization- is noble and just. Affirming blame to Arab-Islamic intolerance when analyzing Middle-Eastern affairs is necessary and justified. Learning from Churchill, from history, and from cultural precedents is also to be embraced.

    How to Have an Ethical Christmas

    everyclick.com asked:

    If Christmas really is the season of peace and goodwill why not start planning now to make it a truly ethical occasion for yourself and your loved ones?

    Charitable gestures in this season of giving are so easy to make at a cost which would even have Scrooge smiling with approval.

    Just what does the way you wish someone a happy Christmas say about you? Old traditions die hard and it seems that writing a few scrawled clichés on a Hallmark greetings card is still the favoured method of most Brits.

    The Royal Mail delivers as many as 150 million cards per day in the pre-Christmas run up but it is a sobering thought that these cards can take up to 30 years to decompose.

    So why not send an ecard (an email wishing someone well) instead? You can actually make them more personal than a shop-bought card by pasting in a scene from a famous Christmas film (what about Jimmy Stewart’s It’s A Wonderful Life?) and using PhotoShop to superimpose a speech bubble with your greeting.

    Charity Christmas cards are a fine alternative if this idea doesn’t appeal.

    Cards that you receive can be recycled by organisations such as the Woodland Trust.

    A compost bin can be a good Yuletide investment which will help you recycle much of the waste that the festivities generate.

    If you’re dreaming of a green Christmas it is best to buy presents which don’t harm the environment. Buying the adoption rights to an animal can prove to be a great gift and what better time of the year can it be for adopting a reindeer?

    For just £32 a year you can adopt a Cairngorm Mountain reindeer and receive photos, souvenirs and newsletters. The money will be well-spent on food and welfare (in the form of medicine and vets’ fees) for these magnificent creatures.

    Polar bears can be adopted even more cheaply. For as little as £3 per month the World Wildlife Fund will let you adopt one of these Arctic animals.

    It doesn’t take much imagination to decorate your house without ruining the planet. Plastic trees are not environmentally-friendly so you could always grow your own holly tree instead of supporting the trade in holly branches. Put seeds, a compost pellet and a terracotta pot on your Christmas list and watch your green credentials grow!

    If it’s too late to do this in time for the big day, you can always contact Oxfam and make a donation so that a tree can be planted in a developing country.

    No decent Christmas is complete without the chance to gorge yourself on food before slumping in front of the Queen’s speech with a paper crown on your head. Buying your choice of dinner locally, perhaps at farmers’ markets, is a sure-fire way of ticking the right green boxes.

    With time off work, Christmas is a time to reflect on those less fortunate than themselves. You can always bring some seasonal cheer by buying an Everyclick eVoucher to give to someone to donate to their favourite charity before the year is out.

    Trends Impacting the Ethical and Sustainable Packaging Market

    Bharat Book Bureau asked:

    Ethical product development is now a major issue in the industry, and this trend includes the use and promotion of sustainable packaging formats. Ethical packaging is being driven by consumer environmental concern, retailer pressure and the development and promotion of manufacturer CSR. Retailers and manufacturers must be seen to be contributing to a greener and more sustainable way of life by the media, the industry and consumers alike. To remain competitive, retain consumer loyalty and be innovative, retailers and food and drinks manufacturers need to invest in ethical policies by either developing products in ethical packaging or promoting and reminding consumers to act ethically and responsibly.

    Trends in Ethical and Sustainable Packaging is a new management report that examines the new innovations in ethical and sustainable packaging by category, region and material. It profiles major innovations within ethical and sustainable food and drinks packaging, including the latest packaging technologies and materials.

    Discover the key trends impacting the ethical and sustainable packaging market and understand how these are changing packaging design with this new report…

    This new report will enable you to

    Gain insight into industry opinions on the usage and future of ethical and sustainable packaging through an exclusive survey of industry executives carried.

    Create more effective competitive strategies with this reports detailed analysis of packaging technologies including recyclable, lightweight, biodegradable and packaging from natural sources. Evalualte the pro’s and con’s of these packaging innovations and decide whether these may be appropriate for your organisation.

    Improve targeting and the effectiveness of your NPD strategies with this report’s analysis of Productscan data of over 6,000 ethical and sustainable packaging product launches between 2005 and 2008. Detailed analysis of leading ethical packaging types and insights into key regions and packaging materials.

    Your questions answered…

    To what extent should manufacturers and retailers be investing in ethical and sustainable packaging?

    Which countries are driving NPD in ethical and sustainable packaging?

    What are the most innovative forms of ethical packaging?

    How will packaging regulation affect NPD in ethical and sustainable packaging?

    How are key players, including Wal-Mart and PepsiCo investing in ethical and sustainable packaging?

    What is driving the trend of ethical and sustainable packaging?

    Some key findings from this report…

    Packaging from natural sources is a key ethical innovation. Other leading innovations include biodegradable, lightweight and packaging made from recycled sources.

    There has been an increase in the share of food and drinks launched in ethical packaging between 2004-2007. Within this share recyclable took the greatest share with 89.5% in 2007. However the largest growth was seen in biodegradable packaging and packaging made from recyclable materials.

    53.5% of industry executives believe that recyclable packaging will be significantly important or the most important ethical packaging innovation over the next 5 years. 37.5% believe reduced packaging will be the most important.

    Leading retailers are investing in ethical packaging initiatives. This includes Wal-Mart who has pledged to eliminate all private label packaging waste by 2010, with a look to have zero packaging waste land filled by 2025.

    For more reports of your interest, please visit the following link: http://www.bharatbook.com/Market-Research/Packaging.html

    Or

    Contact us at:

    Bharat Book Bureau

    207, Hermes Atrium, Sector 11, PO Box.54, CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai – 400 614, India.

    Phone : +91 22 2757 8668 / 2757 9438

    Fax : +91 22 2757 9131

    E-mail : info@bharatbook.com

    Website : www.bharatbook.com

    Things We are not Suppose to Admit

    Janet Atwell asked:

    My children are grown. My daughter will soon be 31, she has two daughters that are 9 and 10, and my son just turned 25 a couple of months ago, he has a 2-year-old son. I have been watching them with their children and I see many of the parental characteristics in them that I saw in myself and their father. Some of which were wrong!

    We all make mistakes of course but to see them repeated by our children is the ultimate slap in the face. We hope that we have taught them better. We had hoped that we were honest enough to tell our kids, “Hey, I was wrong when I did such and such, don’t repeat that mistake.” In many respects, I have done just that. I try to keep my mouth shut as the kids are dealing with their own children and talk to them when the grandkids are not around. It is hard; but, (for the most part), I have been able to do just that.

    On occasion, I find myself compelled to contradict my children in front of my grandchildren. They resent it of course but how can you sit by and see those little faces in such emotional stress when Daddy or Mommy is harping about something that we ourselves harped over, knowing that we, and in their turn, our children are also wrong. Especially if a spanking or sitting in a corner is involved.

    My daughter does not spank. My son does. My daughter admits that there were times when the spankings she got were the only thing that prevented her from doing other things later on. My son remembers, and resents, every spanking he ever got. (In his memory, there were more than he actually got and they were each more severe than in reality.) He swears that they never helped him or hindered him in any way.

    As I watch my children, especially my daughter, with their own kids I find myself wondering about the values they are teaching them. For example I do not at any time remember telling my kids, “You are (or, I am) no better than anyone else.” I never said to them, “I don’t care what others think of me.” Although I did say, “Don’t be concerned about what people call you; be concerned about what names you answer to.”

    Recently I found myself asking my daughter about this ‘You aren’t any better than anyone else’ thing. Her response was, “Well they aren’t Mom and neither are any of the rest of us.”

    I realize, of course, that the context of my daughter’s statement has a lot to do with what she is trying to teach my grandchildren but in this case, it was not to reprimand a prejudice against a person that was poorer than my granddaughter or another color or not quite as smart as she is. (This particular granddaughter is a genius.) It was in reference to a bully of sorts that my granddaughter had denied the permission to come to a sleepover party. This bully happens to be the daughter of one of, my very much younger, first cousins.

    “I have to argue with that ‘You are no better’ comment. I am better than a lot of people and not quite as good as others.” I told my eldest child. She appeared somewhat shocked by this statement.

    “Mom! How can you stand here with your certificate of ordination hanging above your head and say such a thing?” she wailed.

    “How can you sit there and put yourself, or more to the point, my granddaughter in the same class with a bully?” was my response.

    That is the key to my argument with statements such as these. I am better than say the rapist, the murderer, the liar. I do not rape, murder, molest children, (or adults for that matter) or lie just to hear my own voice the way some do. I would never rape, molest or lie just to hear my own voice under any circumstances. In fact, my children used to warn all their friends and their friends parents that before asking me a question, on any subject at all, they should first ask themselves if they really wanted the answer, because I would give it to them even if it hurt one of us. It was a point of pride for both me and my children.

    Of the four things mentioned in the paragraph above, (as you may have noticed) there is only one of which I feel that I might be induced into committing. That one is murder. Yes, murder is something that I am quite capable of committing. If my life or the life and or safety of my loved ones were threatened, I could and would kill. In my mind, I would justify it as self-defense or defense of that loved one but it would still in effect be murder. “Thou shall not kill.” says the Bible. The Bible never makes any reference to self-defense, it does not say, “Thou shall not kill unless thou art threatened.” Therefore, no matter how I lived with the act on a personal level, it would still in effect be murder. That is beside the point.

    The point is that I am better than some people. I am not as good as others. I know a couple of people that would give their lives for others. We have several of our young people doing just that every day. More now, with the war in the Middle East. I would not. I do not agree with this war. I did not agree with it from the start. I do not know how I would feel or how I would react to a war that I felt justified. I am not young enough to be involved and have never faced such a situation in my youth.

    I know people that will give the last morsel of food that they have to a person in need, even when they themselves are hungry. I am not one of those people.

    That is not to say that I have not given to the needy, I have. I have even given most of what I have to someone in need before. I was not hungry at the time and I did retain enough food to sustain myself, in comfort, until I could get more. So yes, I think that those people that would have given all that they had in the same situation are better than me. I am glad that they exist because they give us all hope. I wish I was one of them but the fact that I am not is something that I have to live with and accept.

    As for the, “I don’t care what others think of me” statement, who do we think we are kidding when we say that? I care what others think of me. I care that just before this paragraph I admitted to something I consider a character flaw in myself and that you are reading it and could have thought better of me had I not admitted it.

    I remember a time when my daughter came home each day from school crying. I discovered, after a lot of cajoling and digging, that she was being teased by a group of what was then called, ‘the preps’. Apparently they had discovered that my daughter was not in fact one of them even though they had accepted her during the previous two years of school. You see I was a truck driver. It would have been different if I had worked in an office and my husband had driven a truck but the facts were that my husband had no interest in working at all and that I was the breadwinner of the family.

    I had worked in an office for several years. One of the biggest law firms in Chicago in fact. I had been a litigation expert. However, it did not pay well enough. I had another full time job at the same time, working nights in a 24-hour veterinary clinic and kennel. I also waited tables on the weekends and still, when it came time to send my daughter to junior high, I was unwilling to send her to the local public school and could not afford private schooling. I had to do something and there was no time left in my weeks for yet a fourth job. I studied chemistry and got a job cleaning up and hauling hazardous waste, the highest paying position I could find.

    Being self educated and terrible at math, the chemistry did not come easy to me. The driving was something that I was not exactly a natural at. Nevertheless, I found it was necessary and we do what we must when it is for our children. I was proud of my accomplishment. My daughter was harassed because of it.

    I won’t tell you what the general opinion of a woman driving a truck alone was; it was nasty and not relevant to this writing. The fact is that while my daughter now tells her children that she doesn’t care what others think about her and they shouldn’t care what they are called either, she did care about what I was called when she was even older than they are now.

    In my work on a community newspaper recently, I found myself in a position where I was able to interview several of the more prominent members of the community, members of the community that seemed to be involved with every volunteer project that came along. (I was involved in quite a few myself.) Those that allowed themselves the luxury of being honest, (after I promised not to reveal any names) admitted that they had not actually considered it consciously but that yes, they started getting involved in community affairs to be thought of as ‘better people’ by the ‘regular’ members of the community.

    One person, whom shall remain nameless, admitted that he became involved in community volunteer work because he intended to be the mayor of a certain community when he retired. He is the mayor of that community.

    One exceptionally honest member of a volunteer committee even admitted that she joined a local church and appeared devout specifically to be thought better of by others.

    The bottom line is that most of us do care what others think of us. Some of us do nothing to raise the opinion of others about ourselves and some of us do. Some of us will hear a nasty name called and wonder if it is directed at us and be bothered about it. Some of us will hear a nasty name and be bothered knowing it is directed at us and others will hear a nasty name, know it is for them and not care at all.

    I am glad to be among one of those that care, it makes me a better person.

    Business Ethics: Why They Are Important For a Company and Its Success

    Martha Vasquez asked:

    Business ethics is an interesting branch of business theory, primarily because of the fact that they are inherently interesting in a market economy. People tend to be extremely distrustful of corporations in market economies and the bigger they are, the worse that problem of trust usually gets. Business ethics therefore are politically charged in many different circumstances and that in turn serves to make them interesting. Aside from this academic interest however, business ethics are also important for a company and its success. Here are some ways in which this is true.

    Public Image

    It is impossible to discuss business ethics as a branch of academia without taking a look at the relationship between business ethics and public image. Each corporation has a particular public image, which represents the way in which the public views the corporation. Wal-Mart, for example, has a terrible public image. Toyota, on the other hand, has a very positive one. These public images are the result of a number of different things, but they are primarily the result of the way in which a corporation acts with respect to the different things around it.

    A corporation’s environmental policy, the way they treat their employees and the way they treat the communities they exist in are all part of their overall behavior and this in turn is the principle factor in determining their public image. As proof of this, you will notice that even though Wal-Mart makes products that have a decent quality and an extremely low price, they still have a negative public image.

    Since public image is largely a result of company behavior, business ethics play a large role in determining public image since they determine behavior. And public image is important to success in most cases, which is one of the reasons as to why business ethics are important to a company’s overall success.

    Investment

    Another reason that business ethics are important is the relationship they have to investment. When a person or an entity is considering investment in a particular stock, there are a number of things they take into account. Aside from the quantitative factors surrounding a company’s profit margin a future prospects, consideration is also given to a particular company from the point of view of the qualitative aspects such as their public image and the products that they happen to sell. All of these things are taken into account before the final investment is made.

    Therefore, a company that would like to encourage extra investment is a company that has a strong sense of business ethics. Part of business ethics is responsibility to the investor and for that reason companies with strong reputations in the field of ethical business behavior are also companies that tend to attract more investment from people that are new into the market. Investment is most definitely important to success.

    Partnerships

    In the business world, joint ventures happen all the time. They happen all the time because they are ultimately of great importance to the bottom lines of businesses. A business can be made or broken on just one joint venture and part of the reason that joint ventures are successful is that they combine the forces of two extremely powerful companies on occasion.

    If you want your company to do well in joint ventures, then you need to have good partners. The only way to get good partners is to have a good reputation both in terms of a track record and in terms of your business overall. And of course, the best way to get a good reputation is to ensure that your company has a strong tradition of ethical business behavior.

    Importance of Ethical SEO Techniques

    Avdhesh asked:

    Hundreds and thousands of people have made use of the Internet in a variety of ways, each in an attempt to subjugate its great power and potential to give profit and gain to users and businessmen. However, alongside the aims of these hardworking innovators and entrepreneurs are people who simply want to extort as much money from people in exchange for dubious products and services.

    Web content is brought to a potential user by means of either direct recall of a particular service provider’s website, or by blind searches done on various Internet search engine platforms made available by Internet software giants. By entering words, known as ‘keywords’ relevant to the desired information, product, or service, into the search field, users can employ these blind searches to look for content closest to what they are looking for.

    As is the practice, a search engine usually produces a list of websites matching the keywords provided by the user to a degree of relevance. These are ranked by relevance, quality of content, and sometimes, ‘visitor votes’ that come in the form of a measure of frequency of visits by people who usually find the content useful to them.

    SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a method used by many businesses and entrepreneurs online in order to maximize the potential of the search engine by helping them rise in the ranks of the query response listings. SEO usually deals with organic searches, or those that need no payment to be listed among the list of likely matches to a client’s keywords, as well as crawler search engines, which are search engines that literally crawl through web pages in search of relevant links and relations between pages in order to find relevant content.

    Dubious figures in the Internet, however, have made use of the Internet to forward their own selfish desires, leading to an unethical use of the brilliant SEO model. This has led to a divergent field of SEO, called “black hat SEO”. In this method, various deceptive schemes are used in order to manipulate search engines and dupe customers by providing them with websites that are completely useless. This method is also called “spamdexing”.

    Ethical SEO techniques also exist in the Internet. Before even going into details, the most important ideal behind ethical SEO techniques is in providing better service to clients, and allowing this satisfaction to become key in promoting the website.

    What does it take for a method to become an ethical SEO technique?

    There are various ways under the central guideline to achieve them.

    The first one is creating quality content for the users. After all, no ethical SEO technique tries to get the better of any customer, or even harm them to the slightest extent. By providing quality content, users receive useful, timely, and secured information when they need it.

    In order for that to be achieved, no amount of exaggeration or manipulation of the nature and content of the website is done to lead customers into believing that it contains the website relevant to their query. Ethical SEO does not employ any method that will mislead the customer into a site, and even offend the customer once he or she has found his or her way into the website.

    Moreover, ethical SEO techniques do not, in any way, violate any laws as regards intellectual property rights, international law, or spamming laws implemented at every level of every way. This would include not claiming for their own products and services that are not theirs to sell or produce just so they can fool users into providing sensitive information through which they can extort money.

    A website employing ethical SEO techniques will never try to exaggerate and reflect a company’s image any more than how it should be portrayed; doing so, in effect, manipulates the customer into trusting a company based on falsity.

    Relevant to various security issues existent on the Internet, one last measure of how ethical a SEO technique is lies in the protection of its customers on the basis of privacy agreements. In providing the service sought by the client, ethical SEO techniques protect the confidentiality and sensitivity of the information made known to them in confidence by their clients.

    Both goals aim to achieve the same end of profit. However, the road diverges and one must pick one over the other. In the end, ethical SEO techniques allow for users to maximize the profit they pay without impinging on the rights of other people an manipulating others; this by far is the best option to go.

    www.outsourcingseosolutions is a company that provides ethical and modern search engine optimization solution. Outsourcing SEO solutions is very cheap and effective search engine optimization company.

    Jumping High for the Internal Client

    Gloria Rubaine asked:

    The internal client, we all have them.   They’re our co-workers, colleagues, bosses, staff, assistants and employees.   They may be brilliant experts in their own right or not, but if they are not working for each other, the results for company, clients and staff are simply not encouraging and could be downright disastrous.

    One of the greatest causes of frustration and low morale is the apparent or perceived lack of co-operation and harmony between workers, management, divisions.  What is the cause of this?

    a)      Unclear job descriptions /mandate which are not complimentary to others. This leads to a wrong perception of others’ duties.

    b)      Staff who write their own job description often prioritizing irrelevant tasks and going off on a tangent.   

    c)      Management favouritism and nepotism.

    d)      Jealousy

    e)      Lack of tact and communication skills.

    f)        Poor work ethics.

    g)      Arrogance and narcissism.

    h)      Formation of cliques and the “in” crowd.

    i)        Management example and company culture.

     Let us have a look at some of the personalities of the internal client and the dynamics of why they do or do not receive customer service and support from their colleagues.

    The Delegator

    This individual has definite views as to what they are supposed to do.  Many tasks are considered beneath them.  For the most part, one can find this person in the management structure, a junior or middle manager but is not necessarily restricted to this level.  While delegation is an important attribute for any manager, the Delegator is a master at this and takes this to an alarming level, delegating most of the incoming workload, without any regard for the time available, skill set and authorization level of the person being delegated to.   Needless to say, if the assignment is not done well, the delegator has someone to blame it on, and if it’s a resounding success,  accepts the praise without passing it on to the real author of the assignment.   Often this person is part of the “inner circle” and has greater access to the executive level, presenting themselves as dedicated achievers.    Staff and coworkers, seeing the futility of working for or with the delegator, feel used, overworked, and unappreciated.   Why would they jump “how high” for this person?  

    Eventually, the delegator is taken to task by their manager or executive, who will start to wonder what work they are doing themselves and will even re-examine the delegator’s qualifications.   Management may well end up cutting this job, at least for a while. 

    The Assistant

    Their job is usually defined by their direct manager.  Usually highly skilled in Microsoft office programs and other computer applications, they often put a professional face on many of the company documents both external and internal.   Normally, they are asked to participate in organizing company functions and meetings, and generally do a great job with these tasks.   Power and influence does come  to the assistant, as several administrative tasks are performed, leading to enforcing regulations, approving expense reports,  stationery purchases, etc.    By the very nature of their job, they have a close, working relationship with an authoritative figure, perhaps  a CEO or senior manager tor,  and are intensely responsive and efficient for this person, but rarely for anyone else.  

    Valued as they may be,  this person sometimes develops poor communication skills, and a lack of tact when dealing with anyone outside “the in crowd”  If the assistant doesn’t like someone, then that unfortunate person will have delays and a lack of co-operation on anything that comes near to the assistant, quite often without recourse.  Their emails and written communications sometimes become unpleasant and demanding, resulting in the annoyance of the receiver, no matter who they are.

    This is the tendency not only for assistants’ to directors, but also for those in Inside Sales or Sales support, wherein the assistant has a mandate to work with several people but really focuses on their boss, often going as far as re-writing their job description (unofficially), so that the rest of the company thinks that they’re doing something that they are not.  Their new self imposed job could well be make work projects with little real relevancy to their department and colleagues, therefore not attending to their perceived duties. The assistant, therefore does “jump high” but only for a small, select group within the organization who are probably unlikely (by the nature of their relationship) to reciprocate.

    The Timekeeper

    Arriving exactly at start-time and leaving at the official end of the working day, the Timekeeper religiously takes only their designated lunch and breaks at the official times.   Generally a good worker, attending to the day’s tasks, this person is not the one you want on your team when there is a company disaster or project in the making with crazy deadlines.   They perceive themselves as good employees and in one way they are but they live by the time stamp.  

    When everyone else around them however is staying late or coming in early to achieve something important to the company and the employees’ jobs, the Timekeeper may well lose the trust and validation of their coworkers and management.   They may not have done anything wrong, but they are not seen as being passionate about anything including their company.   This personality builds a box around themselves that they are comfortable with and everyone else let’s them stay there.   The timekeeper is unlikely to “jump how high” and that attitude is universally returned.

    The Politician

    Ambitious and narcissistic, the politician sees themselves as a player in the organization, and makes all the correct alliances with those in management, who can fast track their career.   Everyone has tasks that are boring or unnoticeable, but this person will only apply themselves to a project that will do something for them.   The politician expects to be rewarded in some way, for everything.  Normally sociable and charming, the politician will attend every function in order to be noticed or profiled.  

    Politicking is time consuming however, and the politician is often quite a delegator, taking the praise and none of the blame.  This type of person however is extremely transparent, flocks only to birds of the same feather and is perceived as self –serving. Who would “jump how high” to further the politician’s climb up the ladder?   

    The Chosen one

    This person is the one on the fast track, the mover and the shaker, and the one company does not want to lose.

    The Chosen one always has the best assignments, the project with the greatest investment and likeliness to succeed.  They have access to the authority within the company and are nearly always one of the “inner circle”.   Wages and perks are good, and it’s perceived by co-workers as probably more.   A smart management will ensure that this person has earned a Fast Track, fair and square.

    Heaven help the company when The Chosen One is not what management thinks they are.  If this person got on the Fast Track, due to sheer luck,  being in the right place at the right time, stealing someone else’s account or making another person look bad,
     many of the co-workers, sometimes in key positions, will be furious and jealous (including those that The Chosen One will have to rely on).

    Jealousy is one of the most destructive emotions a human can have, and there well be more sabotage than “jumping high”.  Alternatively, if the Chosen One is a positive personality, having demonstrated their commitment and performance, they are likely to have one of the highest levels of co-operation and support from their colleagues.

    The Good Guy/Gal

    Ever smiling and affable, everyone likes this person.   Birthdays are remembered, and congratulations are offered.   This person is a friend, whether they are a manager or not.

    There are difficulties however.   If in a management position, they may be seen as too nice, and not strong enough to enforce anything or to make the tough decision, eventually over time resulting in an ineffective manager.

    The Good Guy/Gal however can get away with a lot of things.  They can easily develop poor work ethics, unofficially rewrite their own job descriptions, or in fact be just plain lousy at their job.  No one will complain about their friend and confidant.   There could in fact be quite a lot of “jumping high” .for a while…..to please, support and help this person.    The problem is that the Good Guy/Gal is not the only person in the company, requiring answers, support, help, and attention.   If Good Guy/Gal has over used the good will of colleagues and staff, it will dry up eventually and not be forthcoming when it really matters.

    The Rule Keeper

    We all need this personality. They follow and enforce the company procedures, job descriptions and regulations with almost religious fervour, sometimes forestalling internal failures by their methodology and knowledge of the company “machinery’.     Yet there is very little room for creative problem solving or reacting to a new situation that has not been documented or processed before.

    Seen as a bureaucrat, this person will not step outside the confines of their duties, and will be defined them.   “It’s not my job” is a common line issued by the Rule Keeper and the buck may be passed to someone else.  Nevertheless, this person tends to be quite fair in their dealings with their co-workers, generally delivering the same level of support and responsiveness.    Whether efficient or not, fast or slow, the Rule Keeper will seldom be asked to perform outside of their “box” or “jump high” nor are they likely to ask this of anyone else.  In the changing business environment and current economic disaster, this could be a problem.

    What to do?

    These personalities are found in every organization in varying degrees.   They have all positive and negative aspects, and see themselves as the brilliant employee.   Expecting them to fix themselves therefore is futile.  They also are internal clients.  Management and Human Resources would have to do something , presuming that they recognize the need to address this issue.

    In order to have people behave in a certain way, one needs to place them in a set of unique circumstances and situations that create the behaviour patterns that are desired.  Performance expectations should therefore be closely aligned to the ability to work with and tap into the other networks of the company.  The rewards given to the performance of the team should be more significant than those for the individual.    Job descriptions should include a workable methodology of interaction between departments and functions so that they clearly demonstrate how the company networks and interacts internally.    

    A Company culture of teamwork and responsibility to each other is a must and there are many ways, this can be achieved.  Management can lead by example.  If someone sees their manager and their managers’ manager, “jumping high” for a client, internal or external, they will receive this positive message.   

    How people in an organization “jump high” for each other, is truly indicative of how they are “jumping high” for the customer.   

    Gloria Rubaine

    Second Review Business Analysts

    Leadership Ethics

    Pierre Du Plessis asked:

    Here are a few things to ponder on about leadership ethics and our own individual position with regard to these principles:

    1. General Douglas MacArthur’s Leadership Principles:

    MacArthur developed a list of questions to guide him in his leadership duties. These principles can be applied to any leadership situation.

    1. Do I heckle my subordinates or strengthen and encourage them?

    2. Do I use moral courage in getting rid of subordinates who have proven themselves beyond doubt to be unfit?

    3. Have I done all in my power by encouragement, incentive and spur to salvage the weak and erring?

    4. Do I know by NAME and CHARACTER a maximum number of subordinates for whom I am responsible? Do I know them intimately?

    5. Am I thoroughly familiar with the technique, necessities, objectives and administration of my job?

    6. Do I lose my temper at individuals?

    7. Do I act in such a way as to make my subordinates WANT to follow me?

    8. Do I delegate tasks that should be mine?

    9. Do I arrogate everything to myself and delegate nothing?

    10. Do I develop my subordinates by placing on each one as much responsibility as he can stand?

    11. Am I interested in the personal welfare of each of my subordinates, as if he were a member of my family?

    12. Have I the calmness of voice and manner to inspire confidence, or am I inclined to irascibility and excitability?

    13. Am I a constant example to my subordinates in character, dress, deportment and courtesy?

    14. Am I inclined to be nice to my superiors and mean to my subordinates?

    15. Is my door open to my subordinates?

    16. Do I think more of POSITION than JOB?

    17. Do I correct a subordinate in front of others?

    Source: The West Point Way of Leadership by Col. Larry R. Donnithorne

    2. Doing things differently:

    Anyone can become a leader. All the characteristics and traits of leadership can be acquired through learning and practice.

    Leadership is not synonymous with assertiveness, despotic behaviour or managerial position.

    Assertiveness is a good quality only if it can be backed up by respect. Respect stems from various sources as outlined lower down on this page.

    Management is about doing things efficiently. Leadership is about doing things differently, in new ways, in better ways. Leadership is about lateral thinking, being innovative and creative.

    Leadership is not limited to the top echelon in an organisation. Any person in an organisation, who can differentiate him or her self by being inventive, can be a leader. If you display inventiveness, others will follow your direction naturally out of respect.

    Leadership does not follow lines of authority. More often than not, creativity stems from the floor level nearest to the processes and problems. Leadership is therefore by no means limited to the formal structure of supervisory and managerial positions.

    The role of leadership can be earned in many ways, small or big. For instance, you can display leadership and earn respect from others in the following ways:

    1. Expert or superior knowledge about a subject or something

    2. Excellence in execution of tasks

    3. Positive attitude, high morale

    4. High ethical values and codes of conduct

    5. Good human relations

    6. Streamlining paper work, production, methods, your use of time

    7. Being innovative or creative

    Innovativeness usually results in bigger leaps with more benefits and profits. It can therefore be most profitable for an employer to cultivate, encourage and support the development of creativity and risk taking in all employees.

    Therefore, the most important quality to develop and the fastest way in order to become a leader, is through creativity.

    3. Other needed characteristics:

    3.1 Leadership traits:

    You will also have to foster the following traits to retain respect:

    1. Loyalty

    2. Willingness to stand out, differentiate yourself, risk being rejected by being different.

    3. Determination and perseverance to push through your own ideas.

    4. Improvement drive – desire to find better ways of doing things, curiosity.

    5. Questioning mind – not accepting authority, willingness to challenge the status quo.

    6. Self-belief – believing that you can think for yourself and devise a better way.

    7. Thick skin – being able to withstand criticism and recover from setbacks.

    8. Learning from mistakes – being prepared to try things to find what works.

    9. Trustworthiness – keeping your word, being honest.

    10. Delivering on promises – like being trustworthy, you deliver what you promise.

    11. Treating people with respect and fairness.

    12. Not deliberately harming others.

    13. Dedication to improving the lot of those you represent.

    14. Management skills – the ability to get things done efficiently.

    15. Strong influence skills

    16. The ability to convey a compelling vision of the future.

    These characteristics can be either classified under ethics or managerial skills. How do these characteristics compare with entrepreneurial traits?

    3.2 The psychological traits of entrepreneurs:

    1. Desire to perform

    2. Drive, determination and energy

    3. Goal orientation

    4. Time conscious

    5. Self-motivated

    6. Self-control

    7. Can make decisions in situations of lack of information or uncertainty

    8. Take calculated risks

    9. Positive self-image

    10. Creative and innovative capabilities (imaginative and real)

    11. High ethical standards about integrity and trustworthiness

    12. Intelligence

    13. Individualistic

    14. More task than human oriented

    15. Flourish on feedback

    16. Take initiative and responsibility for their actions

    17. Objective and optimistic

    18. Profit is a measure of success

    4. Gene Autry’s Cowboy Code of Ethics:

    1. The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.

    2. He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.

    3. He must always tell the truth.

    4. He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.

    5. He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.

    6. He must help people in distress.

    7. He must be a good worker.

    8. He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.

    9. He must respect women, parents, and his nation’s laws.

    10. The Cowboy is a patriot.

    Ethics is about morality in a civilised world. It is about internalised values of the individual. It is about civilised behaviour versus barbaric behaviour. It is about human behaviour versus animal behaviour. It is about civilised human behaviour on the one end versus barbaric animal behaviour on the other end of the scale.

    Leadership ethics is all about where you are between the two extremes as an individual, as a worker and as a leader.

    In pursuing the traits of leadership ethics with the aim of internalising the principles of leadership ethics, it will be worthwhile to try and follow all the principles outlined above.

    What is Wrong With Organ Transplants? Everything is Wrong With It!

    Gita Saraydarian asked:

    The issues of moral and ethical values have been swept under the rug. Masquerading under so-called life-giving values, organ transplanting has become big business. In reality, practices surrounding organ “harvesting” is a “logical” conclusion of a materialistic view of human life, driven by self-centeredness and greed.

    In the first part of this article I have provided my basic opinion and provided the foundational reference that has provided guidance for my thoughts and conclusions. In the subsequent articles, I will write more details and expand my argument.

    People all over the world have been made to believe that organ transplants are a wonderful and beneficial service for others. Doctors, celebrities, religious leaders, politicians and business people are encouraging people to donate their organs as well as to wait patiently for an organ to come their way. Gordon Brown is now advocating the “harvesting” of organs without explicit approval from the patients. Hospitals are setting up medical tourism to provide this service and increase revenue.

    Sick people are encouraged to hang onto life in terrible pain and misery, waiting and waiting and hoping and hoping for a rescue. I recently saw a Television program in which an elderly person with heart problems was on a waiting list. He kept saying how he was daily hoping for a heart transplant. I wondered if he even thought for one minute that his wish for a heart meant that someone had to die first! Some child, some partner, some person had to be declared clinically dead and then held in life until his or her body parts could be removed.

    Something is terribly wrong here. I know that it is popular to think that there is nothing wrong with organ transplants, but there is and there are many people in this world who strongly disagree with this practice. We need to speak up and protect ourselves.

    When grisly details emerged about one nation (reported thus far) accused of deliberately timing executions of criminals and selling organs of the dead criminals, people made such a stink about it. Yet this kind of behaviour is a logical outcome of the materialistic view of life and living. Now we hear that the “Health Ministry has explicitly banned sales of human organs in an apparent attempt to clean up the country’s lucrative but laxly regulated transplant business” (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12050522/). And Gordon Brown wants everyone to be on the waiting list so that parts of the bodies can be taken out unless you made sure to opt out. How nice that we hear reports of the efficiency with which Spain has such a policy and they are providing plenty of organs.

    Surely there are many of us who disagree with this practice? See for example an excellent article by Michael Tymn (http://www.beyondtheveil.net/organs.html). It is time that we give a loud voice to our opinions and beliefs. If you are one of these, and you reject organ harvesting, make sure that your family understands your wishes and that your Will explicitly states that you do not wish to have your body parts “harvested.”

    Even this word “harvest” is interesting, as if we were picking oranges or apples or bananas to take to market, picked just at the right time!

    The Esoteric Teachings speak clearly against organ transplants. To begin this series of articles, I have provided an excellent reprint of a Chapter from the book Other Worlds by Torkom Saraydarian, titled “Organ Transplants.” You are welcome to link to it and read it. In the next few weeks, I will expand on my opinions and conclusions and provide an alternative view of life and how we can deal with illness and the gift of living life after life.

    Why am I against organ transplants? Here are some reasons:

    1. It retards the evolving path of the departed soul by tying it to the physical earth; it complicates the life of the recipient with the karma of the departed. Every physical part of our bodies is impressed by the experiences of all the lifetimes lived on earth. When a soul is born into a body, all the recordings in the soul from previous lives are impressed on the physical body. Then added to this mix are all of the person’s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual life experiences from the present life. The recipient takes on the complete personal recordings and life histories of the donor as well as his or her karma from all lifetimes. We are in a double bind: The departed soul is tied to the physical plane, to the recipient, for as long as the recipient lives. The recipient is tied to the departed. This is why we have so many documented cases of recipients taking on the characteristics of the donor, even to the point of developing the same kind of immune system. The result is one body part with two souls attached to it.

    2. It emphasizes quick fixes and does not look for causes of illness in the physical, emotional, mental, and karmic worlds; it takes the “easy” and material path to dealing with human problems.

    3. It encourages criminal and ethically questionable practices by governments, hospitals, and medical personnel. Everyone focuses on quick fixes.

    4. It encourages people to desire life at the expense of others; it makes people physically and materially centered at the expense of the overall spiritual principles of life. In wishing for an organ for oneself, one is in effect wishing for someone else to die and make his or her body parts available.

    5. It forces poor people to sell body parts and preys on the weak, the poor, and the defenseless; it unfairly tips the scales toward the rich and powerful.

    6. It makes the families of the departed feel guilty and depraved if they choose not to donate the organs of the departed.

    7. It promotes the erroneous involvement by politicians, popular actors and media savvy persons, as well as medical centers into trying to manage life and its meaning, instead of leaving these questions to the spiritual aspects of one’s life.

    8. It demeans the sanctity of human life and takes advantage of the departed at their most vulnerable point in physical live.

    9. It ignores the complexity and depth of human life, human experiences, the purpose of life, the subtle bodies of human beings, and dismisses the ramifications of manipulating the natural process of life. It focuses only on the immediate material needs for living.

    10. It promotes fear of illness and death, likening both to battles to be fought and “won” instead of being processes for learning and redemption.

    11. It encourages a person to attach to physical life when all signs point to the need to leave this plane for a short time and re-emerge. It prevents a person from learning key lessons from the karmic conditions that brought the person to the illness or situation. If we learn from our life conditions, these conditions will not be repeated. If we do not learn from them, and cover them up, the fixes are only temporary and we will still need to deal with the causes next time around. The misery and suffering is therefore complicated further and lasts longer than it needs to.

    We should indeed take proper medical services needed to live healthy and productive lives. We need to learn to live in a healthy and natural way and learn the causes of a healthy life. I do not believe in suicide nor do I believe in assisted suicide. There is a deeply spiritual and redemptive quality in learning our lessons well in each lifetime, whether we are the sick and suffering or the caretaker of the sick and suffering.

    But we do not need to prolong a sick physical body. We are not simply our physical bodies. We are not simply material beings destined to be fertilizers on earth. We need n
    ot feel guilty for not donating organs. Nor do we need to make bereaving relatives and family members feel guilty for not donating body parts of a deceased relative. Our life quality is not measured by years on earth in one lifetime; we have thousands of lifetimes in which to grow and learn.

    Fear of aging, fear of illness, and fear of dying keeps us tied to the physical existence as if nothing else exits. Fear forces us to emphasize the outer at the expense of inner development; it is extremely short sighted. We grieve when we lose a loved one. This is natural and should take its course. We grieve for our own loss since essentially we cannot grieve for the departure of the other person. No one belongs to us and each person takes birth into a particular family and nation, and then moves out of it. Every birth puts us in a different configuration. This is not news and is taught in all the Ancient Wisdom traditions. We do not belong to one family forever, to one nation forever, to one religion forever, to one race forever. The soul experiences all facets of human life and human existence on earth.

    My views are not meant to hurt or insult anyone. Each person should have the freedom to make decisions based on his or her belief system and these decisions should not be forced on us by our religious leaders, politicians, doctors, popular figures, financial considerations, and the like. I am advocating a truly informed decision based on a holistic view of life and not a decision based on sappy emotionalism and pushy sentimentality that is forced on us having undercurrents of dubious motives.

    Being treated with dignity at our most vulnerable time is our human right. Every human being has the right to be treated with dignity, no matter what he or she has done. When you are dead, your body must be respected and treated with dignity. When you are dying, you need to be treated with dignity and not have vultures circling around you. When you are on the operating table, you need to know that you are being treated with dignity. It is at the most vulnerable times in our life that dignity outshines all human expressions. When we are not able to speak up for ourselves, it is the height of human dignity to find someone who will.

    Gita Saraydarian

    gita@tsgfoundation.org