Ethics and Feminism Articles

Sue McLean asked:

What do we mean by ethics?

The word ethics comes from a Greek source meaning custom or habit. Ethical philosophy involves the study of right and wrong. Sometimes people use the word morality instead of ethics. Both morality and ethics are about finding out how we ought to live. Ethics is a major branch of philosophy. (The other branches being: epistemology or knowledge, metaphysics or the essential nature of things and logic or reason.

Approaches to Ethics

There are four possible ways of approaching ethics.

Descriptive ethics: involves the description of how things are or the customs of a society.

Normative ethics: is about making moral decisions or deciding what is right and what is wrong. There are two main ways of doing this, namely by intentions or moral rules relating to duty (deontological ethics) or by outcome (teleological).

Meta-ethics; this approach analyses the nature of ethics. It includes both realism and antirealism. Realism is the view that moral values can be discovered, possibly by using intuition. Antirealism is the view that morality is determined by people’s thoughts and feelings

Applied ethics: this is how ethical values may be used in specific circumstances. So for example, the study of abortion would involve an individual applying moral theory to the situation of abortion. In order to do this they may draw on both normative values those of meta-ethics.

Normative Ethics In More Detail

Teleological Theory

Teleological theory is also known as consequentialism and involves outcomes. One example of teleological theory is utilitarianism. According to this theory one should do what creates the most happiness for the greatest number of people. However utilitarians are divided about what happiness is. Some claim that happiness is simply pleasure but others claim it is about minimising pain. Two major exponents of utilitarianism are Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.

Jeremy Bentham produced the felicific calculus, or hedonic calculus. For Bentham one could calculate the actual amount of pleasure over pain using a sort of mathematical method. The calculus involves taking into account factors such as: intensity, duration and certainty of pleasure.

John Stuart Mill divided pleasure into higher and lower order, claiming cultural, spiritual and intellectual pleasures to be higher order in nature.

Some utilitarians claim that lawmakers ought to apply the happiness principle to formulate general rules for society. These utilitarians are called rule utilitarians. On the other hand, act utilitarians claim that one should apply the happiness principle to each act and so determine the morality of each individual situation.

Not surprisingly there are several criticisms of utilitarianism. One of the main criticisms is the conflict between the greatest number and the greatest happiness. For instance, what if I can create a lot of happiness for one person or a little happiness for lots of people? What should I do? Another problem is to do with how we define happiness because if it is merely pleasure then this is purely hedonistic and somehow this seems wrong. For instance, it may be pleasurable to spend my whole day playing computer games instead of doing my philosophy homework but this does not make playing games the right thing to do.

Deontological Theory

Deontological theory, on the other hand, maintains that we should act out of good intentions, namely duty.

Kant’s theory is perhaps the best known deontological theory. Kant argued that we should do duty for duty’s sake (categorical imperative). This applies regardless of outcome or emotions and that is why it is categorical. (Whereas the hypothetical imperative states: ‘Do X to achieve Y’.)

For Kant our actions must pass the universability test, which means one should ask what would happen if everyone acted in that way. This does not make Kant’s theory consequentialist because he was not concerned with consequences but rather whether any irrationality or contradiction would be produced should everyone act in a certain way.

Kant also said that we should act as though everyone were a member of the kingdom of ends, meaning that we should treat everyone as if they have their own ends or purposes. This contrasts with a very modern and capitalist view that we treat others for our own ends. One of the most positive aspects of Kant’s philosophy is his theme of respect for others, which has been the basis of human rights legislation.

One criticism of Kant’s theory is that he does not explain why we should do duty for duty’s sake.

Meta-ethics in More Depth

Meta means ‘after or beyond’ so this branch of ethics usually goes above or beyond that of normative theory. Examples of meta-ethical theory include: relativism, intuitionism, emotivism and prescriptivism.

Meta-ethical questions include:

What do we mean by good or bad?

How do we make moral judgements?

Are some things always good or bad?

One key issue is to do with whether moral judgements can be objective (realism) or subjective (antirealism). In other words, whether moral judgements are based on the emotions and perceptions of individuals (antirealism) or whether they can be known in some objective way. Another way of stating this is by questioning whether some things are always good independently of any will or view.

Antirealism

Antirealism holds that there is no objective good but that something may be deemed good by individuals. To give an example, if I believe as relativists do, that morality is judged from the perspective of time, place or situation then I am an antirealist. For relativists what is deemed right at one time may not be right at another because there are no objective standards. Thus divorce was once viewed as wrong in Britain but today many people do not judge it as immoral. For relativists this shift in values illustrates the view that nothing is always right or wrong.

Another form of antirealism is the view that ethical statements are neither true nor false. Both emotivism and prescriptivism hold this position. Emotivism holds that morality is about an emotional response so that I may be kind to a kitten because I have an feelings of sympathy towards it. Whereas prescriptivism holds that moral statements imply a prescription or rather imply an action. Therefore the statement ‘it is wrong to commit adultery’ implies ‘you should not commit adultery’.

Realism

On the other hand, I may believe that there are objective moral standards or things which are always right or wrong independent of any arbitrary opinion. For instance, I may believe that marriage is for life and judge as unimportant the fact that attitudes have changed to marriage. According to this view divorce may still be wrong even if the consensus of opinion changes so that just because the majority think something is right, it does not follow that it is so.

Intutionism is one example of realism. Intuitionists argue that we know how to respond in a given situation because we have an intuitive understanding of goodness. We have this understanding because goodness is objective.

It is important to realise that realism is not the same as absolutism. Absolutism is a form of antirealism. Absolutism holds that some things are absolutely wrong in all situations but that they are absolutely wrong as the result of some will such as God’s or that of the monarch. For instance, in divine command theory something is deemed wrong because God says it is wrong. However this makes morality subject to God’s will. If something is subject to a will (even God’s) th
en it is not objective. Objective standards hold that some things are always right or wrong independent of any arbitrary will.

Conclusions

In conclusion, there are four approaches to ethics, namely: descriptive, normative, meta-ethics and applied ethics. The last of these four has not been discussed at any length in this paper. However it is important to realise that applied ethics involves the application of normative and meta-ethical theory particular situations such as: abortions, genetics, environment, animal rights etc. Normative theory is about moral judgements and includes both deontological and teleological theories. Meta-ethics is about analysing the nature of ethics and includes both realist and antirealist views.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Benn, P., Ethics, Routledge, 1998

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy at: http://www.iep.utm.edu/e/ethics.htm

Norman, R., The Moral Philosophers, Clarendon Press, 1985

Raeper, W. and Smith, L., A Beginner’s Guide to Ideas, Lion, 1991

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/metaethics/

Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics

An Overview Of Feminism For A Level Students

Feminism often gets a bad press. Feminists are sometimes presented as a homogenous group where the radical is viewed as the norm. This is not the case. There are many different types of feminists. This page gives you an overview of some of these groups.

From a sociological viewpoint most feminism (with the possible exception of postmodern feminism) can be viewed as a macro theory because it gives a view of society as a whole.

WHAT IS FEMINISM?

This is not so easy to answer as it might at first appear because there are so many different types of feminists. Feminist groups argue against patriarchy, subordination, oppression and androcentrism but what do they mean by these terms? Each group may have different ways of using the terminology. Taking a very generalised view, patriarchy is about structuring society according to male domination whereas androcentrism is a male dominated way of viewing the world. However what consititutes structuring the world according to male domination is a matter for debate.

TYPES OF FEMINIST THEORY

Liberal Feminism

Liberal feminists may speak about justice in gender issues. There are two main ways they understand this. Firstly, a classical liberalist may argue that we should remove discriminatory laws to allow equality of opportunity. Whereas a welfare liberalist may argue in favour of so called ‘positive discrimination’. According to the welfare view, society ought to compensate women for centuries of discrimination by treating women more favourably than men.

Radical Feminism

This form of feminism is still evolving and can take many forms but it nevertheless holds that the oppression of women is the most fundamental oppression in that it is: rooted in history, the deepest form of oppression, the cause of the most suffering and the conceptual model for understanding all other forms of oppression (Alison Jagger and Paula Rothenberg as explained by Rosemary Tong, p. 71)

One issue frequently under discussion by radical feminists is reproduction. Feminists such as Firestone argue that reproduction forms a class distinction between men and women. Firestone advocates a biological revolution where the ultimate goal is an androgenous society. Other radical feminists such as Adrienne Rich argue that reproduction is empowering for women.

Marxist Feminism

A key theme in Marxism is the alienation of the proletariat or workers. Marxist feminists generally see women as a class and argue that women are, like the proletariat, alienated in society. Marxist feminists are divided regarding how this imbalance may be rectified. For instance, Engels argued that men retain power because of their access to work. His view was, broadly speaking, that inequalities would reduce once women access work. Modern Marxist feminists often view the traditional roles adopted by women (mother and wife) as unproductive in that being a wife and/or mother is about the production of people (care for others), rather than the production of money or goods. Some Marxist feminists therefore advocate paying women for adopting a mother-wife role. Others advocate women working outside of the home. The main problem with the latter being that far from freeing women, this often results in women getting caught up in the capitalist system, juggling the demands of work and family.

Psychoanalytic Feminism

Again this is a very broad category, with several feminists criticising Freud for his failure to challenge the patriarchal institutions of his time. For instance, Firestone claimed that Freud ought to have found ways to free women and children from the tyrrany of the father. However Alfred Adler argued that patriarchy drives women literally to madness as neuroses become ways for women protest against their oppression (Tong, p. 147).

Postmodern Feminism

Postmodernism rejects the idea that there is one singular true view of the world and in this way it may be seen to be a micro theory. Postmodern feminists may argue that no-one, including other women, may speak for all women. Each woman should have the opportunity to become herself, whatever that may be. Postmodern feminists include diverse theories such as those of: Helen Cixous, Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva.

Sexual Difference Feminism: Luce Irigaray

Sexual difference feminism (SDF) differs from the difference feminism that Haralambos introduces. The latter holds that different groups of women are exploited to different levels. SDF is about how men and women are different and as such ought not to be treated the same. Perhaps the best known exponent of SDF is Luce Irigaray. One of her arguments focuses on the plurality of women as opposed to the singularity of men. For Irigaray one problem for women is that our views of the world are not so valued as those of men.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Haralambos, M., and Holborn, M., SOCIOLOGY THEMES AND PERSPECTIVES, Collins, 2000

Irigaray, L., AN ETHICS OF SEXUAL DIFFERENCE, Athlone Press, 1984

Jagger, A.M., FEMINIST POLITICS AND HUMAN NATURE, Rowman and Allanheld, 1983

Tong, R., FEMINIST THOUGHT, Westview, 1989

Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminist_theory

Right Use of Power: the Heart of Ethics

Cedar Barstow asked:

Both Meg and Rob were thinking about grief.  So a bit more about that.  Grief, of course, has it’s own rhythm and pace, and is a process….neither to be rushed nor clung to.  I’m reminded of the Sensitivity Cycle from the Hakomi Method.  The Sensitivity Cycle describes the process of becoming more and more sensitive and effective.  It has four phases:  clarity, effectiveness, satisfaction, and relaxation.  All four phases need attention and organically move on to the next.  In thinking of grief, for example, first you need to be clear about what you’re grieving, then take some kind of effective action, then find and integrate some satisfaction from the action you took, and then relax and let go—so that you will have made space for a new cycle.  It is easy to get stuck at each phase and with grief it seems that the most common place to get stuck is in letting go.  Getting unstuck and letting go when it is time seems to involves having a “gut” sense of the timing. It also involves trusting that letting go of the process of grieving for a person, thing, or event, doesn’t mean letting go of it all, but rather knowing that you have integrated it, or the learning from it, within you.

In responding to Sally who is looking for some more depth, I’d like to say something about two kinds of ethical decision-making edited from pages 59-61 of my book:  Right Use of Power: The Heart of Ethics.  I find that we as professionals most often think of ethical decision-making simply and solely as the second kind I describe as complex decision-making without putting conscious attention toward ordinary moment, every day kind of ethical decision-making.

Ordinary moments—ethical attention.

The basic ethical question is: Is what I am doing in the best interest of my client? With this question in mind, the preponderance of ethical decisions are made moment to moment in the ordinary process of sessions with your clients. Commitment to the best interests of your clients is the often unnamed and yet constant foundation that guides your interventions. Everyday ethical decisions involve both personal integrity and professional responsibility. For example, supporting your client’s accurate self-assessment of progress, conveying compassion for suffering, holding hope when your client has lost their hope, making sure you complete a session in a timely way. Ethical decision making is deeply embedded in your professional relationships. Moment to moment decisions create trust.

Ordinary Moment Ethical Decision-making

Let’s break this down a little further.  When being ethically sensitive and aware, there are two kinds of ethical decision-making. The first arises in everyday, ordinary service moments. These require tracking subtle energetic cues, attitudes of integrity, and attunement to being in right relationship. Here are some everyday, normal instances using client questions:

•How often should I be coming to see you?

•Will you write a recommendation for me?

•Can we go later today?

•Can I pay at a reduced rate?

•Would you meet me for coffee to talk about a business idea?

•Is this situation I’m in a healthy one?

•Tell me about your marriage.

Decision-making Using Ethical Codes & Power Spiral

Far less frequently, you are called to make complex ethical decisions that require time to think through your response, consulting with your supervisor, referring to your Ethical Code, and/or using the Power Spiral model in the Right Use of Power book. Examples of such ethical challenges might be:

•deciding how to manage an inevitable dual role relationship

•making a DSM4 diagnosis and considering the ramifications

•reporting impending or actual harm effectively and skillfully

•confidentiality exceptions

•deciding whether your client is being re-traumatized

•making appropriate referrals

•responding and adapting to cultural diversity

•use of touch

•self-disclosure

•handling sexual issues

•dealing with possible unethical behavior by colleagues.

In these non-ordinary complex situations, there are many forces and influences to consider. Some of these include: regional laws, ethical code, clinical assessment, gut intuition, standards of practice, transference, supervisor recommendations, cultural norms, risk to client and/or caregiver, employer policies, client wishes, client’s life circumstances, and your personal issues and feelings.

I hope you will find it useful to think in terms of these two different categories of ethical decision-making.  I look forward to hearing from you if you wish to respond.

Cedar Barstow

For more information about Right Use of Power see www.rightuseofpower.com

©Copyright 2007 Cedar Barstow, M.Ed., C.H.T. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org. The following article was solely written and edited by the author named above. The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the following article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment to this blog entry. Click here to contact Cedar and/or see her GoodTherapy.org Profile

Moral Theology

Ernie Fitzpatrick asked:

Much of the church has attempted to make Christianity solely about ethics and morals. Guess who wins at that game? No one! There is no such thing as moral perfection and few if any absolutes this side of the third dimension. There is only ONE who is holy and that is the Creator and that same Creator is not turned off by our sins as the church and most religions would instruct you.

I like the statement by James Mulholland wherein he writes, “God has been pictured in a sparkling white robe, sitting on a heavenly throne high above human contamination. God desires relationship with us but grows squeamish at the very thought of touching or being touched by such disgusting creatures.” Hey, back off you created us! You knew what you were doing (omniscience) and you saw it all ahead of time. Didn’t you?

So, what’s up with the “get out of my face” theology of the American church? Fear based religion just simply doesn’t cut it any more.

I can’t tell you how long I bought the religious dogma that somehow God was disgusted and disgraced by the SIN OF JESUS as He hung on the cross. Why did I buy into that? If God couldn’t stomach looking at Jesus, how in the hell (metaphorically speaking) could God stand me? I know, I know, because NOW God loves me since Jesus died for my sins. But why are so many still living in fear of God? Real dreaded fear!

How many sermons have been preached that the skies became dark as Jesus was nailed on that cross because God in all of His righteousness and holiness could not stand to look upon the SIN of Jesus. I bought that line. It sounded so, so religious. But then I asked myself, how is it that clouds and darkness somehow shielded the sins of Jesus from God? God can’t see through clouds now? Tell me, how does that reasoning work anyway? The answers will come if you want His and not yours!

It doesn’t!

And that is why Jesus came to touch the unclean, the lay hands on the lepers, and to socialize with the prostitutes and wicked tax collectors, because they’ll enter heaven before the religious Pharisiacal crowd. Jesus isn’t turned off by my sins, nor is God! The scandal of grace of course turns us off. We religious ones want fairness- until we need forgiveness. I don’t know about you but I need forgiveness everyday and God’s always faithful to deliver that to me and more!

Moral theology alone or primarily is only worthless works.

Being in love with God, Creator, Being, Consciousness is thr reality of the spiritual life that Jesus advocated and more importantly implored us to FOLLOW!

Turning Led into Gold: Ethics in the Jewelry Industry

Marc Choyt asked:

“The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.” – Joseph Stalin

“We’ve dodged the bullet,” is the consensus opinion of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, according to Frank Dallahan. “A job well done,” though, as the title of the opinion piece suggests, “The Gun Is Still Pointed at Us” by “arrogant” NGOs.

Blood Diamonds got mediocre reviews and was not widely seen and has had no real effect on diamond purchases. Sierra Leon is at peace. Kimberly is in place. Our business can return to worrying about bankruptcies, the internet, consolidations, the latest move by DeBeers.

Yet right now, there are thousands, perhaps tens of thousands-the number will never be known – of American men who spent a few months of their salary to unknowingly purchase a conflict diamond. To these consumers, diamonds represent love and commitment-but to someone in Sierra Leone, they signify something altogether different.

One death can have a profound effect on a family, community or even a nation. How are we to understand 3.7 million deaths, which is what Amnesty International lists as the death toll due to wars funded by conflict diamonds? In the calculus of the human heart, such a number easily becomes an abstraction- which is why Blood Diamond was essential.

Though there has been an attempt at truth and reconciliation in Sierra Leone, little has been done to bring the victims of conflict diamonds together with the executive who ultimately purchased them. Nor has there been any widespread apology to customers. Instead, business continues, now with new ethics rules which ring shallow, to me, because there has been to real truth and reconciliation.

To the jewelry industry, the deaths of Africans have become mere statistics.

Certainly the diamond business is not the only business questionable ethics. We could have a film entitled, Blood Oil, but such a film is not needed when we have reality TV. Jewelry is different than other commodities. It is marketed as an emotional purchase, representing, often, the highest of human aspirations. This marketing is a despicable distortion when the true cost of a piece is environmental destruction and human suffering.

Many in the diamond business are Jewish, like myself. As a group, we are sensitive to history. I consider what happened in Africa as a result of conflict diamonds, a modern holocaust. Many might consider this comparison extreme, but there are numerous holocausts caused by human greed, bigotry and power. All are equally terrible.

It is undeniable that the Kimberly process is a huge step forward. If the world, because of Kimberly, could say: “NEVER AGAIN,” then at least there would be a modicum of redemption. But NGOs report conflict diamonds are still being bought and sold… though not a soul in the industry is “out of compliance.”

Our destinies, to some degree, are all interwoven in this universal human tragedy. Tribal cultures were destroyed and people were enlisted as chattel to gather commodities for European powers. This wealth was exported to build empire and many ventured forth to Africa in search of fortune.

I have a picture of my grandfather. Izzy Weinberg. Age 27. Camp’s Bay, South Africa, 1905.

Izzy is dressed formally in a black suit and vest sporting a boulder hat, sitting in a cart. Instead of a horse however, there is a black man in shirtsleeves and bare feet, as the beast of burden. Even worse than this, one detail, over a hundred years later, still fills me with horror: this black man is wearing a set of horns, tied securely under his chin.

Everyone in the jewelry industry selling diamonds, including myself, are in the cart being pulled by the black man with horns. We have all benefited by DeBeers massive diamonds are a girl’s best friend campaign, which has created the demand for diamonds, leading to these wars.

Some are in the cart comatose, pretending the blood diamond issue is gone. Others are in the cart with the reins, fighting the NGOs tooth and nail with a public relations campaign saying that blood diamonds are no longer an important issue. Let us just have business as usual because… no one is out of compliance with Kimberly.

Some have stepped in the cart without wanting to be in the cart: the unwitting customer who walked into the jewelry store some time in the nineties and with months of salary saved up to buy diamonds for their finance.

How much have things really changed over the last hundred years?

Unfortunately, we are so sophisticated now we do not see ourselves in the cart. There’s marketing, technology, supply and demand. Governments are involved. No one wants an African diamond boycott-not even Nelson Mandela. Still, it would not be difficult to conclude that some evil in our industry still views an African’s life as merely a commodity, like cattle or slaves.

My conviction is that those 3.7 million dead Africans are actually members of the lost tribe of Israel, which make them my brothers and sisters. I took care of their antecedents when I lived in Haiti-a country of former slaves. For two years, I worked as a volunteer in Mother Theresa’s clinics while running an orphanage for a charity organization funded by the international diplomatic corps.

This suffering in the developing world is not some abstraction to me. I know we are all one global community that is interdependent. The reason that Haiti is so poor is because we are so rich. This is why I advocate Fair Trade. We need an absolutely clear connection between the miner and the consumer who purchases the diamond.

By writing such things, some will accused me of “slapping the face” of the jewelry industry. Perhaps it is true, but a slap is clearly not the same as a punch or a whack. To slap, according to Webster means, “to strike with an open hand, or with something broad or flat.” A slap is usually between intimates; sometimes even lovers. My livelihood is in the jewelry industry-it provides for me, my wife and employees, so I am intimate with it.

My wife, whom I have been with for nearly twenty years, fortunately, does not slap me, though there were times, certainly, when I deserved it. We do have real conflict however, more of the H I3 variety than the D VSS variety. After the fight, or the slap, a couple has a choice. They can marginalize each other or they can make up, which begins with dialogue and ends, at best, in a more intimate engagement. Indeed, Webster’s also defines a slap as a Scottish word meaning a gap in a wall or a dike or to make such a gap.

My slap, then, can be viewed as an invitation, now that we have ‘dodged the bullet’, to take the plunge and become more introspective about our part in this story. We are witnessing the end game of a terrible cycle; the oppressed becoming oppressor. It has morphed into an often painful commercial connection between that person in Africa and those in Antwerp and Mumbai.

There is a reason that the bullet was aimed at us. We ignore or dismiss this type of bullet to our own detriment, making ourselves more vulnerable. We also miss the opportunity to turn the lead of the bullet into gold.

Just last week I had the largest sale in our companies’ history, three platinum ring wedding set, from a customer who found us on line and purchased from us specifically because of our stance issues expressed on this website. I was happy for the sale, but sorry to hear how this customer from an affluent California city could not find anyone in his area who could meet his ethical standards.

Many in our industry have been so concerned about creating “image” and “brand” that they miss what was right in front of them-the twenty percent of the popula
tion interested in socially responsible business practices.

On this blog you can read how anyone can take real steps to make changes. I urge you to join me. Educate your customers about the benefits of a fair trade, ethical jewelry market. Those who jump on this market early are going to reap potentially staggering benefits with the added bonus of using business to do good in the world.

By the way, my grandfather had no luck in South Africa. He moved to Boston. I happened upon the jewelry business by mere chance, just eleven years ago, mainly because my wife is a talented designer. If fate had been different, I might have been born into the diamond business, which is another way of saying that everything in the world is interconnected

“With a boundless heart cherish all living beings, radiating love over the world, upward to the skies, downward to the depths.” – Metta Sutta

Ethical Conduct: the Importance of High Moral Standards

William Allan Kritsonis, PhD asked:

 

 

                        Ethical Conduct: The Importance of High Moral Standards

_____________________________________________________________________________

ABSTRACT

Ethical conduct should inspire a quality of behavior that exemplifies honor and dignity for oneself.  In a school district, teachers, administrators, staff, and school board members should understand the importance of ethical conduct in the educational arena.  An effective educational organization entails the need of individuals maintaining integrity and high morals.  The Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (2007) by William Allan Kritsonis, PhD provides insight in improving ethical conduct in the educational environment.

______________________________________________________________________________

Introduction

     Employees of a school district should serve with honor.  Individuals should strive to help students reach their potential to be socially and responsible citizens.  School district employees should understand the importance of upholding ethical values.  The following statement by Harry Wong emphasize the significance of educators valued principles:  “Teachers are not in private practice.  We are in the helping and caring profession, a service profession to help people enhance the quality of their lives.”  The supportiveness, safety, and security of all areas are crucial in the learning environment.

 

Purpose of the Article

     The purpose of this article is to discuss ten recommendations that are important in the improvement of ethical conduct.  The Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (2007) provides insight in improving ethical conduct in the educational environment.  Dr. William Allan Kristonis is a noted author, professor, lecturer, consultant, editor-in-chief, and publisher.  Using his expertise, he has detailed concepts in the realms of ethics.  The focus of this essay is regarding the improvement of ethical conduct for school administrators.  The administrator is responsible for providing leadership to the school community.  The recommendations that are given will enhance the character development of principals and leaders as they model behavior for the students and staff.

 

Ethical Theory

 

     The development of ethical theory dates back to Plato and Aristotle.  The word ethic has its roots in the Greek word ethos.  Ethos is the perceived degree of character or credibility that a person believes exists in another person or object (Haskins, 2000).  The amount of trust and belief one has in another will have an important impact in how persuasive one will be. 

     According to Kritsonis (2007), the value of ethical theory is in guiding teaching and learning.  In the ethical realm, emphasis should be on ethical understanding and how it may be improved.  A person who has knowledge of ethical theory is as moral as a person who lacks such knowledge.  Moral conduct pertains to one’s actions in certain situations.  To solve a problem, one should be clear of the choices for the given situation.  Kritsonis (2007) precisely states, “Before a person can know where to go, he needs to understand where he is starting from.” There must be a mission in order to fulfill a vision.  Moral decisions require a set of values to serve as a form of reference inn evaluating the consequences.

     The values and morals an individual finds appropriate are called ethics.  Ethical theory supplies rules.  These rules are guidelines used in making decisions about a particular situation.  Ethics in leadership deal with what leaders do and who they are.  How leaders respond to a given situation and the choices they make are led by ethics.  The concerns of ethical leaders are issues of justice and fairness.  One cannot be a leader without involving values.  One must be sensitive to the needs of others, care for others, and treat them in ways that are just in order to be an ethical leader.

Character Development

 

     Character education programs teach students how to be good citizens and develop aspects of decision making.  Effective character education programs affect the student’s ability to be socially and personally responsible.  Holloway (2006) identifies the fact that character education promotes core ethical values, creates a caring school community, and engages the staff as a learning community that instills morals. 

     In order for a school community to work well, the members must be aware of expectations.  The principal is significant in building trust among the community.  Principals lay the foundation for respect and personal regard.  The actions of the administrator contribute to a positive learning environment in the school.  There must be equal treatment among the different student groups.  There should be a common link for success among all groups.

     Principals must understand the importance of creating an effective learning community.  There must be an open line of communication between the principal and stakeholders.  Administrators must be available to students, teachers, and staff members throughout the day.  They must also attend school and community events.  The use of surveys is important in the correspondence to stakeholders.  Kritsonis (2007) states that in all realms, the ability to communicate intelligibly and forcefully can be coordinated with other aspects into an integrated vision and commitment.  The display of a principal’s character can inspire character development in faculty and students.

 

Integrity

 

     Integrity means that the behaviors of leaders are consistent with their stated values and that they are honest, ethical, responsible and trustworthy (Hoy and Miskel, 2005).  Integrity is to say what one means.  One must deliver what is promised, and stand for what is right.  To be ethical means to be fair.  Leaders should treat stakeholders fairly, equitably, and with dignity.  Administrators an inspire integrity by recognizing positive behaviors in teachers and students.  A principal must concur to be liable to a high standard of ethical behavior.  Leaders should lead by being an example. 

     The language of morals should be ordinary language (Kritsonis, 2007).  No special concepts are needed in expressing intended meanings.  When one states, “This action is right,” he is not meaning that it is enjoyable.  There are some leaders whom have inspired us by their sense of integrity and moral values such as Jesus, Isaiah, Confucius, and Moses.  National heroes were exemplified moral courage were Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, and Joan of Arc.  Moral philosophers that contributed to moral leadership were Socrates, St. Augustine, Immanuel Kant, and John Dewey.

             In the educational field, there have been investigations reporting negative academic integrity and faculty wrongdoing.  Faculty and student misconduct has been widespread.  There has been wrongdoing ranging from plagiarism to falsification of data.  There have also been violations of teaching norms to sexual or other harassment.  Some campuses have been investigated for breaches of regulations.  Academic integrity cannot be coerc
ed, neither can it be taught.  For an organization to function using high moral standards there must be a leader that inspires a sense of integrity.

     Displaying a high level of integrity can also relay the message that the leader is fair and just.  The leaders treat all individuals in an equal manner.  In some cases individuals might be treated differently due to specific circumstances.  Leaders must be fair when dealing with awards and punishments. 

 

Responsibility

        The realms of esthetics are concerned with active personal commitment (Kritsonis, 2007).  Morally, one is obliged to do right, and if one fails, he feels guilty. An effective leader should be responsible.  Responsibility entails dependability, initiative, persistence, aggressiveness, self-confidence, and the desire to excel.  One must be liable for one’s own actions.  Individuals must report concerns and rule violations.

     Leaders in education have an ethical responsibility.  They must have a moral vision of what is expected of them.  Starratt (2005) identifies five domains of responsibility that are central to educational leadership.  They are as follows:

 

·        Responsibility as a human being

·        Responsibility as a citizen and public servant

·        Responsibility as an educator

·        Responsibility as an educational administrator

·        Responsibility as an educational leader

·        Responsibility as a human being

 

Trust

 

     Trust is building confidence through teamwork and open communication.  In an effective school environment there is a culture of trust.  There is mutual trust between the principal and staff, there is mutual trust between the colleagues, and there is faculty commitment to the school.

Hoy and Miskel (2005) states, “Trust is like air; no one thinks much about it until it is needed and it is not there.”  It is important to have trust in schools.  It facilitates cooperation ad promotes cohesiveness.  Trust has also been shown to improve student achievement. 

     Leaders should build a sense of trust within the environment.  Their trust is built by behavior that is considerate, supportive, and collegial.  When there is a high level of trust toward the principal, it is believed that the principal is benevolent, reliable, knowledgeable, honest, and open with the staff.  Trust can be a powerful aspect of successful leadership.

     Haskins (2000) suggests the following for improving trust through communication:

 

·        Adapt messages to listeners by being sincere and honest in presenting the information.

·        Identify strengths and weaknesses in information to demonstrate the speaker’s honesty in presenting messages.

·        Introduce sources that were used in developing the presentation.

·        Explain the soundness of analysis, arguments, and evidence that can help reinforce trust.

·        Earn trust by showing trust towards others in the educational process.  

 

     Confidentiality falls in the category of trust.  Leaders should stress the importance of confidentiality of student information.  The school must maintain accurate and comprehensive student records.  Records cannot be released without the consent of parents or guardians.  Staff members are forbidden to discuss a student’s private information.  Leaders should not only value the confidentiality of students but the importance of confidentiality of staff members as well.

     Kritsonis (2007) believes that there are certain principles, such as the duty to keep promises and to tell the truth.  Obvious differences in principle may really be the difference in application due to different circumstances.  Leaders must prove to be trustworthy to achieve a cohesive working environment. 

 

Honesty

     In the empirical realm, meanings are factual (Kritsonis, 2007).  There is a distinction between empirical meaning and ethical meanings.  If one was more clearly understood, then there would be less confusion about ethical questions.  Ethical statements are neither true nor false, but they are expressions of personal preferences.  Ethical language is used to alter feelings and behaviors.

     In the education arena, one should be truthful and honest with one another.  This includes teachers, administrators, parents, and community members.  To be a good leader, one must be honest.  When one thinks of dishonesty, one sees the significance of being honest.  Dishonesty is lying, being deceitful, and not trusted by ones peers.  When a leader is not trusted, there is no respect.  Dishonesty weakens relationships, and there is also a negative impact on the organization.  Being honest not only means being truthful, but it also means being open.  

 

Respect

     Respect means a leader listens, is empathic, and has concern for employees.  Respect from a leader show employees that they are treated as worthy individuals.  One feels respected when there beliefs, attitudes, and values are acknowledged.  The relation of one person to another is the awareness of a presence, the I-Thou meeting (Kritsonis, 2007).  Personal relationships are achieved in what presently is.  Obligation pertains to the result of what is on the basis of an ideal.

     We have a duty to treat others with respect.  Leaders who respect others are usually respected in return.  Respect is important and it should be valued.  Seldom does one think about what it means to respect an individual or what it means to be respected.  To respect someone means looking at the individual in a distinguished manner.  Self-respect leads to respecting others.  If one does not respect himself or herself, then one is likely not to respect other individuals.  Typically if there is no respect for an individual, then their views and opinions are disregarded. 

Respect cannot be learned, purchased, or acquired.  It can only be earned. 

 

 

Knowledge of Sexual Harassment

 

     Sex and family relations is an area of primary ethical interest.  Kritsonis (2007) believes that the family is the elemental social institution in which persons are born and nurtured, and it is essential that the relation between the sexes and among the members of the family be considered carefully and ordered wisely.  It is necessary to have moral codes dealing with this issue.  Leaders should not only know the policies for their particular district, but they should be strictly enforced.  The following are examples regarding sexual harassment policies in an educational organization.  

 

Sexual Harassment and Abuse

·        Students and employees should be treated honorably.

·        Sexual advances, remarks, or conduct at not permissible.

·        Employees who sexually abuse or harass students or employees will face disciplinary action.

·        Students who sexually abuse or harass employees will face disciplinary action.

 

Sexual Harassment by Employees

·        Employees who engage in any sexually oriented conversation, activities, or other sexual conduct with students or employees is considered to be committing sexual harassment of the student or employee.

·        Employees are prohibited from dating students.

 

Sexual Harassment by Students

·     ?
?  Student should not engage in conduct that sexually harasses employees or other students.

·        Romantic relationships between student and employees with parental consent are discouraged.

 

 

 

Sexual Abuse of Students

·        Sexual abuse includes fondling, sexual assault, and sexual intercourse.

·        Sexual abuse by employees will result in termination and legal action.

 

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Awareness

     Leaders are not the principle source of moral guidance.  According to Kritsonis (2007), the most significant source of such influences are the laws and customs of society.  There are some standards of conduct that are taken for granted.  It is not always right to be obedient to laws or customs.  Social standards that are accepted are meant to provide guidance for conduct.

     School activities should promote healthy ideals for the students.  Employees should serve as role models for their colleagues and the students.  Drug and alcohol abusers are frequently absent, less productive, and can cause possible harm to themselves or others.  Substance abusers have a negative influence on others.

Social Relationships

 

     Kritsonis (2007) believes that every culture has its distinctive expectations and regulations about what is right and wrong in these relationships.  Matters in relationships within class, ethnic, racial, religious, and vocational groups should be valued by leaders.  Leaders should

focus on the improvement of religious concerns as well as race related issues in public school. Displaying knowledge and sensitivity to these issues will impact individuals in the educational organization.

     Principals should know the state laws regarding prayer and other religious activities in public schools.  If the laws are not implemented, there could possibly be lawsuits that would affect the school district.  Leaders should acknowledge and respect the religious beliefs of others in planning school activities.  Students and staff should not feel pressured in taking part in holiday events or programs that are not a part of their religious beliefs. 

      Leaders should also acknowledge race related issues as they arise.  Culture diversity training should be planned for staff members each year.  It is important for everyone in the organization to have knowledge of the diverse ethnic population that is a part of their environment.  Race, ethnicity, and cultural background have played a role in ethical theory. 

     Ethical leaders take into consideration the purpose of individuals involved.  There should be a common goal for the organization.  Leaders should focus on their specific individual goals as well as the goals for the organization. 

 

 

Concluding Remarks

 

     In conclusion, in a school district, teachers, administrators, staff, and school board members should understand the importance of ethical conduct in the educational arena.  An effective educational environment entails the need of individuals maintaining integrity and high morals.  Employees of a school district should serve with honor.  Individuals should strive to help students reach their potential to be socially and responsible citizens.  School district employees should understand the importance of upholding ethical values.  The supportiveness, safety, and security of all environments are crucial in the learning environment.  Leaders are the key players in improving ethical conduct in the educational organization.    Using the ten recommendations that were given in the essay:   knowledge of ethical theory, character development, integrity, responsibility, trust, honesty, respect, knowledge of sexual harassment, drug and alcohol abuse awareness, and social relationships will not only strengthen the leader, but it will create an effective learning environment.  

    

References

Estrada, A. (2006).  The crossroads:  confronting ethical dilemmas within the school setting.

     Journal of Education Policy. Retrieved October 1, 2006, from

     http://jep.csus.edu/journal2006/paper1.htm

  

Haskins, W. A.  (2000).  Ethos and pedagogical communication:  suggestions for enhancing

     credibility in the classroom.  Current Issues in Education, Retrieved October 1, 2006, from

     http://cie.ed.asu.edu/volume3/number4/index.html

Holloway, J. (2006).  Model behavior.  Principal Leadership, 6(5), 44-48.

Hoy, W. K. and Miskel, C. G. (2005).  Educational administration.   New York: 

     McGraw Hill. 

Kritsonis, W.A. (2007).  Ways of knowing through the realms of meaning.  Houston, TX:  National Forum Press.

Sherman, A.J.  (2005).  Schools for scandal.  New England Review, 26(3), 82-91.

Work Ethics, My Foot ! – Spirituality Information

Vishwriter asked:

People talk about work ethics. Today i had an interesting gentlemen visit me at my office. He was fuming. He was a very religious person and he was annoyed of the fact that a charming girl in her twenty’s wearing tight jeans was reading the sacred book of Bhagavad Gita in the same bus in which he traveled . “How can she touch this book of Ramayana wearing tight jeans and T-shirt….” he roared…

I admired this gentlemen for all the work he was doing but i was surprised at his timidness when it came to spiritual issues. How does the attire make a difference, after all spirituality means moving over the body and mind?. He was in no mood to listen to me…. However, the next few minutes he told me something which shook me up….

“Most of the office goers,businessmen and teenagers drink beer,have wine,and revel in their own way after office hours.. No one in this world has any problem with that. But if tomorrow the same people drink beer,have wine during office meetings, during the normal business hours would the companies allow this? Companies would say there are work ethics which need to be followed. You can do all those after business hours but not inside the office premises would be the answer of any organisation……

Show me any college or management institute which allows drinking beer or wine inside their premises. It is against the ethics of learning…

So when it comes to learning spirituality which is superior to any educational institute in the world , which is far greater than all those work ethics there are certain rules to be followed. One of the important things we need to learn here is to differentiate between Rules and Laws.

Rules are set by individuals themselves. They facilitate personal growth and so we willingly accept it. Laws are set by organisations and governments. They exist to supress your animal instincts and to foster the speedy growth of an organisation,community or country. It has got little to do with your inner growth… In the world of spirituality rules exist and in the external world laws apply…

Fences must be put around young plants or the cattle will destroy them. But when these same plants have become great trees, elephants by the score can be chained to their trunks,without fear of harming them.. So also when a child is taking his/her baby steps towards spirituality there exists a dress code, a posture and an enivornment….You need to get your basics right when you are crawling. Once you are up and running dress codes,posture and environment does not matter but till such time that you have not become a spiritual giant you cannot afford to be complacent about all these things….

I am delighted that she picked up the sacred book but i would be thrilled if she followed those basic rules.. Glory be on to that charming girl and to everyone else in this world for it is the spirit that rules, it is the spirit that lives and it is the spirit that breathes in every being in this world …. “

The gentlemen who visited me in my office was my own Higher self. He was not a person, he was my spiritual friend and mentor residing right within me…However, he visits me only when i invite Him………. When are you going to send your formal invitation to your Higher Self, my dear friend? Get yourself spiritually intoxicated this moment… Invite your spiritual friend for breakfast today…..

Ethics And Legality Of Organ Transplants

Chris Chew asked:

One of the greatest achievements in medical science is organ transplant surgery. People who have failing organs and are doomed to die can now be given a new lease on life by the generosity of organ donors who are giving part of their own bodies to save or enhance the lives of others. However, there are many ethical issues and controversies pertaining to organ transplants.

Discussions on the ethics on organ transplants invariably will attract questions like for instance:-

Can human organs be traded commercially, if not why? Should a person who has already received one transplant be allowed another one? Should alcoholics be given liver transplants, where after all, it was their alcoholism that damages their livers in the first place? What are the sources of organs used in organ transplants operations?

Perhaps the most controversial topics of these ethical debates are about the procurement and distribution of human organs for transplant and are centered on the questions of how do we get the organs and how do we decide who will receive organ transplants?

Since there are always fewer organ donors than there are potential recipients, this fact make the debate on who should get the organ available very emotional and heated which is not surprising because lives are at stake.

To compound the problem, organ transplants are very expensive surgical procedures and only the rich can afford them. Poorer folks may never get the opportunity of a transplant even if they need it more urgently than their richer counterparts. Should the choice of who get the organs be dependant upon who can afford it?

Then there is the issue of not everyone agreeing when death of the donor actually occurs. Is it when the heart and lungs stop functioning or the donor is certified brain dead?

What about consent of the donor? At the present moment, a donor has to expressly agree for organ donor ship in order for organs to be removed except in Singapore which have the controversial Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA). The Act assumed that all Singapore citizens have consented to be organ donors unless opted out. However, Muslims are exempted from the Act for religious reasons.

Which is the better way to get consent from the donors? By enacting legislations or relying on willing donors?

Since most people can live with only one kidney or one eye, which are organs which can be donated while the donor is still alive. Should the donor be allowed to sell his kidney? The argument against allowing commercial trade on human organs is that it may encourage poor people to sell their organs and even may encourage unethical syndicate organ trading rackets.

There are people suffering and are on the death row waiting for organ transplants to save their lives and decisions about the ethics of organ transplants will have a tremendous impact on them. What is your position on these ethical issues of human organ transplants?

Ethical Insurance

Firoj Khan asked:

Islamic finance places strong emphasis on the economical, ethical, moral, social, and religious dimensions, to enhance equality and fairness for the good of society as a whole, whereas the conventional financial system focuses primarily on the economic and financial aspects of transactions. As a result Islamic insurance might also be seen as an ethical insurance.

Islamic insurance is provided under a principle called Takaful. The term “Takaful” is derived from the Arabic word “Kafaala” meaning guaranteeing. Takaful means “guaranteeing each other” and refers to the concept of permissible Islamic insurance or “Halal” insurance.

Islamic insurance or Takaful is based on the principles of “Ta’awun” (mutual cooperation) and “Tabaru’a” (Donation) whereby a group of people (Takaful participants or policyholders) agree between themselves to share the risk of a potential loss to any of them by making a donation, of all or part of their contribution, which is used to compensate the loss suffered by any participant of the Takaful scheme. Unlike conventional insurance in which risk is shifted from the policyholder to the insurance company, Takaful is a structure in which risk is shared between all the policyholders.

Additionally Islamic insurance can also be seen as an ethical insurance product because of the additional levels of governance required to ensure it is Halal.

Islamic finance principles have been derived from the Holy “Qur’an” (the Holy book of the Muslims), “Hadith” (the sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad PBUH), “Sunnah” (the way the Holy Prophet Muhammad led His life) and centuries of scholarly interpretations of these three sources. These rules define clearly what is “Halal” (permissible) and what is “Haram” (prohibited) in a financial transaction. The salient points of these rules are:

Shariah prohibits the following:

‘Riba’ – interest/usury

‘Maysir’ or ‘Qimar’ – gambling/speculation

 

‘Gharar’ – uncertainty

 

Exploitation

 

Unfairness

 

Undertaking Haram activities (alcohol, pork, pornography etc)

 

Shariah requires:

 

Risk sharing

 

Reward sharing

 

Fairness

 

Transparency

 

Sanctity of contracts

 

Strict adherence to these principles means that Islamic insurance products can also be a viable alternative for the growing number of ethically-motivated consumers who wish to buy an ethical insurance product.

The Facts About Ethical Search Engine Optimization

Meenakshi Wali asked:

The search engine optimization techniques that are supported by the search engines are known as the ethical ways of SEO whereas the rest are under rated as unethical techniques that are not approved by the search engines. Most web masters blindly believe on the so-called ethical search engine optimization techniques and follow them religiously. But the matter of concern here is to know if these so called Ethical SEO techniques are truly Ethical and Effective or not.

In simple terms, the methods that most self proclaimed search engines accept are stated as the Ethical search techniques where as the rest are declared unethical by these search engines. One of the criteria of following ethical search engine optimization states that SEO can be performed only on the genuine content pages of the website, and it is unethical to create new pages.

The ethical search engine optimization also states a few categories of these content pages ethical whereas the others unethical. For example pages that have hidden text in their web pages are considered to be unethical where as providing alt. text to the images is not considered wrong. Such criteria are set only on the convenience of these so called ethical search engines to read through the websites.

The web masters that follow these so called ‘right’ search engine optimization methods do nothing but blindly follow the wishes of the search engines with the aim of getting listed on them faster than the others. But if they are asked to defend or comment on the difference between the ethical and the unethical, they unfortunately are not able to comment on it because they do not really know the difference. That is because there isn’t any broad difference either. The techniques that are rudely being called unethical cannot in any form be classified as unethical in their literal sense.

As a matter of fact no idea of search engine optimization can be called wrong. It only depends on the fact what suits for which website. If a particular service is suitable to a certain website and is also reflecting effective results in the search engines, then they are ethical whereas the others are classified as unethical.

Consumer 101 Ethical Investment

Indiann Davinos asked:

Money Makes The Arms Go Round

Do you give money to the arms trade or to industries destroying our environment? Most of us would be shocked and indignant if accused of doing this. But traditionally, when we invest we give up the right to decide where our money goes and our hard earned cash could be propping up oppressive regimes without us knowing. Ethical investment gives us the chance to control the money we invest and prove that profit and principles can work together.

Ethical investment is not a new idea. The Quakers in the 18th century used it to make a stand against the slave trade refusing to invest money in any business linked to it. More recently it was used to attack South Africa’s apartheid with the state of California withdrawing $50 billion from the country. With credentials like these it is easy to see why investment can be a powerful tool for social change.

Thinking ethically means not compromising on your values or your pocket. For example, the Ethical Investment Research Service concluded ethical funds have a lower total risk then those without ethical criteria.

There are broadly two types of ethical investing. The first is screening the companies you want to invest with to make sure their practices don’t clash with your principles. These can include bad environmental practises, the tobacco or alcohol industries, pornography, anti-trade union practises, or the arms trade. In addition to these concerns Muslims may prefer not to invest in financial institutions where there is interest-based gain. Secondly you may wish to actively channel your money to companies you approve of. These could be companies with good labour practices and safety records, organic farms or alternative energy companies, or those who benefit local communities.

An independent financial adviser will help you find companies, tailored to your specific agenda. You may, for example, want to prioritise not supporting companies who work with oppressive regimes, but mind less about investing in the tobacco industry. Or you may not mind about alcohol production but be vehemently opposed to your money funding environmentally irresponsible corporations. Whatever you decide independent financial help means you can place your money where it won’t damage your conscience.

Why not start with your bank? Smile.co.uk is the Internet bank of the co-operative bank. It not only has specific ethical and environmental policies, but also fantastic rates on current accounts. They also have a huge range of ethical investments options. Triodos bank only gives business loans to organisations involved in sustainable development projects and savers are given the option of specifically channelling their cash into their preferred sector, whether this is social housing projects or organic farming. The Ecology building society uses your money to provide mortgages for energy efficient houses, ecological renovation or for rescuing derelict properties.

Entrepreneurship With Ethics

Thanaseelan asked:

Why is it important to establish the moral status of entrepreneurship? Unless it can be shown that the entrepreneur does what is morally worthwhile as an entrepreneur, that his role is ethically praiseworthy, not only his or her status in the market but the market itself becomes vulnerable to serious moral criticism. This is because it is well recognised that ethics are the free market’s life line. Many economists are beginning to realise this. Indeed, it is entrepreneurial activity that makes the best sense of profit – another vital part of capitalism.

However, without also demonstrating that entrepreneurship is ethical, the market would at most be hospitable to morally indifferent kinds of behavior; at worst it would encourage moral callousness and discourage the pursuit of presumably morally more significant objectives, such as order, self-restraint, artistic excellence, family values.

When a system is vulnerable in one of its essential ingredients, competing systems that lack this weakness become very powerful if not immediately successful alternatives. Their images improve, even if their actual performance leaves a lot to be desired.

Some argue that all we need is the hospitable environment, but this is false. Even in the freest of societies many, many potential market agents can be lazy. Not that laziness is encouraged but that it is clearly not foreclosed. That is partly what freedom means. One has a genuine choice whether to be productive or not. It is not enough to show that under capitalism human beings are free, unless the kind of uses to which such a system puts human effort can themselves be

morally worthwhile. So the question needs to be addressed. Why should one be productive? Why should entrepreneurship be practiced? What is good about it?

It is not enough by a long shot to answer that entrepreneurship is the ticket to a decent chance for wealth. Certainly one can agree that between stealing and producing, the latter is more honorable. However what if quietism – the form of religious mysticism that involves complete extinction of the human will, drawing away from worldly things – is proposed as an alternative?

How about asceticism – the religious ideal that one can reach a higher spiritual state by self-discipline and self-denial? How will the system that is hospitable to entrepreneurship be defended in the light of such powerful challenges?

The most serious challenges to capitalism come from those who contend that by making entrepreneurial effort possible – by protecting the rights to private property and the pursuit of happiness here on earth – this system corrupts human life. It tends to permit the commercialisation of human relationships, making us self-interested economic agents instead of what we really ought be, altruistic members of our community.

It is insufficient to reply that the capitalist system makes it possible for people to attain a better life here on earth. That is just what is in need of defense. Why should we strive for such a life in the first place?

In a society of just human relationships, there must be a consistent and constant hospitality to entrepreneurship because without this, an important moral dimension of human life would be suppressed or at least seriously distorted. Without such a welcome, public policy and law would yield to more widely accepted but sadly misguided moral sentiments, for example, the call for

greater and greater state power to regiment or re-engineer society instead of making it safe for natural human initiative.

International Company and Ethics

Andrew Sandon asked:

International Company and Ethics

The issue of business ethics is engaging companies more and more – both domestically and internationally. This trend is accentuated by high-profile examples of breaches of accepted standards of ethical behavior. For example, the recent Enron case where inadequate checks and balances within the firm enabled unethical behavior to occur, a development made easier by the failure of the external auditor to fulfill its role properly. Assumptions about ethics and business are influenced inevitably by fundamental beliefs about the role of business in society. On the one hand, there are those who believe that the sole social responsibility of business is to generate profit. For some proponents of this view, profit generation itself takes on a moral dimension whereas others see profits as the key to wealth generation – the main way of addressing social issues (Davies, 1997, p. 88). On the other hand, others believe that the role of business is much broader than that of profit generation and that all those who are affected by the way a company operates – shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, the local community, future generations (especially in relation to environmental issues) – have a legitimate interest and stake in the way a company conducts itself.

Many of these concerns are relevant to business whether it is domestic or international in nature. However, international business poses particular challenges and questions over and above those facing purely domestic business. In order to reconcile doing business internationally and remain ethical, the company should follow the main principles of human rights, comply with legal norms related to labor, avoid corruption and correspond to standards of environmental protection. Even though it is not easy to combine making profit and adjusting to ethical principles, sometimes failure to comply with legal norms and standards my result in negative public image for the international company and loss of customers. Therefore, international company can suffer even more damages if it decides not to follow the ethical principles.

The first issue related to ethics is human rights. It is a generally accepted principle that international company should not engage in direct infringement of human rights the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is commonly taken as the appropriate benchmark. However, some people would go further, preferring companies to refrain from doing business in countries known to infringe human rights on a systematic basis. Opponents of this view argue that if an international company abstains from conducting business in a country with an ethically dubious regime, the only concrete result is to hand over business opportunities to companies without such reservations (Barlett and Ghoshall, 1998, p. 110).

On coming to office in 1992, for example, President Clinton proposed to withdraw MFN status from China as a result of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 in which many pro-democracy demonstrators were killed (Kepstein, 2001, p. 108). Such action would have provoked retaliation against US companies operating in China and US business lobbied hard to persuade the president to change his mind. They argued that US business interests would be irrevocably damaged in a rapidly growing market and that the outcome would not be an improvement in human rights in China but a boost to the business prospects of American business rivals in China. The lobbying campaign was successful: the link between trade and human rights was broken and replaced by the doctrine that the possibility of bringing about change is greater if business and other links and contacts are maintained.

International labor issues can be linked with human rights, especially regarding matters of forced labor and child labor. Ethical labor issues also occur outside the framework of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in circumstances where certain labor practices may be legal and commonplace in the host country but do not necessarily represent fair and equitable treatment of the workforce. The issue facing an international company is: does it maximize its competitive advantage by locating in a low-cost/low-regulation country and adopt local practices or does it refrain from reaping all the labor cost benefits by adopting higher standards and more ethical practices than strict compliance with local legal norms requires? A firm may choose to take the latter path and still experience significant competitiveness gains.

Corporate codes of conduct governing general corporate behavior and treatment of the workforce in particular are not new. Their modern manifestation began in the mid-twentieth century in the form of codes from the International Chamber of Commerce and other collective codes (Donaldson, 1989, p. 55). Their popularity surged once more in the 1990s in response to pressure from NGOs, the emergence of corporate social responsibility as a key consideration for firms and the phenomenon of socially responsible investment and shareholder action. Additionally, discussion of the possible inclusion of labour regulation under the WTO umbrella encouraged international firms to assume greater responsibility for their own labor standards, if only to demonstrate that international regulation was unnecessary. Corporate codes of conduct take many forms. Many international firms have developed their own individual codes to cover their own employees and those of their contractors and suppliers. Some industries have developed their own codes. Whatever form they take, codes are necessary for the positive public image of international company and they demonstrate that the company reconciles doing business and acting ethically. Codes need to comply with a number of conditions before they can be said to operate equitably and with credibility (DeGeorge, 1993, p. 88):

1.the contents of the code must be clearly worded and, at a minimum, comply with core standards;

2.the company adopting the code must be committed to it and be prepared to provide the resources to ensure its implementation, including training, information systems for monitoring and compliance and staff to implement new procedures;

3.knowledge of the code throughout the organization is essential to its implementation: in particular, employees of the firm and its subcontractors and suppliers must know of the contents of the code and a reporting system must be established that enables workers to report infringements without fear of reprisals;

4.the code should be subject to verification by independent assessors who have access to the site unannounced at any time.

The application of such codes can enhance internal governance and facilitate internal management across geographically dispersed sites. There is some evidence to show that real commercial benefits can be gained from the proper application of fair and equitable labor standards, although more widespread research needs to be done on this (DeGeorge, 1993, p. 111). Provided the code of conduct adopted by a firm has external credibility, it can both protect and enhance a firm’s reputation, particularly important these days when more is expected of firms in terms of corporate social responsibility.

Levi Strauss is one of the world’s largest brand-name clothes manufacturers and also one of the first international companies to adopt a corporate code of conduct to apply to all contractors who manufacture and finish its products and to aid selection of which countries in which to operate (DeGeorge, 1993, p. 118). The Code of Conduct has two parts:

1.Business partner terms of engagement: Levi Strauss uses these to select business partners that follow workplace standards and pract
ices consistent with its policies and to help identify potential problems. In addition to meeting acceptable general ethical standards, complying with all legal requirements and sharing Levi Strauss’s commitment to the environment and community involvement, Levi Strauss’s business partners must adhere to the following employment guidelines:

-Wages and benefits: business partners must comply with any applicable law and the prevailing manufacturing and finishing industry practices.

-Working hours: partners must respect local legal limits on working hours and preference will be given to those who operate less than a 60-hour working week. Levi Strauss will not use partners that regularly require workers to work in excess of 60 hours. Employees should also have at least one day off per week.

-Child labor: use of child labor is not permissible in any of the facilities of the business partner. Workers must not be below 15 years of age or below the compulsory school age.

-Disciplinary practices: Levi Strauss will not use business partners who use corporal punishment or other forms of physical or mental coercion.

-Prison/forced labor: no prison or forced labor is to be used by business partners nor will Levi Strauss use or buy materials from companies using prison or forced labor.

-Freedom of association: the rights of workers to join unions and to bargain collectively must be respected.

-Discrimination: while respecting cultural differences, Levi Strauss believes workers should be employed on the basis of their ability to do their job

-Health and safety: Levi Strauss undertakes to use business partners who provide a safe and healthy working environment and, where appropriate residential facilities

2.Country assessment guidelines: these are used to address broad issues beyond the control of individual business and are intended to help Levi Strauss assess the degree to which its global reputation and success may be exposed to unreasonable risk. It was an adverse country assessment that caused Levi Strauss to cease its engagement in China in the early 1990s, largely on human rights grounds – a decision that has subsequently been reversed. In particular, the company assesses whether:

-the brand image will be adversely affected by the perception or image of a country among customers;

-the health and safety of employees and their families will be exposed to unreasonable risk;

-the human rights environment prevents the company from conducting business activities in a manner consistent with the global guidelines and other company policies;

-the legal system prevents the company from adequately protecting trademarks, investments or other commercial interests;

-the political, economic and social environment protects the company’s commercial interests and brand corporate image.

Levi Strauss is the example of the company that successfully combines doing business and following ethical practices. As we see, the company code of ethics demonstrates that Levi Strauss complies with the most labor norms and environmental standards; at the same time such actions of the company do not have any negative impact upon its business. On the contrary, since Levi Strauss has positive public image the customers should be more attracted to its products.

Some of the other important ethical issues that the company should consider is bribery and corruption. Bribery/corruption is not as clear-cut an issue as might first appear; indeed it can be rather a grey area. In some cultures, it is regarded as perfectly normal to give an official or host a gift (Asgary and Mitschow, 2002, p. 245). In others, only minimal value token gifts or no gifts at all are allowed. A problem arises when it is the norm for a contract to be signed only after the payment of a ‘commission’ to a key official or officials (Asgary and Mitschow, 2002, p. 240). Such circumstances place international companies in a difficult position: without payment of these commissions, the contract will not materialize and, if they do not make the payment, many other companies will (although that is not an ethical justification for going ahead with the commission). The position of the US is unequivocal about this: it regards all such payments as bribes and, as such, they are both unethical and illegal. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Law forbids US companies from making improper payments to foreign governments, politicians or political parties to obtain or retain business. Therefore, the only choice that American companies have regarding bribery is not to make any payments regarded as bribes; otherwise, it can be considered that a company violates the law.

The last ethical challenge that international companies face is related to environmental protection. Firms can encounter damaging publicity as a result of the environmental outcome of their activities as pollution attracts more and more media attention (Barlett and Ghoshal, 1998, p. 98). For many, environmental protection and corporate responsibility in this field has a clear ethical dimension. This debate is couched in terms of the ‘global commons’ in which all human beings have both a stake and a responsibility to ensure the well-being of the environment for future generations (Donaldson, 1989, p. 211).

In order to reconcile doing business and meeting environmental ethical standards an international company should comply with the following underlying principles in environmental policy.

The first norm refers to the “polluter pays principle.” It stipulates that polluters should pay the full cost of the environmental damage they cause (DeGeorge, 1993, p. 100). Environmental costs are often referred to as ‘externalities’ (for example, damage to health, rivers, the air, etc. arising from economic activity) that are not incorporated into the costs of a product but are borne by society as a whole (DeGeorge, 1993, p. 100). By making the polluter pay the full cost of its activities, including externalities, this principle provides an incentive to make products less polluting and/or to reduce the consumption of polluting goods. This internalization of external costs can be met through the use of market-based, policy instruments.

The other principle refers to prevention. If the company decides to follow the prevention principle it changes to products and processes to prevent environmental damage occurring rather than relying on remedial action to repair damage after it has taken place (Davies, 1997, p. 108). This implies the development of ‘clean technologies’; minimal use of natural resources; minimal releases into the atmosphere, water and soil; and maximization of the recyclability and lifespan of products.

In conclusion, international business adds an extra dimension to ethical issues within the firm. All organizations have their own culture based on common language and terminology, behavioral norms, dominant values, informality/formality, etc. This inevitably becomes more complex when an organization has a presence in more than one country. Some companies believe a strong corporate culture is a means of overcoming diverse national cultures whereas others evolve different cultures in different organizations and incorporate cultural diversity in their management strategy. Many organizations like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s do use core brands but still adapt their products for local markets and follow ethical standards, either out of necessity or to maximize returns. Ethics and corporate social responsibility are closely related. Debates about corporate social responsibility have been dominated by labor and environmental issues but a growing number of corporate governance scandals involving multinationals is increasing pressure for stricter regulation. International companies can reconcile doing business internationally and remaining ethical if they comply with labor and environmental norms enacted at the international level and establish and follow the code of ethics. In the long run, corporate co
mmitment to sound ethical principles and socially responsible behavior is good for business.

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Ethics in Education

Emily Wyschynskyj asked:

In a post WorldCom, post Enron world, should colleges be doing more to prepare graduates for what lies ahead in the ‘real world’? It is safe to say that somewhere along the line ethics education has failed within this country. One need look no further than the front page of their morning paper, or the quarterly update of their portfolio, to realize how desperate this situation has become.

            Not so long ago businessmen, and women, were looked up to; the title of CEO came with an underlying respect from the employees of an organization, as well as outsiders. It really meant something to hold the highest position within a company. Flash back to today and the title Chief Executive Officer evokes quite a different picture. Type ‘CEO’ into any popular search engine and within 5.8 seconds you will be bombarded with over 300,000 results. Many of which also contain phrases like: crisis, bailout or lawsuit.

            In an effort to remedy this situation, Universities have begun to integrate ethics education into their business curriculums, as well as into the regular curriculum for all students. In a study conducted by Angela Hernquist, doctoral candidate from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, 90% of responding institutions indicated that Ethics was part of their curriculum. Over a decade earlier the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy passed the requirement that all licensed Certified Public Accountants complete a four hour, board approved, ethics course (VanZante). This requirement was later supplemented by two hours or ethics courses every three years. Following the Enron, and subsequent Anderson LLP collapses, TSBPA required an additional four hours of ethics every two years beginning January of 2005 (VanZante).

            It is certainly nice to hear that things are being done to ensure that graduates leaving their field of study will be better prepared for the workplace, but are we really meant to believe that a five credit course, or a mere four hours can change who a person really is? From personal experience I can confidently say no, the ethics education that I have received in college has done nothing to influence what kind of person I am. A brief rundown of the course syllabus may hold the key as to why I do not feel that I got my money’s worth of ethics. While utilitarianism and other various philosophies may be at the foundation of a great education, what do they really have to do with ethics today? Will I make a better CEO because I understand Ayn Rand?

            Time in the classrooms of our Universities would be better spent teaching mathematics, writing, or even psychology. Perhaps if we understood why people behaved unethically we could do something to stop it. One thing is clear; the ethics we are being taught today are failing us. Failing us as students, and as citizens of the world. If we are really to believe that we do not learn ethics until college that what hope is there when nearly 25% of Americans never make it that far (Henry). Are we a nation of heathens running around like a ticking time bomb? I propose that we begin learning ethics much earlier than college, even earlier than grade school. Ethics begin in the home, the community, and the individual.

            People are beginning to recognize the need for early ethics education in children, and have started to do something about it. Patti Martin, B.S., M.A., Director of Ethical Education, has opened an ethics course for children ages 2-12. Her program is called Sunday Ethical Education for Kids, or SEEKS. SEEK aims to do what some parents apparently cannot, to instill ethics into the children of the community in one hour segments. SEEK meets once a week, on Sundays naturally, at the University of Missouri Extension Center, in Mid Rivers Missouri. There are no expectations, just the hope that parents will bring their children by to get some much needed guidance on becoming a better person.

            Maybe more programs are needed in colleges, or maybe the child ethics courses offered at the University of Missouri are the answer. Whatever that answer may be, one thing is for sure, we haven’t found it yet, and if we do not find it soon we are setting ourselves up for more disaster. I don’t know how the rest of the country feels, but I am not looking forward to a lifetime of paying the high salaries of today’s CEOs in what feels like a never ending stream of corporate bailouts.

Henry, Tamara. “Report: Greater Percent of Americans Educated”. USA Today 6/05/2002

 Hernquist, Angela. “A Survey of Ethics Courses in State College and University Curricula”. University of Nevada Las Vegas. February 2005

“Raising Ethical Children”. Mid Rivers Ethical Society. 11/28/2008 .

VanZante, Neal. “Improving Professional Ethics”. The CPA Journal May 2005

Right Use of Power: the Heart of Ethics

Cedar Barstow asked:

Both Meg and Rob were thinking about grief.  So a bit more about that.  Grief, of course, has it’s own rhythm and pace, and is a process….neither to be rushed nor clung to.  I’m reminded of the Sensitivity Cycle from the Hakomi Method.  The Sensitivity Cycle describes the process of becoming more and more sensitive and effective.  It has four phases:  clarity, effectiveness, satisfaction, and relaxation.  All four phases need attention and organically move on to the next.  In thinking of grief, for example, first you need to be clear about what you’re grieving, then take some kind of effective action, then find and integrate some satisfaction from the action you took, and then relax and let go—so that you will have made space for a new cycle.  It is easy to get stuck at each phase and with grief it seems that the most common place to get stuck is in letting go.  Getting unstuck and letting go when it is time seems to involves having a “gut” sense of the timing. It also involves trusting that letting go of the process of grieving for a person, thing, or event, doesn’t mean letting go of it all, but rather knowing that you have integrated it, or the learning from it, within you.

In responding to Sally who is looking for some more depth, I’d like to say something about two kinds of ethical decision-making edited from pages 59-61 of my book:  Right Use of Power: The Heart of Ethics.  I find that we as professionals most often think of ethical decision-making simply and solely as the second kind I describe as complex decision-making without putting conscious attention toward ordinary moment, every day kind of ethical decision-making.

Ordinary moments—ethical attention.

The basic ethical question is: Is what I am doing in the best interest of my client? With this question in mind, the preponderance of ethical decisions are made moment to moment in the ordinary process of sessions with your clients. Commitment to the best interests of your clients is the often unnamed and yet constant foundation that guides your interventions. Everyday ethical decisions involve both personal integrity and professional responsibility. For example, supporting your client’s accurate self-assessment of progress, conveying compassion for suffering, holding hope when your client has lost their hope, making sure you complete a session in a timely way. Ethical decision making is deeply embedded in your professional relationships. Moment to moment decisions create trust.

Ordinary Moment Ethical Decision-making

Let’s break this down a little further.  When being ethically sensitive and aware, there are two kinds of ethical decision-making. The first arises in everyday, ordinary service moments. These require tracking subtle energetic cues, attitudes of integrity, and attunement to being in right relationship. Here are some everyday, normal instances using client questions:

•How often should I be coming to see you?

•Will you write a recommendation for me?

•Can we go later today?

•Can I pay at a reduced rate?

•Would you meet me for coffee to talk about a business idea?

•Is this situation I’m in a healthy one?

•Tell me about your marriage.

Decision-making Using Ethical Codes & Power Spiral

Far less frequently, you are called to make complex ethical decisions that require time to think through your response, consulting with your supervisor, referring to your Ethical Code, and/or using the Power Spiral model in the Right Use of Power book. Examples of such ethical challenges might be:

•deciding how to manage an inevitable dual role relationship

•making a DSM4 diagnosis and considering the ramifications

•reporting impending or actual harm effectively and skillfully

•confidentiality exceptions

•deciding whether your client is being re-traumatized

•making appropriate referrals

•responding and adapting to cultural diversity

•use of touch

•self-disclosure

•handling sexual issues

•dealing with possible unethical behavior by colleagues.

In these non-ordinary complex situations, there are many forces and influences to consider. Some of these include: regional laws, ethical code, clinical assessment, gut intuition, standards of practice, transference, supervisor recommendations, cultural norms, risk to client and/or caregiver, employer policies, client wishes, client’s life circumstances, and your personal issues and feelings.

I hope you will find it useful to think in terms of these two different categories of ethical decision-making.  I look forward to hearing from you if you wish to respond.

Cedar Barstow

For more information about Right Use of Power see www.rightuseofpower.com

©Copyright 2007 Cedar Barstow, M.Ed., C.H.T. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org. The following article was solely written and edited by the author named above. The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the following article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment to this blog entry. Click here to contact Cedar and/or see her GoodTherapy.org Profile

What is More Ethical Blogs or News Media?

Rob Glenn asked:

We are hearing more and more that readers believe the information contained in Blogs is more reliable than the print news media. (I don’t think a direct comparison between the electronic media and Blogs makes much sense, so my comparison is direct: written material vs. written material.) While I find this shift in ‘believability’ to be somewhat surprising, I must admit that I don’t think I personally know anybody that reads the newspaper without a nagging suspicion and a bit of doubt. Even more, I continue to be amazed at the growing number of people I know that do not even bother to read the newspaper.

Well, how does this relate to the subject of ethics?

I recently had the opportunity to speak with a person who serves on a national group that investigates allegations of breach of conduct by the news media. As a professor of journalism, it was clear to me that he wants the profession to uphold the highest standards. When does a misquote become more than a minor issue? How about reporters that leave out details because they don’t understand them or don’t believe their readers could understand them? Or, editors that cut out segments of a reporter’s story and completely lose the intent? And, headline writers that mislead the readers by sensationalizing the story? Worse still, how about reporters who know that their information and their sources are tainted? Do these issues rise to the level of an ethical breach?

While I am very new to blogging (and admit some consternation about putting my thoughts into writing for the world to see), I am extremely fascinated that blogs offer the opportunity to say whatever you want — in your own words — without any opportunity for misquotes, editing, media bias, etc. This is what our First Amendment rights are all about. I know of one elected official that has launched a blog for the purpose of making sure his positions on issues are not taken out of context, twisted, turned — or, even, unreported — by the news media. This is a very interesting approach! If the media wants his input on an issue, he plans to post their question and his answer.

Perhaps the question remains: what does the print media need to do to regain the public trust and perform consistently in an ethical manner?

Like most complex issues, I believe trust and ethics are directly related to the quality of the individual and his or her commitment to excellence in their professional life. Thirty years ago, I was a corporate media spokesperson at a frighteningly young age. I took the time to get to know the reporters, rely on them for guidance, explain the subject in great detail; similarly, the reporters took the time to understand the issue and double-check facts and figures. Intriguingly, I was never misquoted. Never. Not once. I considered these individuals to be seasoned professionals, mentors, and true professionals. No, their reporting was not always to my liking, but the manner in which they performed their job was beyond reproach.

But, that was then and this is now. What has changed? Everything.

I will offer one perspective on the issue of blogs vs. newspapers. A blogger, like me, is taking the time to write about an issue that I want to write about and that I feel passionately about. Question: so, what about the subject of ethics? Answer: I do not have a deadline, I have no editor that is biased, and I even get to write my own headline!

If we were to agree (for the sake of argument) to remove any allegation of intentional breach of ethics by the media, I would say that today’s journalist does not have the same commitment to the profession as their predecessors. They seem to be in too big of a hurry, they don’t take the time to get all the facts and double-check them, they are not well-versed in what is going on in their community and therefore have no context, institutional knowledge, or historical perspective. They very quickly make a public impression of themselves as either a credible reporter — or, one that won’t be in that line of work much longer…

Poor reporting, just like anything else, becomes a behavior that the public ultimately recognizes — and then the public reacts accordingly. For example, if the editorial page editor is extremely liberal, the public picks up on that, and filters (and, maybe, even ignores), the columns written by that individual (or his or her editorial team). Likewise, if a news reporter consistently ‘gets it wrong’ the public will pick up on that as well and tend to discount (or at least question) whatever that reporter writes. Once the public trust is lost, the situation spins further out of control because sources of information to the reporter become less and less willing to waste time with them; and, reporters, not knowing anything about the story they are required to write by their editor (to be fair), continue to turn out a work product (in this case, a ‘story’) that would be considered inferior by the standards of any other industry.

In the end, just like with any other job or relationship, you can forever lose your ethics in just a brief moment of lapse in judgment. Weirdly, this critical issue does not seem to apply to reporters — or maybe reporters just think they can say whatever they want to say without consequence or accountability — but, in reality, they are ultimately personally responsible (although not liable) for conducting themselves in an ethical manner.

As for me, I think the opportunity to say what I want to say about whatever issue is of importance to me tends to indicate blogging is the best source of information available to the thoughtful individual, both today and in the foreseeable future.

Ethics in Education

Emily Wyschynskyj asked:

In a post WorldCom, post Enron world, should colleges be doing more to prepare graduates for what lies ahead in the ‘real world’? It is safe to say that somewhere along the line ethics education has failed within this country. One need look no further than the front page of their morning paper, or the quarterly update of their portfolio, to realize how desperate this situation has become.

            Not so long ago businessmen, and women, were looked up to; the title of CEO came with an underlying respect from the employees of an organization, as well as outsiders. It really meant something to hold the highest position within a company. Flash back to today and the title Chief Executive Officer evokes quite a different picture. Type ‘CEO’ into any popular search engine and within 5.8 seconds you will be bombarded with over 300,000 results. Many of which also contain phrases like: crisis, bailout or lawsuit.

            In an effort to remedy this situation, Universities have begun to integrate ethics education into their business curriculums, as well as into the regular curriculum for all students. In a study conducted by Angela Hernquist, doctoral candidate from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, 90% of responding institutions indicated that Ethics was part of their curriculum. Over a decade earlier the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy passed the requirement that all licensed Certified Public Accountants complete a four hour, board approved, ethics course (VanZante). This requirement was later supplemented by two hours or ethics courses every three years. Following the Enron, and subsequent Anderson LLP collapses, TSBPA required an additional four hours of ethics every two years beginning January of 2005 (VanZante).

            It is certainly nice to hear that things are being done to ensure that graduates leaving their field of study will be better prepared for the workplace, but are we really meant to believe that a five credit course, or a mere four hours can change who a person really is? From personal experience I can confidently say no, the ethics education that I have received in college has done nothing to influence what kind of person I am. A brief rundown of the course syllabus may hold the key as to why I do not feel that I got my money’s worth of ethics. While utilitarianism and other various philosophies may be at the foundation of a great education, what do they really have to do with ethics today? Will I make a better CEO because I understand Ayn Rand?

            Time in the classrooms of our Universities would be better spent teaching mathematics, writing, or even psychology. Perhaps if we understood why people behaved unethically we could do something to stop it. One thing is clear; the ethics we are being taught today are failing us. Failing us as students, and as citizens of the world. If we are really to believe that we do not learn ethics until college that what hope is there when nearly 25% of Americans never make it that far (Henry). Are we a nation of heathens running around like a ticking time bomb? I propose that we begin learning ethics much earlier than college, even earlier than grade school. Ethics begin in the home, the community, and the individual.

            People are beginning to recognize the need for early ethics education in children, and have started to do something about it. Patti Martin, B.S., M.A., Director of Ethical Education, has opened an ethics course for children ages 2-12. Her program is called Sunday Ethical Education for Kids, or SEEKS. SEEK aims to do what some parents apparently cannot, to instill ethics into the children of the community in one hour segments. SEEK meets once a week, on Sundays naturally, at the University of Missouri Extension Center, in Mid Rivers Missouri. There are no expectations, just the hope that parents will bring their children by to get some much needed guidance on becoming a better person.

            Maybe more programs are needed in colleges, or maybe the child ethics courses offered at the University of Missouri are the answer. Whatever that answer may be, one thing is for sure, we haven’t found it yet, and if we do not find it soon we are setting ourselves up for more disaster. I don’t know how the rest of the country feels, but I am not looking forward to a lifetime of paying the high salaries of today’s CEOs in what feels like a never ending stream of corporate bailouts.

Henry, Tamara. “Report: Greater Percent of Americans Educated”. USA Today 6/05/2002

 Hernquist, Angela. “A Survey of Ethics Courses in State College and University Curricula”. University of Nevada Las Vegas. February 2005

“Raising Ethical Children”. Mid Rivers Ethical Society. 11/28/2008 .

VanZante, Neal. “Improving Professional Ethics”. The CPA Journal May 2005

Teenagers and the Ethics of Music File Sharing

gavi eskin asked:

My sixteen year old daughter is a typical teenager – sometimes she’s rude and arrogant, but most times she’s just asleep or grooming herself- If only she worked at math like she works on her hair.  Like mostteens she loves music. I have tried to broaden her appreciation of different genres by submitting her to music she wouldn’t normally listen to. I’ve had some success with Billy holiday and Louis Armstrong and even some classics like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.

As well as musical appreciation I have also tried to give her an appreciation of ethical behaviour, and even though she exhibits none of her own, I think she gets the concept on the whole. Yet when it comesto downloading and file sharing, it all falls apart, after all ‘sharing is caring’ – what can you say to that? I tell her that she wouldn’t steal a CD from a friend. She tells me no but she would borrow one. I don’t reply because I can’t even remember if that’s legal or not. The way she sees it is that she’s simply borrowing music from other peoples files and not making a CD, and again I don’t know if that’s legal or not.

Now I’m trying to tell my kids to behave ethically but I cannot understand the technology and the legal implications. I’m beginning to appreciate the annoying piracy ads on DVD’s – at least you know where you stand. It’s hard to keep up with the changing technology and now it seems to be changing again. Now we have so called legal free download sites.

I know I’m stretching things when I ask my sixteen year old if she’s worried about artists maintaining their artistic integrity if they are being paid not for their work but instead for selling ad space on the internet. A little, she admits, well that’s something I think. But then she continues I don’t really care; I just want to relax and listen to some music. What about the message in the music? But I’ve already lost this one, and I don’t even understand the argument myself.

Not only that but I feel like such a hypocrite having enjoyed a few downloaded movies with the kids – it seemed too innocent at the time. OK I concede, let’s just try stick to the legal download sites, at least to avoid viruses.

Purpose of Ethics in a Business Environment

Laura Erickson asked:

Ethics can be defined as a set of moral values or principles that consist of a moral duty and obligation. In the business setting they are the rules or standards which govern the conduct of employees. This code of conduct encourages public confidence in the products and services of the company. A profession is formed on the basis of a generally accepted body of knowledge, a standard of achievement and code of ethics that is strictly enforced. A code of ethics is said to be a crucial element in the foundation of a profession. The three major accounting professional organizations follow an ethics code.

Ethics are especially important in the work of a management accountant so they have the right elements and are able to serve their management efficiently. The behavior of a management accountant is governed by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) Code of Ethics. When this code of ethics is followed a trusting relationship develops so the work of the accountants is able to be relied upon and it also enhances their professionalism. The four main standards that appear on the code of ethics are competence, credibility, confidentiality and integrity. The standard of competence requires that every member must maintain a high level of professionalism by continuing to develop their skills and knowledge, be able to perform their duties by still abiding by relevant laws and regulations. Also to provide supportive decisions and other information that is accurate and timely and lastly to be able to recognize any limitations or constraints that relate to the success o an activity. Credibility refers to each member being able to communicate information objectively and make sure that they disclose all relevant information and delays of deficiencies that have an effect on the organization or its operations. The concept of confidentiality refers to each member of the organization keeping all personal information discrete and secret unless it is necessary that the information is disclosed. All parties involved must be aware and comply to the confidential policy. It is also assumed that under this standard each member will refrain from using information that is considered confidential to have an illegal advantage or promote unethical activities. The last standard in the code of ethics is integrity. Integrity refers to the ability to adhere to moral and ethical principles and have regular communication to avoid conflicts of interest. Also acting with integrity includes refraining and abstaining from engagement in any activity that with discredit the company or be deemed as unethical. 

The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) insures that all members of their organization should always behave ethically. Each member is obligated to commit to practices that are both ethical and professional. Their ethical principles include: Honesty, Fairness, Objectivity and Responsibility. Everyone has their own knowledge of honesty and what it means to be honest. Being truthful and sincere is said to be acting honestly and it will help in an organization if everyone possesses those qualities. Fairness in accounting is defined as a company’s financial statements being presents in an understandable, and comprehensive way to not favor one party over another. Objectivity refers to not acting based on personal feelings or prejudice and being unbiased. Responsibility is an obligation or duty to do things that you feel is right. In a business environment these are all key principles that each person must follow and uphold in order to maintain some sort of ethical standard to work and live by. Every member should not only abide by them but also encourage others in their organization to do the same; failure to comply can result in strong discipline.

Organizations can have as many rules and regulations they want when it comes down to acting ethical and how to punish those who don’t but sometimes conflicts do arise that can’t be handled just by your organization’s policies. In situations like these other courses of action must be applied and taken into consideration. To resolve ethical conflicts you should first talk to your supervisor and discuss the situation with them. If this doesn’t help to resolve the conflict it would be a good idea to keep moving up the chain of management until an immediate answer is found that would help to resolve the problem. Another option would be to discuss your possible outcomes to the situation with an IMA counselor to get a better idea of what your options are. To take it one step further you could also contact your attorney to legal obligations and rights that may be involved in the conflict of ethics.

There are always going to be ethical issues that arise but having a good ethics code within your organization there is a high chance that conflicts can be resolved. It is necessary that the ethics code be enforced and if someone is acting unethically or not abiding by the code that they person should face serious consequences. Ethics provide the foundation for which a civilized society can exist and therefore they are a key element in the success of all business and accounting professions.

Download Free Online Movies – The Ethics

Peter Nisbet asked:

It is possible to download free online movies legally, with or without p2p file sharing software. It is not the peer to peer networks that are illegal but the way they are used, and it unfair to blame the tool and not the user.

It is not only downloading free online movies that we are discussing here, but also so-called free music downloads and video game downloads. Here we shall not only be looking at P2P software services and how they are used illegally and the ethics of free online music and movie file sharing, but also how to download movies and music legally.

A. P2P File Sharing Software

Peer to peer file sharing software allows users to connect to specific file formats on the hard drives of other members of the P2P network that are connected to the network at the same time. You can use one of the free open source P2P file sharing networks such as Gnutella directly, though most prefer to do so through a paid membership system that offers some benefits over the raw option, including accelerated music and free movie downloading speeds, enhanced file storage and retrieval, more reliable downloads, absence of dangerous malware, such as adware and spyware, and connection to more sources.

To locate a free movie, music track or game to download, you simply enter the name of the movie, track, artist or even genre and you will receive a list of what is currently available on the network, the quality of the reproduction, the file format, and how many sources are currently available online from which to download. The more sources for each track or movie the better. Click on your choice, choose the destination folder and the download starts. It is very easy to use.

You will download free online movies simultaneously from all sources (hard disks or other storage devices) offering your choice of free movie download (or music track or free game). The more there are then generally the shorter the download time.

B. Download Free Online Movies Legally

Free movie downloads (or music or video game downloads) are legal if the movies or entertainment files are not copyrighted. There are many public domain and non-copyrighted files available online that you can find using a simple internet search using your favorite search engine. You can legally download as many such online movies or music tracks as want.

Many new movie-makers that want their work publicized sometimes offer their work copyright-free, as do many people who make home movies. The same is true of new bands and singers that want to build up a fan base before releasing their work commercially, or that want to advertise a new album by offering free music tracks from it. Others might release a beta version of a new game on a P2P file sharing network to get any bugs sorted and also a sense of how well received the idea or concept of the game might be.

In other words, free legal movie downloads, free online music downloads and legal free online games provide a benefit for both the originators and the users of such free entertainment files. The problem lies in the illegal downloading of copyrighted work.

C. Illegal P2P File Sharing

Peer to peer file sharing becomes illegal when the files being shared are under copyright. This applies to all current chart hits and online movie blockbusters, new games and most commercial software that is not open source or in the public domain. Most work produced over the past 50 years is liable to be copyright protected, although much of it is also copyright-free, and can be downloaded. A good rule of thumb is if you are unsure, and then don’t download it. Unfortunately most people download free online movies illegally.

A good membership P2P file sharing network should inform you if you are attempting to download free online movies or music that requires a license to download – another advantage of using a paid peer to peer network. It is unfair to condemn the software or the P2P network because of its misuse – the software is not illegal and neither is its use: it is the way that most people use it that is illegal. But should it be?

D The Ethics of P2P File Sharing and Illegal and Legal Movie Downloads

Who are movie and pop stars who openly use drugs, trash hotels and blatantly and publicly break other laws and get away with it to complain when kids break the law by copying one of their tracks or movies? The movie and music industry would be better spending their time putting their own house in order than chasing high school kids and fining their moms for downloading free movies or music tracks.

However, although that is my opinion, there are circumstances where those that download free online movies illegally can damage the entertainment industry. It is the professional movie, music and video game pirates that use P2P file sharing software to download entertainment files and copy them to portable storage devices such as CDs and DVDs by the hundreds of thousands for sale that are causing the real problem, and it is they that should be vigorously pursued, not the kids.

A major problem with this is that a large number of these pros are Asian, and it is not possible to prosecute these people in their own countries. So where does that leave us? Is it ethical to prosecute and give massive fines to people breaching copyright using P2P networks while being unable to touch those causing most of the damage? Is it right to fine a kid for copying a track from an album, who then goes on to purchase that album or even to buy a ticket for the live concert because they liked what they heard or saw?

Many of the whingers owe part of their success to illegal music downloads, because it was partially through these that they came into public prominence. The ethics of P2P free movie downloads and illegal music downloads are not as clear-cut and unarguable as those mooting them might have us believe, although we are not yet in a situation where anything other than legal movie downloads and paid music file sharing can be justified.

P2P file sharing networks are not all bad, however, and in a free world should never be made illegal – only used properly and intelligently by artistes, designers and the public alike. One day we will be able to legally download free online movies and music that has been specifically produced for promotional and testing purposes, and this shall become a common marketing and testing technique for new film and music genres, and new video game ideas.

Ethics and Counselling Applications

Pedro Gondim asked:

“Ethics (from Greek – meaning “custom”) is the branch of axiology, one of the four major branches of philosophy, which attempts to understand the nature of morality; to distinguish that which is right from that which is wrong. The Western tradition of ethics is sometimes called ‘moral philosophy'”. (WIKIPEDIA).

The origins of ethics are related to the introduction of moral behaviour in early societies. The application of concepts such as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, and the definition of these concepts in different environments, induced the need for a formal approach to social behaviour – an attempt to create commonality and organisation in a society. In this context, codes of behavior were created, and different forms of behaviour enforcement adopted.

As societies developed, and increasing importance was placed in structural thinking – such as the advent of sciences – meta-ethics became an eminent topic of discussion. Meta-ethics refers to the investigation of ethical statements, an actual analysis of ethics itself. Names such as Hobbes, Kant and Nietzsche were prominent in this period.

Nowadays, ethics is still a main topic of discussion. As societies evolve, the relationships between individuals become more complex, and so do the etiquettes and codes of conduct. The development of business relationships has raised many ethical dilemmas, and ethical counselling is one of them.

Ethical Counselling

Because counselling is not a regulated profession in many countries (including Australia), the use of ethical standards is a method of guiding the quality of the services provided by counsellors, the quality of training provided to counsellors, and of protecting clients.

These standards provide conduct guidelines for professionals and are an effective way support many counsellors lacking experience or knowledge of the industry. It also serves the purpose of structuring the counselling industry, providing common professional descriptions, definitions and service boundaries according to each type of counsellor.

There is a wide range of issues comprising the field of ethical counselling – which are also part of common guidelines for the practice of therapy. According to Daniluk and Haverkamp (1993), “the main ethical framework referred to in many discussions of therapy is one based on the concepts of autonomy, fidelity, justice, beneficence, non-maleficence and self interest”. In this context, we devise several ‘problem areas’ in ethical counselling:

Law and Counselling

The need for professionalisation has created a common link between ethical behaviour and legal conduct in the therapy fields. Legislation was provided to primarily protect clients from misguidance, and ultimately to provide guidelines for the profession. However, as cited previously, in most countries ethical conduct in counselling is not yet part of the legal framework – which outlines the importance of professional and industry peak associations in providing guidelines and codes of conduct for affiliated professionals.

The Australian Counselling Association is one industry association in Australia that provides ethical guidelines and a code of conduct for counsellors. The ACA’s Code of Ethics and Code of Practice are part of the Code of Conduct – which can be accessed from their website at www.theaca.net.au/docs/code_conduct.pdf. An excerpt from this Code is:

Counsellors will:

– Offer a non-judgemental professional service, free from discrimination, honouring the individuality of the client.

– Establish the helping relationship in order to maintain the integrity and empowerment of the client without offering advice.

– Be committed to ongoing personal and professional development.

Confidentiality

This area is closely linked with the legal issues in counselling therapy. Confidentiality plays a major role in defining the communication between a counsellor and a client, bearing in mind that trust is one of the backbones of a therapeutic relationship. Albeit confidentiality is a key component of the relationship, it is also one of the leading causes of ethical dilemmas for counsellors. Situations which may put the client – or other individuals – in danger usually require the counsellor to make difficult decisions in regards to breaching confidentiality. In many instances, the actual breach is a legal requirement as it may incur the prevention of a crime against the state, or another person.

Other predominant issues such as consultancy with supervisors or colleagues; definition of the type of confidentiality to be used (absolute or relative) prior to the counselling relationship; and session record-keeping, must be considered by therapists when practicing professional counselling.

Bad Practice

The issues of privacy and power in a counselling session can be prejudicial in terms of unethical practice. The private nature of a counselling session leaves a ‘gap for unsupervised practice’, and therefore it is quite difficult to be assessed. For instance, fairly recent explorations of unethical practice in therapy have shown the emerging problem of sexual abuse of clients. This issue is augmented by the power relationship between client and counsellor, in which the therapist could take advantage of their position of power to practice unethical behaviour.

Training and Professional Recognition (Australian Industry)

As cited before, counselling is not regulated in most countries. In order to standardise the industry, and ensure that counsellors have the necessary skills to professionally practice, training and recognition must be accentuated. In Australia, the ACA plays a role in coordinating industry efforts, providing information to the public and maintaining records of counsellors in practice.

That system protects clients from bad practice, and supports training standards for organisations that provide counsellor training. The Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors, as an example, is recognised by the ACA – which means that AIPC and the Diploma of Professional Counselling complies with industry standards defined by this peak organisation in regards to training standards for counsellors.

Safety and Negligence

These concepts are utmost concerns of counsellors in practice. A counsellor-client relationship is a very delicate encounter of an individual seeking help, and a professional providing advice. Primarily, it is the counsellor’s responsibility to provide a safe environment for the counselling session – particularly because physical and psychological safety is a premise for the counselling therapy to succeed. Negligence is closely related to the concepts of breach of confidentiality and safety. Observing principles for duty of care is part of ethical behaviour in counselling.

Complying with ethical guidelines is one of the most important aspects of being a professional counsellor. Creating awareness in both counsellor and clients of the boundaries of the services provided will lead to a better development of the profession, and overall improvement of industry standards. Counsellors are responsible for keeping up-to-date with professional codes of ethics, confidentiality guidelines, and other relevant information.

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Objectivity and Confidentiality as Ima Ethical Standards

Jennifer Burns asked:

Objectivity is another core accounting principle. Objectivity refers to unbiased reporting of clients’ financial information. Even though at times accountants may be pressured by clients, objectivity is essential in correct reporting of financial data for stakeholder decisions. As an educational institution can be regarded as that of a profit organization, it is important for students to remain unbiased in making own opinions about the educational processes. Aside from this, when deciding on professional qualities of tutors and evaluating the peer work working in groups, it is important not to mix own feelings, attitudes, and prejudice with professional qualities and work requirements attributed to an individual. Only when doing so, a student can expect similar behavior in return, which establishes the basic conditions for operations of an educational institution.

In accounting, confidentiality of client’s or employer’s affairs can be overridden only when legal, ethical, or professional requirements call for disclosure of information. In academic community, the issue is less complex, as it cannot be penalized legally except for, perhaps, by poor reputation. Still, it is important to make a distinction about information that can be made public and the one that should remain private, for example – academic performance of students. In order to ensure equality of opportunities and students’ right for privacy, the decision whether to reveal certain information or not should be left to a student.

To sum up, the four IMA standards, competence, integrity, objectivity, and confidentiality are the base not only for accounting practice, but they are the backbone of every democratic institution. Even though there is a difference in consequences realizing from inability to follow the principles in academic and professional spheres, it is only due to nature of the industry itself. In accounting practice IMA standards must be followed because of possible administrative penalties, whereas in educational institution they remain to be a matter of ethics without fear being employed as a stimulator. Nevertheless, the four principles should be applied, as they both ensure good performance of an educational institution and have a positive impact on students’ individuality, skills, and professional qualities.

Ethical Behavior in Future Leadership – Nu Leadership Series

Furqan Suleman asked:

Men cease to interest us when we find their limitations. The sin is limitations. As soon as you once come up to a man’s limitations, it is all over with him.

Emerson

Many people wonder about the trends of unethical conduct by today’s leaders. Obviously, some executives and government officials have not upheld the standards of their positions by not stopping the unethical behavior among their peers.

If an observer was to review past leaders’ conduct, one would be able to appreciate the ethics involved for 21st century organizations. There are still problems to solve and challenges to discover. As people continue to be hired or elected in order to gain power for the wrong reasons, society will continue to see unethical conduct. However, people must expect high standards from today’s leaders and never compromise their own principles in the process.

Organizations can be most effective when they build their organizations around shared values. However, leaders must buy-in and become value advocates. Leaders must model the way, and they must demand proper ethical behaviors from their peers. This can be clearly understood from a biblical context. 1 Corinthians 15:33 reads, “Don’t fool yourselves. Bad friends will destroy you.” People, especially leaders, need to pick their friends and associates carefully.

President Harry Truman said, “Men make history, and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” Therefore, it is important that leaders align themselves with the right people.

Just as God provided Adam the instructions to lead humanity, leaders must provide a blueprint for greater ethical conduct for others. Therefore, this responsibility is in the hands of today’s leaders’ hands.

References:

Ciulla, J.B. (1998). Ethics: The Heart of Leadership. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Heuser, B. (2005). The Ethics of Social Cohesion. Peabody Journal of Education. 80(4), pp.8-15.

Kern, C. (2003). Creating and Sustaining an Ethical Workplace Culture, Pepperdine University.

King, S. (2006). The Moral Manager. Public Integrity. 8(2), pp.113-133. © 2007 by Daryl D. Green

Daryl D. Green has published over 100 articles in the field of decision-making (personal and organizational), leadership, and organizational behavior. Mr. Green is also the author of four books, including More than a Conqueror: Achieving Personal Fulfillment in Government Service. Do you want to improve your life? Do you want to make better decisions? If you answer “yes,” then go to the ‘master decision-making’ website at http://www.darylgreen.org

Warren Buffet’s Investment Ethics

Mika Hamilton asked:

When investors think of the person and success they would most like to emulate, Warren Buffet’s name is top on the list. He is seen an extremely successful and moral investor that has made his money through dedication and diligence.

Buffet’s entire life is a testimonial to the American dream and what can be achieved through smart investing. Warren Buffett holds position two, as the second most affluent man in the United States. He is unique to that list because he has made the majority of his wealth investing in other companies.

Warren Buffett presently presides as the CEO of his investment company, Berkshire Hathaway. He acquired this company in the late 1960s, nurturing and molding it into the highest priced and most fruitful listing on the New York Stock exchange.

Warren offers an unusual duality for a business man. He is often described (even by himself) as an introvert with simple tastes and a disheveled appearance. Pair this shy, “grandpa-like” exterior with a commanding aptitude for power investing and judiciously seeking out corporate talent and management – the combination is unstoppable.

Warren Buffett’s methodology and life philosophy is diligently studied, he is worshipped, respected, and recognized as the world’s most successful investor of the 20th century. Conservative in business and appearance he is a liberal at heart, which contrasts him sharply with his peers. He has set the standard for and broken the stereotype that a successful business man cannot flourish financially and maintain a solid set of ethical ideals.

Warren Buffett is a “reluctant” philanthropist. Giving away money is just like loosing money, and Buffett does not like either. It was, his wife and later his traveling companion, Susan, that inspired, and encouraged Warren to give money to number of local charities. These nonprofit organization were located in regions suffering from poverty, that she found herself dedicated too.

Even though he believed that these organizations would misuse the funds and his money would be wasted, he donated freely. He supported his wife’s ideals and became an active participant in her causes which centered around abortion, birth control, and homeless youths. Together, the pair created a foundation called Glide.

This organization was a joint venture used to direct monetary contributions to those particular causes. In 2000 it was rumored that Buffett, upon his passing, intended to make the Buffett Foundation his sole beneficiary. Warren Buffet love baseball and can often be overheard and quoted using baseball metaphors in his lectures, books, and interviews.

This love of baseball prompted his over 1 million dollar contribution to Omaha’s Minor League Baseball Commission to ensure baseball stays in Nebraska. Warren also aided Grinnell College in acquiring a radio station that was public, for 13 million dollars. Grinnell, two years later, sold the station for 35 million dollar profit.

Buffet was temporarily apprehensive over the sale, but the returned revenue spoke for itself. He has also indulged his liberal side by investing in a libertarian magazine start-up in Washington DC, which eventually failed.

Resolving the Dilemma of Ethical Marketing

David Deakin asked:

Many service professionals will tell you that the words ‘ethical’ and ‘marketing’ don’t belong in the same sentence. While you’d be opening another can of worms by asking for a precise definition of ‘ethics’, let’s just say for the moment that often marketing leaves us feeling a little dirty, or sleazy if you prefer. One marketing guru summed it up by saying that marketing and sales are the world’s second-oldest profession – and often are indistinguishable from the first! Is that how you feel? If so, you have a problem (and you didn’t need me to tell you that!) That’s because without marketing you’re on the fast-track to retiring from a dull middle-management job at a faceless, heartless corporation. Not much in the way of choice, I hear you say!

Well, perhaps there is a third way. Let me say that a little more positively: I KNOW there is a way to be as successful as you choose to be at marketing without feeling like you need a hot shower and a scrub. Let’s take a few moments to explore the marketing dilemma and see if we can unravel it.

First, let’s acknowledge that not all of us would do anything for a quick buck. Most of us (certainly the professionals I work with) went into professional services because we really believed that we could do things better if we weren’t hamstrung by corporate red-tape, and that by doing things better we could better serve the customers whose dollar we were on. Has that changed? Not for me – and I doubt it has for you either. So at its heart our business exists because we believe it helps those we do business with as much as – if not more so than – it does ourselves. Many professionals remember this simple fact by carrying a Vision or Mission Statement which says so. (Without intending to get off track, I cannot recommend highly enough that you regularly reconnect with the reasons you went into business in the first place. Our Marketing Mindset process helps our clients to do just that. Please go to www.zee2a.com/7principles.html to view the process.)

Second, let’s agree that sometimes we really need to close a deal in order to survive. We’ve all had months when the taxman was calling, the bank manager was refusing to extend the overdraft and the kids were expecting to be equipped for university like Shackleton was for the Antarctic! Some of us have had more of those months than we care to remember! At times like that it doesn’t help to hear some smart aleck say that if you really need the money, you shouldn’t do the deal. They may be right – and if so we’ll have our nose rubbed in it later when we’re trying to untangle from a customer whose expectations were way too high but whose commitment was close to non-existent. But in the heat of the moment it’s human nature to do what we have to do in order to survive, so we do and say whatever it takes to get the signature on the proposal.

Clearly then, there are times when our commitment to a customer doesn’t closely mirror our overall vision for our business. And if we have too many of those, we start to question our vocation. You may not realise this, but you should: Getting to feeling like that is a GOOD THING! It means that your profession still means something to you; that you still want to be better. You want to be better for your own sake, and you want to be better for your customers’ sake. If you ever lose that desire, you’re in deep trouble and I’m not sure who can help you!

However, that scenario should not be the norm for service professionals. All too often, though, it is. Why? Because we neglect the necessary chore of regularly prospecting for customers until the urgency is great enough to force us out of our comfort-zone. Or, to put it another way, we don’t do any marketing until we’re having ‘one of those months’ – the type that make us unethical marketers! Are you sensing the pattern here?

Finally, then, lets discuss how to break the cycle that leads to ethical misdemeanours. It seems too obvious to say, but plainly it’s not: Do more marketing more regularly, and you won’t have many of ‘those months’. Of course it’s one thing to say it and quite another to do it. How do we market regularly? What does that involve? How do we get the most bang for the buck? We are busy people, so only the most effective marketing activities should be in our portfolio or else we’re wasting time and money, right?

Many years of testing and sifting have demonstrated to me that there is nothing that even comes close to Relationship Marketing in terms of effectiveness for service professionals. As I define it, Relationship Marketing is about building trust with and demonstrating credibility to prospective clients before initiating the crucial sales conversation – letting them get acclimitised to you and plying them with information about your services so that when you ask for their business they have little hesitation because they already know they’re going to get value-for-money. And for it to work successfully on a consistent basis, you have to have a game-plan for it.

Put in a nutshell then, a good Relationship Marketing game plan well-executed is the cure for the ethical marketing nightmare. So what are you waiting for? Make sure NOW that your marketing strategy is focused on building relationships – not just when you’re desperate for new business but every week and every month. Your conscience will thank you later!

©David Deakin and Zee2A Limited 2008.

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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.

Introduction To Business Ethics

Jonathon Hardcastle asked:

Is it possible for an individual with strong moral values to make ethically questionable decisions in a business setting? What affects a person’s inclination to make either ethical or unethical decisions in a business organization? Although the answers to that question are not entirely clear, there appear to be three general sets of factors that influence the standards of behavior in an organization; individual factors, social factors and opportunity.

Several individual factors influence the level of ethical behavior in an organization. An individual’s knowledge level regarding an issue can help to determine ethical behavior. A decision maker with a greater amount of knowledge regarding an object or situation may take steps to avoid ethical problems, whereas a less-informed person may unknowingly take action that leads to an ethical conflict. One’s moral values and central, value-related attitudes clearly influence his or her business behavior. Most people join organizations to accomplish personal goals. The types of personal goals an individual aspires to and the manner in which these goals are pursued have significant impact on that individual’s behavior in an organization.

A person’s behavior in the workplace is, to some degree, determined by cultural norms, and these social factors vary from one culture to another. For example, in some countries it is acceptable and ethical for customs agents to receive gratuities for performing ordinary, legal tasks that are a part of jobs, whereas in other countries these practices would be viewed as unethical and perhaps illegal. The actions and decisions of coworkers is another social factor believed to shape a person’s sense of business ethics. For example, if your coworkers make long-distance telephone calls on company time and at company expense, you might view that behavior as acceptable and ethical because everyone does it. Significant others are persons to whom someone is emotionally attached-spouses, friends, and relatives, for instance. Their moral values and attitudes can also affect an employee’s perception of what is ethical and unethical in the workplace.

Opportunity refers to the amount of freedom an organization gives an employee to behave ethically if he or she makes that choice. In some organizations, certain company policies and procedures reduce the opportunity to be unethical. For example, at some fast-food restaurants, one person takes your order and receives your payment and another person fills the order. This procedure reduces the opportunity to be unethical because the person handling the money is not dispensing the product, and the person giving out the product is not handling the money. The existence of an ethical code and the importance management places on this code are other determinants of opportunity. The degree of enforcement of company policies, procedures, and ethical codes is a major force affecting opportunity. When violations are dealt with consistently and firmly, the opportunity to be unethical is reduced.

Inculcation of Ethics Through Education and Globalization Effects on Ethics

naraginti amareswaran asked:

Inculcation of Ethics Through Education and Globalization

Effects on Ethics

                                                                                                                                                            

INTRODUCTION

‘The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government’…………..  Thomas Jefferson.  

‘When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist’……………..Dom Helder Camara.

            Now we are living in the technological modern world. Science and Technology have a prominent role in the development of the any nation in the world. India is a developing county in the world. Indian economy is the fourth largest economy in the world.   According to 2001 census the literacy rate of India is 64.84%. It is very less when compared to developed county in the world. The Planning Commission made a survey for finding out the number of persons below poverty line and estimated that 18.96% of the total peoples live below poverty line as of the year 1993-94. It is necessary to take care about poor and illiteracy.

ETHICS

            Ethics is a major branch of philosophy, encompasses right conduct and good life. It is significantly broader than the common conception of analyzing right and wrong. A central aspect of ethics is “the good life”, the life worth living or life that is satisfying, which is held by many philosophers to be more important than moral conduct. The major problem is the discovery of the summum bonum, the greatest good.  

            Ethics are related to institutions and rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and human rights accordingly stem from ethics even if no moral grounds can be adduced. Yet moral grounds are to be found everywhere, including science. From the point where, in the name of ethics, science itself does not fall outside this domain, morals, similarly, do not lie outside the realm of ethics as ethics are a profoundly human, secular construction in so far as they represent a conscious choice or plan and a legal endeavour in terms of the law. The confusion that exists between rights and values on the one hand and between morals and ethics on the other lie at the heart of the debate on universal ethics, that is to say, universal ethics based on recognition of human rights.

            Morals are linked to the very definition of ethics. Moral principles are extremely diverse. As it happens, morals, historically speaking, have come to be increasingly connected with religion as human society has developed. Therefore, the moral debate has also become a religious one and, as many religious phenomena do not lie beyond the scope of laws, between majorities and minorities, nor the ideological choices involved, it may be difficult to find the same moral values for all societies. Moral values are very diverse. A number of values are universal.

In generally, values may be classified as;

?         Personal Values

?         Social Values

?         Moral Values

?         Spiritual Values and

?         Behavioural values.

All these values are necessary for all types of persons in the society.

Why Ethics?

            To enable young people to appreciate themselves and others, and to take greater responsibility for their actions and for the world around them.

ETHICS AND ECONOMICS

            There are three ways in which ethics enters economics. First, economists have ethical values that help shape the way they do economics. This builds into the core of economic theory a particular view of how the economy does work and how it should work. Second, economic actors (consumers, workers, business owners) have ethical values that help shape their behavior. Third, economic institutions and policies impact people differentially and thus ethical evaluations, in addition to economic evaluations, are important.

Economists have Ethical Values

            The issue of ethical value judgments in economics is at least as old as the John Neville Keynes argument which divided economics into three areas: positive (economic theory), normative (welfare economics), and practical (economic policy). The first deals with ‘what is’, the second with ‘what ought to be’, and the third with how to get from one to the other. Although the majority of economists admit that ethical values permeate welfare economics and economic policy, they proceed with some confidence in the belief that their work in pure and applied economic theory is ethically neutral. Methodologists studying the question are more cautious.

            Ethics in the relationship between developed and less developed countries dictates that the developedcountries treat the less developed countries fairly, aware of their disadvantaged economic position, andacknowledging that taking advantage of one’s own economic power inevitably will hurt the poor withindeveloping countries.

What is unethical?

Economic institutions, rules, practices which disadvantage the poor will be viewed as unethical

Ethical behavior requires “progressivity”:  the poor should benefit disproportionately

Hypocritical behavior viewed as unethical

 

Advisers who are not “fully honest” viewed as unethical

 

ETHICS AND GLOBALIZATION

 

            The world has been utterly transformed in recent years by a phenomenon affecting us all, what we call globalization. Although there was a time when it was possible for citizens of one country to think of themselves as owing no obligation to the people of other nations, admittedly that was long ago. Today national borders have less meaning as issues of trade, environment, and health, along with incredible technological advances of the last century, have left us with a legacy of connectedness we cannot ignore.

            We know globalization involves complete economic liberalization, i.e., opening doors to big businesses. Multinational corporations are at the forefront. Globalization wants the governments around the world to create an environment that is as conducive as possible to its growth of business. Regional groupings like APEC, GATT and WTO are totally committed to the same goal. The connection between big businesses, governments and regional and international institutions to create an environment for globalization is not an accident. It has historic roots in colonization, and as such, the dominant forces behind globalization are based in the developed world. Nonetheless, it would be wrong to describe globalization today as a replica of the Western colonial experience only. This is because one of the centres of power is based in Japan. Other centres of control in Northeast and Southeast Asia are emerging.

            In reflecting on the good and bad sides of globalization we find that whatever good has come out of it is actually a by-product. The very motive, maximiz
ing profit is responsible for its bad sides. So, globalization may well be one of the most serious challenges ever to the integrity of human civilization. Since society and culture hold some positive aspects it is important that it is not completely rejected. Ethics and moral standards should be injected into some economic activities as a short-term and medium-term strategy. The market should be regulated by ethical principles. The challenge is to devise ethical economically-sound policies built into the globalization process that are in keeping with values. I mean, the economic dimensions of globalization are not the only factors that need reconsidering. Culture should be guided by moral universal values whereby a strong ethic of restraint is within one culture is applied to prevent the dominance of another culture. The internationalization of the ethical values within the consciousness of the individual and the community could be the only hope for humanity. It is almost impossible to effectively censor all information through the Internet, satellite, etc. The individual who derives his/her value-system should be guided by time-honoured principles of what is right and wrong. Such individuals are the real antidotes to the bad effects of globalization.

Positive aspects of Globalization

Ø      Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has helped to reduce poverty by creating jobs and improving incomes.

Ø      The expansion of trade and foreign investment has accelerated social mobility and strengthened the middle class.

Ø      New communications and information technology have helped disseminate knowledge in many fields of study and disciplines.

Ø      Communication is cheaper and easier. Costs of telephone calls as well as travel have fallen. This makes it easier to understand one another. Communities although heterogeneous, can be more cooperative now that are more means of understanding each other.

Ø      Globalization makes it possible for humanity to have compassion for each other when calamities, natural or man-made, affect others.

Ø      Issues such as human rights and public accountability are brought to the fore.

 

Ø      The rights of women are highlighted and the problems many women face are now addressed.

Negative aspects of Globalization

v     Environmental degradation due to unrestrained activities of multinational corporations whose sole aim is to multiply profits.

v     Although poverty has been reduced to a certain extent, new economic disparities have been created. There are stark regional disparities in poverty.

v     Basic necessities in life are set aside in favour of profits. Many developing countries have been occupied with facilitating foreign investment in industries that are lucrative to foreign markets and discarding the most fundamental needs of the people.

v     Globalization aids the removal of national controls over cross-border financial flows. Dramatic outflows of capital from one country to another have caused havoc in some currencies, particularly in Southeast, and South Asia including Bangladesh.

v     Advances in technology aggravated by the outflow of capital to low cost production sites in the developing countries has caused growing unemployment in the developed countries, which is an cause offence to human dignity.

v     Globalization has popularized the consumer culture. Consumerism has given birth to materialism where people are more interested in what they have rather than the essential aspects of humanity.

v     Global consumerism is now forming a homogeneous global culture where rich indigenous cultures of many developing countries are being replaced by cultures with vibrant economies.

v     Formal education systems are emphasizing technical and managerial skills responding to market demands and leaving aside traditional academic subjects. This means that education is nothing more than acquiring specific skills and techniques to do business and less emphasis on development of social or basic sciences.

v     Although the IT boom has given rise to an expanse of information there is a lot of information that is useless and meaningless causing people to be pre-occupied with unimportant things.

v     Double standards are present in the human rights aspect of the present world where they are used as part of many governments’ policy but only when it suits them.

            Because of globalization we have some advantages and disadvantages. We are human beings. Take good things and leave bad things. The policies of some developed countries are not good for developing countries. The ethical value decreases day by day. The business person gives more important for profit only. Organizational ethics is very important.

Centre for Globalization

The Yale Center for the Study of Globalization uses a variety of means to explore globalization and promote the flow of ideas pertinent to our core issues. The activities organized by the YCSG are designed to interconnect in ways that will further the Center’s mission and enable us to achieve our goals. It is necessary to establish this type of centre in our university also. In the modern generation also computer literacy is very low in our community. It is very sad thing that our students have no interest to learn computer education. It is very necessary in the scientific and technological world.

INCULCATION ETHICS THOUGH EDUCATION

 

 

            Value education means inculcating in the children a sense of humanism, a deep concern for the well being of others and the nation. This can be accomplished only when we instill in the children a deep feeling of commitment to values that would build this country and bring back to the people pride in work that brings order, security and assured progress.

            Value education has the capacity to transform a diseased mind into a very young, fresh, healthy, natural and attentive mind. The transformed mind is capable of higher sensitivity and a heightened level of perception this leads to fulfillment of the evolutionary role in man and in life

            By saying autobiography of good persons like Gandiji, Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Ramananda, Tagore and Sathya Sai Baba; we can easily inculcate values in the students and in the people.

 

Thinking with love is truth

Feeling with love is peace

Acting with love is right conduct

Understanding with love is non-violence

-Sathya Sai

            According the Sathya Sai Baba the following five values are necessary for students.

v     Right Conduct

v     Peace

v     Truth

v     Love

v     Non-Violence

Gandhi’s Values:

            In order to create new social order Gandhiji introduced Nai Talim in the year 1937, which is popularly known as Basic Education.

1.      Truth

2.      Non-violence

3.      Freedom

4.      Democracy

5.      Sarva Dharma Samabhava

6.      Equality

7.      Self-realization

8.      Purity of ends and means

9.      Self-discipline

10.  Suddhi

            If there is no place for values education in the curriculum, we can inculcate values through other subjects like Social Sciences & Technology. Learning takes place through lesson plans based on practical, meaningful and fun activities using the five components of:

Stories – about life, identity & relationships;

Quotations, poems and prayers;

Songs and music;

Silent sitting – exercises leading to inner calm and peace;

Activities e.g. drama, discussion, games, role play, community service, etc.

 

CONCLUSIONS

            Swamy Vivekananda said “We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one’s own feet”. It is true. It is our Government duty to give such type of education for each and every student in the country. Through education only we can solve all types of problems. Through education it is easy to motivate people about  Ethical value and Moral values and human rights. Education gives knowledge, strength and creativity. India is a fourth largest economy in the world. The youth population is also very high. By proper using of science & technology and human & natural resources India will become developed country in the world.

We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can’t speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees.

References:

Peter Singer. ‘One World-The Ethics of Globalization’, 2004.

Amrtya Sen. ‘On Ethics and Economics’.

 

3.      Value Education, Dr. Venkataiah, Editor, APH Publishing Corporation, 5, Ansari Road, Daryaganji, New Delhi – 110 002, First Edition, 1998.

4.      Value Education in India, Usha Rai Negi, Editor, Published by association of Indian Universities, AIU House, 16 Kotla Mark, New Delhi – 110 002, 2000.

http://www.google.com

http://www.yahoosearch.com

 

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Business Ethics: Making it Big the Right Way

Akhil Shahani asked:

Most businesses have a mission statement, centered round qualities and values they swear to uphold. How many manage to observe the protocol is questionable, however. Do business ethics matter? Is it sensible to hold on to values when you can have an upper hand in business by casually ignoring them? Contrary to popular assumptions about corporate setups, many businesses today are coming around to stressing on the importance of ethical practices at work. The reasons are obvious. Take for instance the rising charges of fraud against employees by employers. Management cannot expect employees to be champions of ethics but not practice them as a firm.

There is immense value in adhering to business ethics in every undertaking. Being true to the values you preach alone can leave a lasting impression on the minds of your customers. “Business Ethics” by Milton Snoeyenbos, Robert Almeder and James M. Humber, could tell you more about the same, but here’s a small selection.

Fulfilling your duties: Honor every commitment to the best of your abilities. At the same time, be upfront with your customers, if something is not going according to plan – not doing so will not only show you as being less competent, but worse, it will also give you an image of not being trustworthy. If you cannot meet the obligations for some reason, make the requisite amends. But as far as possible, make it your second nature to meet commitments on time.

Concealing information: It isn’t uncommon to hear people say “read the fine print” especially when it comes to business dealings! Many a time brochures and catalogues, in an attempt to sell their products, land up misleading their customers. Remember, they are not likely to return, if faced with rude shocks like that!

Transparency: Financial discrepancies top the list of fraudulent cases in business. Maintain proper accounts and have a proper policy on the disclosure of financial statements.

Code of conduct: Make patience and dignity your key personality traits. Respecting everyone you deal with, including those you do not like too much, is reflective of the business ethics that your firm practices. Manage tricky situations with diplomacy.

Supporting a cause: Get involved with a social cause like a community project, or make contributions towards charity. Doing so will not only elevate the status of your business to that of a responsible and respected organization but also give you a greater sense of satisfaction.

Honesty: Adhering to the age old adage “honesty is the best policy” is sure to take you places. Do not evade taxes; and be fair in your dealings. While this has been reiterated time and again, many organizations still manage to be tripped up by dishonest actions. “Contemporary Issues in Business Ethics” by Joseph R. DesJardins, John J. McCall,

also could help you find answers to some difficult questions.

Open mindedness: A broad minded approach towards growth oriented strategies, new ideas and continuous improvement is essential to the well being of any business environment. Take criticism in your stride without holding petty grudges, acknowledge hard work and have well defined policies for dealing with employees, vendors and customers.

Business ethics make up the moral foundation of your firm. Exercising high standards conveys a strong message about the quality of your firm and the people behind it.

Business Ethics: Managing Your Relationship With Competitors

Nazeer Daud asked:

ness, your competitors are just that: competitors. However, the way you treat your competitors may affect how your customers and the media perceive your business, your ethics, and your friendliness. For those reasons, and more, it’s important that you carefully consider how you act with your competitors. In this article we provide guidance on how you can have a good relationship with competing businesses while limiting the impact this will have on your business success. When customers see you have strong ethics in how you deal with your competitors, they will know for sure that you’ll treat them right.

Congratulate Their Success

When a competing business does something well, you should be prepared to say so. If for example, a competing business has managed to gain greater traction than you, then you should point out that they have done really well, and are a good business, while also pointing out the advantages your business is able to offer that your competitors cannot. This is a good demonstration of the strong ethics within your business, and will certainly leave a positive impression.

Recommend Business Their Way

If you and your competitors are able to cater for different categories of customers, then why not recommend them when you can’t offer a service to a certain customer? This will make you look good, and they might also be able to do the same for you in return. In the end, both of you will end up with more business as a result.

Sales & Marketing Strategies

When it comes to sales and marketing, it can be tempting to point out the negative aspects of your competitors. And, in some cases, it may be an essential part of closing the sale. However, rather than criticising your competitor, why not mention both positive and negative points of their service? Such as: “yes, you are correct, Company A is able to offer lower pricing than we can. For customers that are more price sensitive, and that 100% up-time isn’t essential, they can be a great solution. We cater for more IT-dependant organisations and employ 3 times as many engineers per customer. Company A also use an overseas call-centre, which is a great way to keep costs down, and provide a more efficient service, but we prefer to assign each customer a dedicated account manager.”

However, on some occasions your competitors may not provide a good service. In this case, you should be as polite and tactful about your competitors as possible. You should also cite sources, such as articles and media coverage that supplement your point. After pointing out any negative issues, you might also wish to explain how the company responds to the issues you raised. This will show a certain level of objectivity on your part and will demonstrate that your business has strong ethics and is willing to appreciate your competitors’ problems.

Don’t Bite

When a competitor speaks negatively about your business, it can be hard to know what to do. Especially when you want to ensure your business appears to be friendly and considerate of business ethics. Although it’s important to respond to any issues in an articulate way, you should avoid getting involved in any tit-for-tat. This will help your business to keep its reputation intact.

Business Ethics of Capital Distribution and Creation of Investment

Prof Viswanathan asked:

  Business ethics of Capital Distribution   

By PROF VISWANATHAN 

Director,

International Socio-Economic Research Bureau,   

Chennai,India (E Mail: economist@dataone.in)                             

 

 “Man  is  born  free,  and  everywhere  he  is  in  chains.  Many  a  one  believes  himself  the  master  of  others,  and  yet  he  is  a  greater  slave  than  they. How  has  this change come  about? I  do  not  know…”   

* Rousseau, Jean Jacques – ‘The  Social  Contract’ (p: 100)

 

  Economic  Slavery  and  Ownership  of  Capital:                                              

Rousseau  reserves  no  hesitation  to  admit  his  inability  because  of  the  reality  that  he  witnessed  the  complications  that  deeply  rooted  in  the  premature  socio-economic  order existing  during  his  time.  But  in  the  midst  of  knowledge  explosion  at  present  I  can  deduce  the  reason  for  the  socio-economic  slavery  of  the  people.   I  know  the  answer  for  the  slavery.  It  is  both  very  simple  and  highly  complicated  to  explain  in  the  present  context  of  permutations  and  combinations  of  socio-economic  orders.  The  answer  is  very  simple  on  the  fact  that  as  soon  as  the  man  surrenders  his  capital  to  a  few  capitalists  in  the  name  of  capitalism  or  to  the  ‘State’  in  the  name  of  ‘Socialism’  especially  after  industrial  revolution  man  has  become  slave  to  the  capitalists  or  the  ‘State’.  On  the  other  hand  the  answer  is  very  complicated   that  requires  deep  acumen  to  find  out  exact  faults  and  defects  that  have  deeply  anchored  in  each  and  every  segments  of  socio-economic  order  like  religion,  customs  and  conventions,  education,  law,  politics,  and  psychological  behavior  of  man;  these  socio-economic  segments  have  still  been  propelling  the  views  and  visions  of  man  to  surrender  his  capital  to  the  capitalists  or  to  the  ‘State’  instead  of  retaining  it  with  himself  to  regain  ‘the  economic  power  of  capital’  to  get  rid  of  any  kind  of  slavery.  The  surrender  of  capital  is  the  utter  ignorance  of  man  that  has  ever  been  witnessed  in  the  long  stretch  of  the  history  of  mankind.

                                                                                                                    

A  new  kind  of  slavery  extensively  known  as  ‘Economic  Slavery’ came  to  surface  over  the  social  fabrication  during  the  Industrial  Revolution.  During  this  period  of  Industrial  Revolution  huge  machines  came  to  play  a  vital  role  in  the  production  of  goods  and  services.  The  owners  of  such  huge  machines  i.e. capital  emerged  as  the  masters  of  the  society  and  the  rest  of  members  of  society,  a  vast  majority  of  workers,  turned  into  ‘economic  slaves’  in  all  the  capitalist  societies.

 

After  the  Industrial  Revolution  when  these  huge  machines  were  directly  owned  by  the  ‘State’  the  same  workers  in  the  name  of  ‘Socialism’    in  all  socialist  states.

 

This  is  the  process  of  slavery  what  Rousseau  says  that  man  is  born free  and  everywhere  he  is  in  chains.  How  do  we  have  to  shiver  into  pieces  these  ‘chains  of  slavery’  which  are  still  binding  the  workers  physically  and  mentally   even  in  all  democratic  societies.  The  answer  perches  on  the   elucidation  of  the  people  to  understand  ‘What  is  Capital  Justice? or Business Ethic?’  and  on  the  finding  out  an  ‘economic  technique’  of  ‘how  to  entrust  the  capital  directly  to  the  people  which  is  solely  created  by  them?’

 

                     ‘What  is  Capital  Justice?’

 

I  venture  to  state  the  only  reasonable  approach  to  solve  any  problem  is  first  and  foremost  to  understand  the  problem;  and  to  understand  such  a  problem  we  have  to  stand  under  the  problem   with  perfect  view  and  vision  of  justice  and  without  being  a  traitor  to  our  own  conscience.  So  it  commands  me  to  keep  my  thought  perpetually  in  a  balanced    attitude  without  taking  even  a  least  privilege  neither  towards  capitalism  nor  towards  socialism.  I  believe  myself  I  can  settle  with  this  pre-requisite  condition  before  writing  my  concepts  in  the  interest  of  justice  and  welfare  of  mankind.  And  now  let  me  define  the  idea  of  ‘Capital  Justice and Business Ethic”

 

 “‘The  Constitution  of  Natural  laws’  codifies  the  ‘Economic  Justice’  being  the  basic  structure  of  economic  system  on  which  the  beautiful  elements  of  the  super-structure  of  a  well – ordered  society  are  constructed”

 

Having  the  liberty  of  reason  I  wish  to  state  that  according  to  Economic  Justice of business ethic,  the  capital  of  a  country  is  created  by  the  people  and  for  the  people  and  hence  it  should  be  directly  owned  by  the  people’.  Once  the  capital, which is now  owned  by  a  few  or  by  the  State  or  by  the  both,  comes  under  ‘People’s  Direct  Ownership’,  consequently  each  worker  is  assured  a  direct  share  of  national  stock  of  capital.  It  leads  to  ‘Each  Industry  for  All  and  All  Industries  for  Each’.  This  is  the  crux  of  ‘Economic  Justice’.

 

On  the  direct  ownership  of  capital  by  the  people  in  conformity  with  ‘Economic  Justice’ ,  a  new  economic  system  known  as  ‘DEMOCRISM’  will  emerge  on  the  basis  of  ‘Economic  Democracy’  demolishing  all  the  socio-economic  evils  that  are  futilely  pervading  in  every  economy  due  to  its  faulty  formulation.  For  the  sake  of  simplicity,  I  am  assuming  the  Capitalism  and  Communism  as  First  and  Second  theories  and  introducing   my  ‘Democrism’  as  ‘Third  Theory’  to  differentiate  it  with  present  theories”.   

                    Right  To  Own  One’s  Due  Capital according to Business Ethic:

The  “Declaration  of  Independence”  of  United 
States  of  America  proclaimed  on  4th  July, 1776  states  as  follows:

 

“We  hold  these  truths  to  be  self-evident  that  all  men  are  created  equal,  that  they  are  endowed  by  their  creator  with  certain  unalienable  Rights,  that  among  these  are  Life,  Liberty  and  the  pursuit  of  Happiness”.

 

With all  its  mighty  force  the  ‘Declaration’  emphasizes  that  among  all  human  rights,  one’s  ‘Right  to  Live’  is  supreme,  beyond  the  zenith,  that  cannot  be  forfeited  by  any  one  or  by  any  force  without  the  consent  and  confirmation of  Justice.  In  the  name  of  war  or  in  the  name  of  patriotism  or  in  the  name  of  religion  or  in  the  name  of  law  or  in  the  name  of  caste,  creed  and  conventions  no  one  has  any  divine  or  earthly  authority  to  forfeit  one’s  ‘Right  to  Live’  on  the  earth.  Even  if  a  man  dies  due  to  appalling  poverty  it  implies  that  the  man’s  ‘Right  to  Live’  has  been  forfeited  and  the  whole  society  in  which  he  is  a  member  should  take  collective  responsibility.

In  the  modern  economic  systems  no  one  can  produce  whatever  he  wants  without  the  help  of  others.  On  the  introduction  of  division  of  labor  in  the  factory  system  of  production,  one  can  produce  only  a  particular  part  of  a  commodity  and  he  has  trained  and  educated  only  to  do  the  particular  job.  Under  these   economic  conditions  one’s  ‘Right  to  Live’  exclusively  depends  on  one’s  ‘permanent  job  opportunity’ or  one’s  “Right  to  work”.  In  turn  one’s  job  opportunity  always  remains  as  a  dependent  factor  of  volume  of  capital  or  investment  flow.  If  the  volume  of  capital  becomes  insufficient,  one’s  job  opportunity  will  be  worst  affected  and  consequently  his  ‘Right  to  Live’  will  be  confiscated.  Since  the  supreme  duty  of  every  civilized  society  is  to  provide  ‘Right  to  Live’  to each  and  every  member  of  it  and  moreover  the  ‘Right  to  Live’  is  exclusively  depending  on  the  volume  of  capital,  the  society  should  honestly  and  justifiably  provide  and  allocate  a  due  volume  of  capital  to  uphold  all  its  members  the  unalienable  ‘Right  To  Own  Due  Capital’  as  a  Fundamental  Right  to  ensure  one’s  ‘Right  to Live’.  This  is  basic  concept  of  “Capital  Justice”. (Upholding  equally  ‘people’s  Direct  Ownership  of  Capital’  to  ensure  one’s  ‘Right  to  Live’  with  dignity  and  security  is  the  basis  of  Capital  Justice’)

 

Generally  in  economics  we  classify  the  goods  produced  as  ‘Consumption  goods  and  Capital  goods’  depending  of  their  usage  by  the  final  consumers.  If  the  goods  like  ‘cars’  are  used    for  personal  usage  by  the  consumers  they  car  called  consumption  goods  whereas  if  the  came  cars  are  used  for ‘hiring  purposes,  as  taxis,  to  earn  income  they  are  called  capital  goods.  I  am  not  erroneous  to  say  that  both  the  consumption  and  capital  goods  are  produced  by  the  workers  as  a  whole.  No  one  dare  enough  to  advocate  that  the  consumption  goods  are  produced  by  the  ‘consumer-workers’  and  the  capital  goods  are  produced  by  the  ‘capitalists’  or  by  the  ‘State’,  in  capitalism  and  socialism  respectively.  Both  kind  of  goods  are  produced  by  the  workers  and  only  by  their  workers  according  to  their  ability  as  per  ‘Work  Justice’ (i.e. work  according  to  ability).

 

The  Wage  Justice  declares  ‘Wage  according  to  Work’.  The  work  includes  the  production  of  both  consumption  and  capital  goods  as  a  whole.  But  the  workers  are  not  paid  wages   to  equivalent  value  of   the  volume  of  capital  and  consumption  goods  that  they  produced. Both  the  capitalists  and  communists  pay  wages  to  workers  equivalent  to  the  value  of  consumption  goods  only.  They  have  been  nakedly  exploiting  a  huge  volume  of  workers  wages  in  name  of  profit  by  which  they  purchase  capital  goods  which  are  solely  produced  by  the  workers.  No  one  has  derived  neither  ‘divine  authority’  nor  ‘temporal  authority’  to  forfeit  a  part  of  workers’  wages  in  the name  of  ‘capital’  without  the  ‘General  Will’  of  workers  or  legal  approval  of  working  class.

 

The  capital  not  only  possesses  huge  productive  capacity  to  produce  goods  and  services  but  also  possesses  enormous  ‘economic  power’  like  nuclear  of  an  atom.  With  the  economic  power  both  the  capitalists  and  the  State  can  control  all  the  socio-economic-political  activities  of  the  working  class  and  subjugate  them  as  ‘economic  slaves’  and  always  threaten  their  ‘right  to  live’.

I  find  no  words  to  register  my  mental  agony  that a  great  ‘distributive  injustice’  has  been  enforced  on  working  class  by  negating  distribution   of  capital  against  legal  and  moral  grounds.  This  ‘distributive  injustice’  exhibits  the  inherent  defects  that  have  been  deeply  rooted  in  our  economic  systems.  Invariably  all  the  economic  and  social  thinkers  have  fiercely  demonstrated   such  defects  and  distributive  injustice.  For  instance  John  Maynard   Keynes,  who  is  still  considered  to  be  the  most  intelligent  among  the  economic  thinkers, writes  in  his  revolutionary  book,  “The  General  Theory”  as  follows:

 

 “The  outstanding  faults  of  economic  society  in  which  we  live  are  its  failure  to  provide  for  full  employment  and  its  arbitrary  and  inequitable  distribution   of   wealth  and  income”

 

Keynes  has  established  thought  in  his  words  and  justifiable  views  in  his  vision  that  the  capital  too  should  be  equally  distributed  among  the  people  to  rectify  the  grave  faults  of  our  economic  systems.  I  dare  to  say  if  both  the  consumption  and  capital  goods  are  distributed  among  the  people  in  satisfaction  of  justifiable  views  and  visions  of  Keynes,  it  would  beyond  all  doubts,  lead  the  society  for  the  establishment  of  ‘Democratic  Economy’  or  ‘DEMOCRISM’,  a  new  economic  system  which  I  advocate  for  the  establishment  of  an  ‘Ideal  Society’.

 

It  will  be  the  ultimate  fact  that  when  the  capital  is  distributed  among  the  people  in  coordination  with  ‘Distributive  Justice’  “All  Industries  will  be  owned  by  Each  Worker  and  Each  Industry  will  be  owned?
? by All  Workers”.  In  the  establishment  of  such  industries  neither  the  capitalists  nor  the  state  would  be  allowed  to  claim  any  capital  ownership.  The  creation  of  all  the  industries  would  be   “by  the  people,  for  the  people  and  of  the  people”  This  would  be  called  as  ‘Democratic  Economy’  or  “DEMOCRISM”  –  The  Third  Theory –  assuming  Capitalism  and  communism  are  first  and  second  theories.                                                                

 Understanding  of  Capital  Justice  or  Democrism i.e Business Ethic:                 

The  crux  of  the  problem  of  understanding  “DEMOCRISM” i.e business ethic, rests  on  the  two  theoretical  pillars :   Firstly  the  process  of  distribution  of  national  Capital  (i.e. Capital  Stock  of  a  nation)  to  the  people  and  secondly  the  creation  of  ‘new  investment’  of  the  people,  by  the  people  and  for  the  people. 

 

The  distribution  of  national  capital  will  ensure  the  people  the  ‘Economic  Justice’  of  ‘Each  industry  for  all  and  all  industries  for  each’  and  the  ‘creation  of  new  industry’  will  enable  the  working  class  to  contribute  a  share  of  their  wage  in  the  form  of  ‘share’  for the  establishment  of  new  industries  in  which  a  worker  will  have  a  share  in  all  industries  and  all  the  workers  will  have  a  share  in  every  industry  to  uphold  ‘Investment  Justice’.  I  will  explain  the  ‘Investment  Justice’  in  forth  coming  chapters.

 

First  let  me  explain  the  distribution  of  national  capital  to  the  people  for  the  establishment  of  “Democracy  in  Economy”  i.e.  the  “Economic  System  of  Democrism” (The  Third  Theory)  with  an  hypothetical  example.

Capital – Output  Ratio:  Suppose  the  national  capital  of  country  amounts  to  $ 3,000  billion  with  the  help  of  this  capital  stock  the  country  produces  $ 1,000  billion  worth  goods  and  services.  It  indicates  the  Capital : Output Ratio  of  the  country  is  3 : 1. In  other  words  in  order  to  produce  $ 1 dollar  of  goods  the  country  requires  $ 3  dollar  worth  of  capital.                                         

Again  let  me  assume  the  annual  income  of  a  ‘hypothetical  worker’  is  $100,000  and  he  spends  all  his  income  for  the  purchase  of  consumption  goods.  Since  the  capital : output  ratio  is    3 : 1   for  the  production  of  $ 100,000  worth  of  consumption  goods,  $ 300,000  worth  of  capital  goods  would  have  been  used.  Similarly  according  to  the   total  income  of  all  the  workers  a  capital  stock    should  have  been  used  three  time  of  income.  Generally  speaking  for  the  production  of  a  particular  amount  National  Income,  a  particular  volume  of  Capital  stock  would  have  been  used  and  it  determines  Capital  :  Output  Ratio.  This  Capital  Stock  is  legally  entitled  to  the  workers  only  but  it  has  been  fallaciously  handed  over  to  a  few  capitalists  or  the  State.  This  is  fallible  of  infallible  justice.  In  order  to  uphold  ‘Economic  Justice’  the  capital  stock  also  should  be  distributed  to  all  the  workers  according  to  capital  :  output  ratio.  This  mode  of  proportional  distribution  of  national  capital  to  all  the  workers  will  guarantee  and  ensure  an  active  powerful   ‘Economic  Democracy’  among  the  people  than  the  passive  and  week  ‘political  democracy’  to  protect  one’s  liberty. 

 

In  the  modern  production  system  since   ‘the  capital’  has  occupied  the   position  of  hub  in  the  production  process  of  consumption  goods  and  services  and  moreover  it  determines  one’s  ‘right  to  work’  and  ‘right  to  live’  no  worker  is  entitled  to  merchandise  his   capital  to  other  workers.  No  worker  is  permitted  to  hold  a  share  of  capital  more  than  his  country’s  ‘capital : output  ratio’.  Marketing  of  capital  share  in  democratic  economy  is  forfeited  because  of  the  fact  it  will  lead  to  sell  one’s  ‘right  to  live’  ‘right  to  work’   ‘economic  security’  and  ‘economic  equality’.  Justice  warns  man  not  to  sell  economic  liberty  even  if  he  sells  political  liberty.

 

Distribution  of  Capital and Business Ethic:  Capital  is  inseparable  block.  It  cannot  be  divided  into  convenient  parts  to  distribute  to  the  workers  according  to  their  wage-income.  It  forms  huge  industries.  The  workers  can  only  claim  a  ‘capital  right’  in  the  national  capital   stock  and   a   ‘dividend-income’  according  to  their  share  of  capital.  The  capital  goods  cannot  be  distributed  to  the  workers  as  consumption  goods.  But  every  worker  can  claim  a  certain  value  in  the  national  capital  to  ensure  their  capital  right.  The  value  of  capital  would  be  distributed  to  the  workers  equally  or  according  to  their  income.  The  distribution  of  capital  is  just  a  ‘book-keeping  entry’  to  assure  every  worker  that  they  have  a  capital  right  in  the  national  capital.

 

Every  worker  will  have  a  ‘Capital  Account’  in  his  bank  and  a  ‘capital – share-value’  according  to  his  annual  income  will  be  credited.  The  workers  will  be  strictly  restricted   to  bargain  his  ‘share  of  capital’  to  other  workers  as  it  is  now  practiced  in  the  ‘share-market’. The  ‘share-gambling’  involved  in  the  share  market  would  be  completely  abolished.  On  the  other  hand  there  will  be  only  ‘commodity  market’.  Since  one’s  share  of  capital  represents  one’s  ‘right  to  live’, ‘right  to  work’  and  economic  liberty  and  security  the  sale  of  capital  will  not  be  permitted  at  any  cost  in  the  ‘People’s  Direct  Ownership  of  Capital’  i.e. ‘Economic  Democracy’.            

In  the  distribution  of  national  capital  to  the  people  the  ‘capital : output  ratio’  would  be  taken  as  guideline  to  ensure  ‘capital  to  each  worker  according   to  his  wage’.  Right  from  ordinary  village  workers  to  the  top-most  managing  director  of  a  huge  company  the  ratio  would   be  strictly  followed  in  the  capital  distribution  as  it  preserves  ‘distributive  justice’.  No  one  would  be  afford  undue  advantage  to  claim  more  capital – share  than  the  one’s  income  ratio.  The  aggregate  national  capital  would  be  distributed  to  all  the  people  without  any  d
iscrimination  of  one’s  labor.  This  is  the  idea  of  ‘Democrism’  i.e.  ‘Economic  Democracy’.  I  wish  to  take  liberty  to  express  such  kind  of  distribution  would  uphold  the  noble  concept  of  ‘Capital  Justice’.

 

Mahatma  Gandhi  emphasizes  this  capital  justice  in  his  own  fashion  of  spiritual  style  as  follows:

 

“We  should  aim  at  getting  only  what  the  rest  of  the  world  gets.  Thus,  if  the  whole  world  gets  milk,  we  may  also  have  it.  We  may  pray  to  God  and  say : “O  God, if  you wish  me  to  have  milk, give  it  first  to  the  rest of  the world”*

-*Gandhi. M _ “Speeches  and  Writings  of  M. Gandhi” (p:384)

 

If  any  one  wishes  to  portray  his  argument  that  the  above  example  presented  by  Gandhiji  in  the  distribution  of  milk  can  only  be  coordinated  to  the  ‘distribution  of  income’  but  not  the  ‘distribution  of  capital – wealth’,  Gandhiji   replies  them  as  follows:

 

“Earn  your  crores  by  all  means.  But  understand  that  your  wealth  is  not  yours;  it  belongs  to  the  poor.  Take  what  you  require  for  your  legitimate  needs,  and  use  the  remainder  for  society ……But  I  have  visions  that  the  end  of  this  war  will  mean  also  the  end  of  the  rule  of  capital.  I  see  coming  the  day  of  the  rule  of  the  poor,  whether  that  the  rule  be  through  force  of  arms  or  of  non-violence”. **

         **- Gandhi. M : “Harijan”, Feb. 1, 1942

 

The  views  and  visions  of  Gandhiji  are  placidly  warning  the  capitalistic  society  that  the  capital – wealth  should  be  honestly  handed  over  to  the  people  within  the  frame  of  supreme  justice;  otherwise,  he  cautions,  that  the  poor  would  take  even  the  deadly  arms  to  uphold  their  legitimate  right  to  own  their  capital  through  non-violence  as  the  ‘rule  of  poor  through  bullet’  instead  of  ‘rule  of  poor  through  ballot’  that  could  be  the  only  solution  for  all  evils  suppressing  the  poor.

 

Now  I  explain  the  basic  concept  of  Democrism  in  ordinary  terms.  In  Democrism  In  Democrism  in  order  to  ensure  a  sense  of  security  regarding  the  ‘capital  ownership’  in  the  minds  of  every  worker,  ‘a  capital  account’  would  be  opened  in  his  name  and  his  legitimate  due  capital  would  be  credited  in  his  capital  account. 

 

The  capital  in  the  view  of  a  common  man  may  look  like  a  commodity  as  machines  and  factory  buildings.  But  it  is  not  so  in  real  sense.  The  capital  contains  in  its  core  an  enormous  ‘Economic  Power’  only  by  which  one  can  save  and  ensure  one’s  ‘right  to  live’  in  the  world,  which  is  valued  as  supreme  right  of  all  the  socio-economic-political  rights.  No  worker,  therefore,  would  be  permitted  to  sell  or  buy  one’s  share  of  due  capital.  Capital  is  not  a  marketable  commodity  because  if  the  sale  of  capital  ‘in  the  form  of  share’  is  allowed  among  the  workers,  it  is  nothing  but  allowing  the  workers  to  sell  their  ‘right  to  live’,  ‘economic  liberty’,   ‘economic  equality’,  ‘economic  security’  and  so  on.  The  sale  of  capital  would  lead  the  workers  towards  their  economic  slavery;  no  political  revolution  can  uplift  them.  That  is  why  Rousseau  says  in  his  Social  Contract ;  “Man  is  born  free  and  everywhere  he  is  in  chains”

 

It  is  Universal  law  that  the  natural  force  of  all  evolutions  is  to  lead  all  imperfect  systems  towards  their  perfection  overcoming  one  hindrance  after  another  hindrance  in  its  process.  If  the  hindrances  are  many  and  powerful  the  natural  force  of  evolution  will  consume  more  span  of  time  to  overcome  them.  “Perfection”  is  the  law  of  nature;  and  “Evolution”  is  its  mechanism.  As  per  the  ‘natural  force  of  evolution,  the  capital  should  be  owned  by  all  the  workers  to  attain  its  perfection  and  to  uphold  capital  justice.  In  this  context  we  know  that  our  economic  systems  are  crippled  with  imperfection  and  struggle  hard  to  move  towards  perfection  and  therefore  we  have  no  other  alternative  except  to  wipe  them  out  not  to  plunge  the  world  into  destruction.

As  a  matter  of  fact  if  both  the  imperfect  capitalism  and  socialism  want  to  move  towards  their  ‘perfection’  as  a  rule  of  nature  they  have  to  restore  the  ‘capital’  to  people  and  to  ensure  ‘People’s  Direct  Ownership  of  Capital’  the  ultimate  end  product  of  perfection  in  the  formation  of  economic  systems.  The  People’s  Direct  Ownership  of  Capital  would  be  out  of  all  theoretical  and  moral  contradictions  and  constitute  a  perfect  economic  system  known  as  ‘DEMOCRISM’.  On  the  establishment  of  Democrism  the  capital  will  be  owned  neither  by  a  few  capitalists  as  in  Capitalism  nor  by  the  State  as  in  Socialism  but  the  people  of  all  the  countries.  This  “People’s  Ownership  of  Capital”  will  be  the  rule  of  the  nature  and  the  natural  force  of  evolution  of any economic  system. Nobody  or  no  power  in  the  world will  oppose  it.                                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                       

                        

Ethical Money Makes The World Go Round

Indiann Davinos asked:

Whatever your resources, socially responsible investment (SRI) can help you fulfil your dreams, and make the world a better place. SRI means you can channel your money away from industries that contribute to the destruction of the environment, companies employing sweatshop and child labour, business involved in animal experimentation and corporation that support repressive and brutal regimes

Like any investor a socially responsible one wants to see a sound return on their investment but they also want to invest in companies that demonstrate social and environmental principles. Even though SRI means limiting choice in types of investment it has not led to any systematic under performance in stocks, in fact it have done as well as or better than others on the market.

SRI developed in the USA as a response by concerned Quakers and other people disgusted that their investments were supporting the arms trade and the Vietnam war. Since then SRI has become a growing market within the UK, and is increasing at about 34% per year Socially responsible investors include institutions such as non profit organisations, Churches, trade unions, universities and individuals from all walks of life. What they have in common is a commitment to channelling their money towards investment that reflects their personal ethics and values. You don’t have to have lots of money to be a socially responsible investor although a minimum commitment is like with most funds about 50 pounds a month.

There are two main strategies to SRI: Avoidance Screening – choosing not to invest in industries for example, those with discriminatory employment practices, business activities with repressive governments, poor environmental records, animal testing, weapons contractors and the tobacco industry.Affirmative Screening – Actively seeking out investments in activities to support such as alternative energy and natural foods, companies that show commitment to their workers, communities and the environment.

Ethics or Bust.

Michael Mifsud asked:

ETHICS OR BUST

How can one forget the business of those scruples and the perplexed looks in peoples faces when asked as to what they had done with them. The same goes with ethics except that it does not sound as close to other hidden possibilities as the other word does. The effect is not the same. We talk about an unscrupulous person but not about an unethical one merely subscribing this to activities. Perhaps that is why it is rendered something that is not worth pursuing with respect as to what it has to teach us.

The political speaker, a disillusioned dissident, in one of the Latin European countries, spoke very freely about the need to introduce ethics into daily lives, much to the santimonious satisfaction of nodding heads in this Jesuit organised public debate.

“It is easy to be a Christian with a fat balance in the bank behind you”, said one alarmingly.” “A choice between ehics and feeding your ailing child..”said another with equally disapproving gestures.

In fact it renders the whole thing a little beyond social capability as ambition instinctively overrides ethics and the bulk of the much abused public expects it, fully intending to do the same if ever capable of getting to those corridors of  lucrative licence.

But is it a dead issue even in the modern European Countries – a chimera where much is swept underneath the carpet and higher levels of emerging power create added personal survival interests ? Apparently not, according to the Jesuit University in the United Sates dedicated to the propagation of Bioethical studies.

Yet again, can it be taken seriously when both politicians and religious leaders sepak bluntly in favour of issues and behaviour that decry the very existance of something as ephemeral as ethics.  In fact lamentably, even in strongly puritanical countries of the higher echelons of the European family, the doubt begins to emerge as to whether ethical values have not only disappeared but have been superseded by a new type of quantum politics and social behaviour now geared to basic survival with or without the electric toothbrush and the bijou residence.

The obvious paradox emerges when it becomes clear that ethical values and conduct have been and are necessary for a modern democracy to function. Also, for extended family reasons where freedom from aggression and clear sense of direction are taken for granted. But is this understood by the politicians and the tired looking religious figures who appear to have lost their definition of sin ?  The public may ride rough shod over ethical standards but it very much expects other not to, which like many other things in modern life, seems to be a one way thoroughfare.

The British Queen made a curious plea in her recent Christmas talk to the vast Nations she represents. It included a philosophical touch to the nature of service to others rather than taking from, acknowledging the former to be a mayor source of happiness. This criteria although once again difficult to absorb by those unacceptably high,  underprivileged members of modern developed societies who have been marginalised by successive insensitive governments, should be,  indisputably, the very base of all monetary and social systems. It is difficult to imagine how that piece of  bake could emerge edibly from that oven, otherwise.

Why this is so is not too difficult to understand even at its most primitive level. In its absence, delinquency could become as it does in some countries, a matter of personal choice, by the public or its leaders. If  smah and grab appears to work for those without the means or without belief in the ones who rule their collective destiny, then the choice is made early in the game.  Public example is therefore, like that demanded of credible Justice, to be seen in its ethical context and all behaviour free of doubt or hidden motivation. For the average and sensible member of the public a correct choice of direction follows, even if only to appear correct, and always if the message from above  is very loud and clear.  It is lamentably increasingly difficult to detect the clarity of the image  through the paper barricades and empty signals of those who should constantly set obvious examples.  And even more so, when the world appears to be falling apart in every direction and self mutilated giants like the financial institutions, like spoilt children,  make demands on all but themselves.

Ethical values precede democratic demands and one cannot essentially, however closely examined, do without the other.  Those who assume otherwise appear to be fated to get what they deserve – receding freedoms and eventual slavery.  Totalitarian government in pursuit of its own highly sectarian survival,  once consolidated, can impose political or religious shackles that could take much bloodshed and often centuries to shake off. Standing in defence of ethical standards would have been a better way of avoiding it.

Ethical values appeal to those with noble sentiment and whose consideratons within business transactions include principles like fair play and the aim to establish goodwill on both sides of the contracting fence. In business, leaving margins for both to play with and benefit from, is a sure formula for repeat sessions during the course of time.  Bad, opportunistic and imbalanced contracts serving the interests of one crafty side,  often provide the basis for a great deal of future aggression and bitterness which add venom and insecurity to the ripples of perceptive awareness which flow across all societies.

The creation of the yuppie, whilst stimulating personal,  positive advancement, literally unleashed an attitude based on false principles which served a very limited purpose. A purpose which victims of the exaggerations and inaccuracies of the selling jargon, if  not for those who perpertrated the abuse, would  forge the shortcomings of future decades to come. The pressure tactics,devoid of all ethics, in the main, fed people into economic bottlenecks, like property bubbles or accumulation of useless products. Those who applied it, would have not survived within markets requiring an ethicial approach to the establishment of the buyers needs. Unfortunately,truth at the bottom line depends on whether the buyer necessarily wants to hear it. If so, could one equate an ethical society with a firm inherited base, or one with a tactical defensive training based on do’s and don’ts. To eat or be eaten as some would say, but can values be taught and applied in this cut and thrust melee ?

Ethical standards some, would say, depends on upbringing which is not essentially the case as modern governments often sacrifice genuine interest for its governed in pursuit of narrow, party politically inspired benefits.  Finding ways and means of extracting the ultimate essence in unwilling contribution from the electorate, appears to feed most of the motivation. Additionally, it often bends the truth short of 360 degrees to ferment non existing needs or establish a nebulous base for a line to follow.  Public consciousness is often late in reacting to such pressures but curiously it misses little and gladly,  albeit rather tardily,  often reacts with apprehensive reponse, for a change. The sorry side, is that it nearly always has much to do with the pocket rather than the heart and often things and values have changed for better or for worse.

Legislation however clumsy,  in its pursuit of the protection that would otherwise be served by general public standards, is often a blunt instrument that perverse elements often find the loopholes to outwit, depending mainly in the already questionable legal profession,  to do its dirty work. Again, it takes li
ttle study to see that abuse of public confidence by national monopolies too politically related, has increased alarmingly.  So much so, that even basic need industries like energy and water suppliers  the profit balance precludes any and every attempt to obtain market applaud – often at the expense of the shareholder – always to the benefit of a few at the top of the fence. Any peripheral study of the market games of this sector would find one glaring omission – one that provokes a public sense of outrage if not helplessness – social concern. In other words, low ethical standards.

Ethics therefore one would assume should belong to the category of those utopian nostalgic sentiments bred out, by realistic hardline practice, but the sorry state of the institutions and economic hardware which should therefore still stay in place, urgently says otherwise. How to bring it back into line is something that deserves not only the close evaluation of those intending to restore the so called balance but the urgent reappearance on the political and religious field of those with values that speak of courage and determination.  Values that speak of eyes and not of lips.

Business Ethics: Three Tips to Stay in Integrity with Yourself

Sally Rhys asked:

Wow — every day seems to bring us a new story about business ethics wrongdoing! Is America headed to hell in a hand basket because of a serious lack of ethics at the highest level in American business? Or, it is just that ethical transgressions are more visible now? Or is it that the media reports more? Whichever it is, I urge you to be concerned about business ethics, even if simply for yourself.

A few facts will raise your awareness about the current state of ethics in American business. The Ethics Resource Center notes that the number of ethics programs is on the rise in corporate America. Unfortunately, the center also notes that ethical misconduct is high. (Google “The National Business Ethics Survey” for more details.) Other research shows that a majority of people in America have quit a job due to an ethical concern at sometime in their lives. (Google “lrn” for more details.)

You may believe there isn’t much you can do about ethics in American business. But, you can choose to follow a high standard of ethics for yourself.

Here are three simple tips to stay in Integrity with Yourself:

1. Listen to your gut. If it doesn’t smell right, it probably isn’t. Don’t risk your reputation by going along with something that is fishy. Sometimes in the work place, what the policy says to do and what people are doing are two different things.

For instance, if you go to lunch with a co-worker to discuss business and you each spend $11.95, which is all you can claim on your business expense forms. But, your coworker may encourage you to submit a claim for $23.95 (since the policy says you don’t have to submit a receipt until the amount is over $25.00, per IRS rules.) Your coworker may even say everyone pads their expense report. This action would be a quick way to double your cash back, but you know it isn’t right. Don’t cave-in to the peer pressure or temptation. Just don’t do it!

2. Ask questions. Sometimes what you know is not the whole story. Ask questions to fill in the gap. Don’t assume. Something you don’t know may make what looks wrong actually be a good thing. As the former Director, Ethics and Compliance for a $1.5B company, I learned to ask questions before forming a judgment.

For instance, I know of a case where a manager became aware that his employee had lied about his whereabouts during the work day. One appropriate action would have been to discipline the employee or maybe even fire him. Another appropriate action would have been to extend a little compassion for the employee, who was under some external stresses, and work more closely with the employee to help him manage his time better. Asking a few simple questions revealed the external stresses, which opened doors to alternative resolution of the problem.

3. Keep an open mind. There is rarely an unequivocal right or wrong answer in any ethical issue.

For instance, an employee reported to me that he believed a co-worker was falsely claiming an important professional certification. I asked him why he thought that, and he said that the person didn’t seem to demonstrate the knowledge base required for certification. He also said he had checked the certifying agency’s website to find the co-workers name without success. Since falsification of job qualifications is a serious offense, I went to the website to check for the name too, and asked an internal recruiter to verbally check with the certifying agency.

As it turned out, the person under suspicion had registered at the website with his formal name, not the nickname he used at work; as a result his name wasn’t recognizable at the website. Only by triple checking the website and making a phone call to the certifying agency were we able to get the whole story.

Stay in integrity — do what YOU think is right and stay in good conscience.

Business Ethics and Unethical Practices

Verena Veneeva asked:

The study of business ethics and its implications for different stakeholders have seen tremendous growth in the past few decades. There has also been a rise in the use and development of codes of ethics and announcements for ethical practices by many firms; however companies are still criticized for their unethical practices at different levels (Papers4you.com, 2006). Business ethics, according to the literature has been entrenched with the philosophical details of Ethics (Trevino & Nelson, 1999). Ethics has been defined as ‘the activity of examining the moral standards of a society, and asking how these standards apply to ones life and whether these standards are reasonable’ (Velasquez, 1998; p. 11).

The literature on business ethics is divided on its views about the motivation and reason for businesses to have an ethical dimension. Drawing upon Harrison (2001), there are two major schools of thoughts, firstly those who suggest that firms are profit generating institutions and therefore business ethics is yet another way to attract customers, secondly those who support corporate conscience and intrinsic motivation for the adoption of business ethics.

Business ethics has been considered very subjective in nature and according to Paul (2001) is considered a function of time and culture. It has been established that with the passage of time business ethics have evolved and also that the cultural values and norms drive business ethics within national and regional boundaries. One of the major studies regarding the national values has been conducted by Hofstede (1983). According to this research, which was only based on four indicators i.e. individualism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance and masculinity, there is a great deal of differences among values across different nations and consequently the business ethics. Globalization combined with standardization has made businesses financially efficient but at the same time poses questions regarding the standardized codes of business ethics across national boundaries.

Vinten (1991) has divided the business ethical issues at different levels i.e. international business, domestic business and professional ethics. At the international level ethical issues include free-masonry and socialism versus capitalism; at domestic level these include religious dimensions, social marketing and ethical education; and lastly at the individual level these include bribery, corruption and data protection (Papers4you.com, 2006).

There are many reasons and criticisms for the failure of adoption of ethics in the business world. Firstly, the concept is considered to be overly theoretical and it also negates the basic purpose of any business i.e. to create shareholder’s wealth. Secondly, it has lack of direction and unanimity across different cultures and academic groups. Lastly, it has many inherent unresolved dichotomies that according to Sternberg (1994) make it a case of rejected relativism.

References:

Harrison, J. (2001), Ethics for Australian Business, Prentice-Hall, French’s Forest

Hofstede, G. (1983), The Cultural Relativity of Organizational Practices and Theories, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp.75-89

Papers For You (2006) “S/B/92. What distinguishes ethical from unethical business activity and how significant are the principles of business ethics in modern business?”, Available from http://www.coursework4you.co.uk/sprtbus21.htm [17/06/2006]

Papers For You (2006) “S/B/49. ‘Should businesses strive to be ethical?’ Critically Discuss”, Available from Papers4you.com [18/06/2006]

Paul, S. (2001), Cultural and Business Ethics, Cross Cultural Management: An international Journal, Volume 8 No. 1, pp 22-35

Sternberg, E. (1994), Relativism rejected: the possibility of transnational business ethics, in Hoffman, W.M., Kamm, J.B., Frederick, R.E., Petry, E.S. Jr (Eds), National Conference on Business Ethics. Proceedings from the 9th Conference on Business Ethics Sponsored by the Centre for Business Ethics at Bentley College, Quorum Books, New York, NY, pp.143-50

Trevino, L.K., Nelson, K.A. (1999), Managing Business Ethics: Straight Talk about How to Do It Right, 2nd ed., J. Wiley & Sons, New York, NY

Velasquez, M.G. (1998), Business Ethics: Concepts and Cases, 4th ed., Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ

Vinten, G. (1991), Business Ethics: Busybody or Corporate Conscience?, Managerial Auditing Journal, Volume 5, Number 2, pp. 123-144

Moral Law, Justice, and Evolution

Jerry Richard Boone asked:

We already mentioned intelligence. Remember in the article: How Do We Account for Instinct? we divided it up into two broad categories, one of which we call instinct and the other a type of decision-making ability? We grouped the lower forms of animals into the first category and humans into the second. Other creatures, we allowed, appear to operate using a combination of instinct and “thinking.”

But, of course, it is really more complicated than that. People have instincts too. The sexual drive, a mother’s love for her offspring, and a basic desire to survive are undeniable human instincts. Each of these traits are shared to one degree or another with animals. However, we seem to have something more than mere instinct.

Somehow or another we find ourselves with a moral sense of right and wrong. We feel as though we know somethings are right and others are wrong. But then again, is what we consider right and wrong merely a subjective whim? Or is it possible that there might be a real, honest-to-goodness, objective standard for good behavior?

Some people claim there’s no fixed standard for decent behavior. It varies over time and from one culture to another. Different civilizations and different ages have had very different ideas on morality, they say. And they seem to have a point.

Manners and Styles

Certainly manners, styles, and dress codes change over time. The past half century has seen considerable change in the United States. In 1960, most women worked in their homes raising children. They usually wore dresses, and those dresses were of a certain conventional length.

Men were expected to be the breadwinners. They wore their hair short and rarely had facial hair. Children addressed grownups as “Sir” or Ma’am” and in general were taught to be deferential to adults. Unless you were well acquainted, it was Mr., Mrs, or Miss whatever their last-name-was. Times have changed!

Much of what passes as normal behavior nowadays would have been socially unacceptable just thirty years ago. And it works both ways. Many of the things our ancestors did in the past would not be tolerated today. A few hundred years ago, capital punishment was the approved punishment for crimes ranging from petty theft to treason. Witches were hung or burned. And slavery was by and large considered an acceptable practice.

Moral Principles

Obviously some of the things our forefathers believed are social taboos today and vice versa. However, that’s not the whole story. While some values can and do vary, others evidently do not. In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis points out that if you take the trouble to compare the moral teachings of ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans, you will be struck with how much they have in common with each other and with us today.

Fair play, unselfishness, courage, faithfulness, honesty, and truthfulness have always been admired, whereas treachery, murder, robbery, theft, and rape have always been condemned. Men have disagreed over whom you should be unselfish to – just your family, your country, or to everyone.

But none have advocated putting yourself first. Some cultures have allowed more than one wife, but none allow you to have just any woman you want.

Golden Rule

The most universal concept of all is also the most basic. We call it the Golden Rule. Most moral teachings state it in a negative form such as “Never do to others what you would not have them do to you.” This fundamental rule of conduct turns up in rabbinical Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.

We also see it in Greek and Roman ethical teachings and even in Old Norse proverbs. Jesus Christ turned it around and put it in its positive form two thousand years ago. “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”

Is any other type of morality possible? Lewis challenges us, “. . . think what a totally different morality would mean. Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battles, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might as well try to imagine a country where two and two make five.”

The Moral Law

It sounds like the rule of right and wrong, the moral law, or whatever you want to call it, exists on two separate levels. One is arbitrary. Fashion, convention, or taste sets the tone for acceptable behavior on this level.

Then we see another moral level beyond the trends of society. Here we find a permanent core of values. These fundamental guides for human behavior seem to be deeply ingrained in mankind and are not swayed by time and place circumstances.

Everyday conversation suggests that most of us at heart believe in a real right and wrong. Take arguments for example. People young and old, educated and uneducated, often say such things as: “Come on, you promised.” “Hey, you broke in line ahead of us. That’s not fair.” “Why don’t you help me? I helped you when you needed it.”

C.S. Lewis tells us that remarks of that sort don’t just mean that the other fellow’s attitude doesn’t happen to please the speaker. There is something else involved. The one who makes the complaint is appealing to a certain standard of behavior which he expects the other person to know about.

And usually he is right. The other man rarely replies, “I don’t give a hoot about fairness.” No. He makes out that what he’s doing isn’t really unfair after all. He claims to have some special excuse which lets him off the hook for not living up to his promise this time, or for breaking in line, or for not helping you on this occasion.

It looks as though both sides really agree there is a law or rule of fair play. Quarreling means trying to show the other person is wrong. What’s the sense in trying to do that unless both sides agree as to what is right and wrong. Just as in basketball, to paraphrase Lewis’ example, there’s no sense in saying a player committed a foul unless there is an agreement on the rules of basketball.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Thieves cannot excuse themselves saying they didn’t know stealing was a crime. Murderers can’t get away with murder, claiming they didn’t know murder was wrong. The underlying idea is that all citizens are expected to understand that stealing and murder are wrong.

Can you imagine an attorney in a request that the case be dismissed against his client, saying, “No judge, I don’t think my client should be held responsible for murdering his wife and six children. After all, the defendant doesn’t have a law degree. Why should we expect him to know all the finer points of the law?”

On the other hand, lawyers do try to excuse their clients by pleading “temporary insanity.” Doesn’t that let the cat out of the bag? What they are saying is that for one reason or another, the accused was momentarily mentally unbalanced and didn’t understand he was committing an act which all of us know to be wrong. Had the defendant been sane at the moment, he would have recognized and upheld the same Rules for Right Conduct that all the rest of us sane people do.

They seem to be affirming that criminal codes are based on certain moral truths. In fact, federal and state criminal laws wouldn’t make sense unless there were a real standard of decent behavior which the “sane” criminal knows as well as we do and ought to have practiced.

Sometimes right and wrong are so obvious, no one seriously questions it. After World War II, Germany was widely denounced for their war crimes. But as Lewis observes: “What was the sense in saying the enemy were in the wrong unless Right is a real thing which the Nazis at bottom knew as well as we di
d and ought to have practiced?”

Earlier we asked, is our idea of right and wrong a subjective whim or a real objective standard for good behavior. Evidently it is both. Manners, styles, clothing, and opinions on any number of subjects vary over time and location.

Then again virtues such as courage, faithfulness, and honesty have always been praised. Likewise, vices such as treachery, murder, and theft have been universally condemned.

Civilizations throughout history have reflected these eternal values. And they are still with us today. Much of what we think, much of what we say, and much of what we do would be utter nonsense if there were not a true moral standard of right and wrong.

Now if we can agree that there really is an objective standard of right and wrong, we can go on to our next question. Namely where does this standard come from? Some say mankind invented the moral code because civilization couldn’t function without basic rules for getting along. Through education, they passed these rules for right living on down from one generation to the next.

Others say the same Outside Source which designed the human body also produced the moral code as a guide for our behavior. The moral law was imprinted in humans much the same as instinct. Who’s right?

Before we take up that question, let’s first consider an entirely different subject – mathematics. Math, as we know, is based upon certain objective truths. Algebra, calculus, and trigonometry are all derived from solid mathematical principles which have been around long before mankind discovered them.

And if we somehow lose knowledge of them again, those principles would still be there awaiting future generations to rediscover them. Therefore, we can say that mathematical truths exist separate from any human knowledge of them.

Notice we say such things as: Pythagoras discovered the principles governing the right-angled triangle. Or Descartes discovered the principles behind analytical geometry. We don’t say they “invented” the principles. They were already there. In the same way we speak of people discovering other scientific facts.

In 1781, William Hershel discovered the planet Uranus, and in 1930. C. Tombaugh discovered Pluto. Uranus and Pluto have probably been around as long as our own planet. They would still be there even if we had never learned of their existence.

Bearing that in mind, let’s return to the moral law. The most reasonable assumption is that individuals down through the centuries discovered and rediscovered certain fundamental truths of right and wrong. They didn’t invent them any more than Pythagoras invented the principles governing the right-angled triangle or William Hershel invented Uranus.

The moral law for decent behavior was already there. Men and women merely looked into their own hearts, their own conscience, and there they found a bundle of “oughts.” “Oughts” such as: I ought to keep my promises, even if I would rather not. I ought to tell the truth, even if it makes me look like a fool. I ought to finish my assigned duty, even though I would rather do something else. I ought to remain true to my spouse, even if I am attracted to another. I ought to be honest, even if it would be easy to cheat. I ought to treat the other fellow the same way I would like to be treated, even if I think he is a jerk.

Apparently, none of us made up this moral code of “oughts.” Sometimes it would be rather convenient if they would just go away. But they don’t. They continue to press in on us whether we like it or not.

One thing more, if man created the moral law himself, we would expect to find each society and each civilization developing their own set of basic principles. Our clue is that they did not. While they came up with widely different customs, conventions, and manners, every civilization, past and present, discovered the same bundle of inconvenient “oughts” to direct their lives. Isn’t that curious?

It looks very much like the Outside Source is behind all of it. What does the moral law tell us about this Outsider? Obviously, he’s not a create-’em-and-let-’em-run-amuck sort of being. He’s not a neutral, hands off, passive creator. Instead we find a Moral Agent who has loaded the dice trying to influence our thinking.

Freedom of Choice

He implanted basic instincts in us much as he did the animals. But he gave us something other creatures apparently didn’t receive. This Moral Agent programmed a series of “oughts’ into us to guide our behavior. Clearly, he wants us to keep our promises, tell the truth, do our duty, remain faithful, be honest, and to do to others the same way we would have them do to us.

Notice though, however much the Moral Agent wants us to act in a certain way, he does not force us. He allows us free choice. We can chose to obey the moral law, or we can reject it.

Justice

Before we leave the moral law, I would like to draw your attention to an enigma. Our natural desires in life seem to be satisfied by one means or another. We thirst; water quenches our thirst. We hunger; food quenches our hunger. We want sex; our mate quenches our desire. Our human nature appears to be in close harmony with what life has to offer; so much so, it looks like someone planned it that way.

Give them a desire, then give them a way to satisfy it, seems to be the idea. It keeps us busy doing the things that Whoever-made-us wants us to do. And it all works well, up to a point. Then we run into something that doesn’t quite pan out.

Deeply embedded in our conscience we find a penchant for justice or fair play. We are not neutral observers; we are moral creatures. We want the good guys to win. We like happy endings. And we cheer when good triumphs over evil.

About the only place that happens, however, is at the movies, old movies at that. Real life isn’t nearly as accommodating. In fact, life often seems inherently unfair.

Consider the following: One baby is born to wealth, another to poverty. One is born to a family that loves him, another to a family that abuses him. One is aborted, the other is not. I don’t need to tell you, there is nothing fair about any of that.

Fortune seems to smile on some and frown on others. We see geniuses, and we see idiots; women with great beauty, and women who are downright ugly; people with many talents, and people with no talents at all; and those who are healthy, and those who are sickly or physically deformed. What’s fair about that?

Let’s take it a step further. Some people are endowed with good looks, sound nerves, wit, charm, and a pleasing personality. Popularity and admiration come fairly easy for them. They fit in naturally wherever they go. They don’t need to work at it. It’s a gift. They are the blessed. They are life’s winners.

At the other end of the totem pole, it’s an entirely different story. There we find the homely, dull, slow-witted, timid, warped, lonely people or the passionate, sensual, unbalanced people. By no choice of their own, many are born into homes filled with hatred, petty jealousies, and constant bickering. Others are tormented by sexual perversions or nagged by an inferiority complex. No matter how hard they try, they don’t fit in anywhere. They are life’s losers – unappealing, unloved, and often the object of ridicule and jokes. These folks will be quick to tell you, “life is unfair.” And they are right.

Notice, what we have mentioned so far are traits and circumstances over which we have little or no control. What about those things over with we do have control? Do we find fairness there?

Some people work long and hard, day in and day out, sunup to sundown. Others do nothing they are not forced to do. Both live out their seventy or so years and die. Memory of both soon fades away. All they had, whether plenty or little, is left to someone who did not work for it. Somehow that doesn’t strike us as fair either.

And what of the honest, the faithful, the kind
, and the generous? Do they not meet the same fate as the hypocrite, the unfaithful, the cruel, and the greedy? Death overtakes them all, good or bad. And soon they are forgotten. Certainly, that’s not fair. Where are the scales of justice?

But it is even worse than that. You and I know that as often as not, it is the bad man who prospers while the good suffers all kinds of afflictions. The bully wins, and the weak pays the price. The cheater gets off scot-free, while the innocent is accused. Crime all too often does pay. The criminal really does get away with murder. His victim suffers the loss. Justice is stood on its head.

We know life is full of injustices. No one denies it. They spring up everywhere. Our sense of fair play tells us something is fundamentally wrong. Something is out of kilter. We long for a world turned right side up. We want those who have been forced to suffer to receive their just compensation.

We want those who have benefited others to receive their just reward. We want those who have abused others to receive their just punishment. Anything less would be a travesty of justice.

Our True Home

Why then, are we given a longing for justice and forced to live in an unjust world? Has the same Agent who provided so generously for all our other needs, created an elaborate hoax just to frustrate our desire for justice? Or could it be that this world is not our final destination?

Perhaps we were made for a better world, a world without death, suffering and injustice. We might find our ingrained sense of fair play to be in complete harmony with the reality of our true home.

Evolutionists have nothing to say about justice or fair play.

Questions to Consider:

1. If we are nothing more than the chance meeting of random atoms of matter, why are we concerned about justice?

2. One more question: If we are nothing more than the chance meeting of random atoms of matter, how did we ever acquire the intelligence to figure out that we are nothing more than the chance meeting of random atoms of matter?

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.

Ethical Search Engine Optimisation Services

Pradeep Gupta asked:

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A SEO consultant would guide you about what all should be done to get a higher ranking on a search engine. We, a seo company uk, provide a complete solution to all your SEO services need.

Key benefits of SEO services can be summed up as below. Read on to find out why you need search engine optimization…

Increased Traffic – Search Engines do better than all other media in encouraging visitors to a website. As about 85% of Internet users prefer search engines as the crucial method to start their search. Traffic from search engines is the most considerable traffic as it is comprised of experienced visitors. These are the people who actively look for a product, service information or solution. So, your seo services uk will make certain that you have valuable traffic.

Improved Competitive Edge – if chances of finding out your website are more, it means your competitors are less likely to be found out. It directly means that if you have more customers, the more online market distribute you get. This is where we, uk seo company help you cut down your competition so that your profits will go higher.

Larger Customer Base – a SEO consultant can help you locate the best search terms to target which will not only attract more visitors to your web site, but ensures that those visitors are more likely to be strong potential customers for your business. Millions of searches are conducted each day; sites appearing at the top of the search results certainly get free web site promotion. In this way, your online market expands. By escalating your market online you expose your products and services to more motivated and interested customers.

Excellent Return-on-Investment – an affordable SEO package has been proven to acquiesce a higher Return on Investment in terms of generating more traffic to your website, qualified sales leads and customer acquisitions. It provides a very low cost of internet advertising with a probable high rate of return, giving you a high Return-on-Investment.

It works Non – stop – your SEO partner works for you non-stop 24/7. It saves your time & effort. After you submit your site, it will continue to be crawled and indexed by search engines and is maintained with minimal endeavor.

Besides being an efficient online marketing tools – they’re also cost effecive. High level SEO services also make possible online marketing of the site. For a SEO program that can help you locate the best search terms to target more visitors that are strong potential customers for your goods and services, you need to look for a SEO partner who provides premium SEO services with own originality.

In simple terms, SEO services make a web site generate traffic from relevant search term queries. An affordable SEO package will take care of aspects like effective search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), internet marketing strategies and execution to bring persistent visitor traffic to your site. Our seo services uk esures correct implementation of search engine optimization that will significantly affect where your web site is positioned against your competitors.

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Ethics in the Workplace

Natalie Rhoden asked:

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.

Blue Collar Business Ethics For Your Small Business Will Provide Global Oppurtunities

Nick Bauer asked:

I started FCP Groton in 2001 with a simple goal, to sell auto parts on EBay and our website. I had no business plan, no direction, no employees only the sources to obtain the parts and the knowledge of where to sell them. I had been selling some auto parts via my parent’s local store on the side and it was starting to take off. I knew with a lot of hard work and some imagination that it would become bigger. The first employee was hired followed by the second, third, fourth, and fifth. In the blink of an eye, 7 years passed and revenue went from 250k to 7M a year, yet we were still doing the same thing each day, only on a grander scale as when this was first established.

My parents and grandparents were old school business people, blue collar workers. I saw that work ethic growing up and that became instilled in me and then my employees for the first 7 years. I mean we worked, worked hard on selling auto parts as that the only goal. Most of the close minded thought process was due to our environment; small leaky building, ancient computer system, and lack of employees (due to the space). We never stopped for a second to step back and see what we needed to do different to get to the next level.

Our whole mentality changed in April 2008. We moved to a larger facility and went on a new software platform. The space enabled more employees and the software freed up time. We had time to think and analyze what the business was for the first time ever. We drafted a business plan, gave ourselves a little direction. We saw that we were no longer a company that could just sell auto parts, we would need to be more than that if we were to expand and survive in the new age of business.

We needed to offer a free service to our customers to compliment the physical products. We needed to become more active in the online community. We needed to communicate directly with our customers in an open manner. We needed to become better listeners when problems arose. We needed this all to be transparent to everyone. The more and more information you provide about your company, the more and more trust you will gain from your customers. There are thousands of places to buy auto parts online; this was our niche as to how we were going to differentiate ourselves from the rest.

We made our first venture into this transparent society last summer when we sponsored a few forums to communicate to offer our knowledge and support in their communities. From there we created this blog and our social networking pages to communicate and interact with the day to day lives of our customers who in turn became part of our community. Not only did this have a profound effect on customers, our employees were actually excited about the buzz and wanted to participate, and added side effect. They felt and realized for the first time that they were part of something special.

There are thousands of companies selling auto parts on the Internet fighting for your business. Having the lowest price or the best customer service can only get you so far if they don\’t compliment each another. If you can\’t back up your great price with a speedy shipping service or a customer service team when there is a problem, you will not get the reviews and support in the online community that you need to survive. Our goal is to touch our customers and their lives so they come back to us the next time. We try to do our job so well that they have no choice but to tell their friends and social networks about us. Word of mouth in the today\’s society is your most valuable advertising asset yet is something that you can\’t pay for, you have to earn it, the blue collar way.

For more information please visit FCP Groton

Improve the Ethics of Law Enforcement Through Ethics in Policing

Vikram kuamr asked:

There is such a thing as improving the ethics of law enforcement within the country. This is possible through Ethics in Policing Ltd, a non-governmental and non-profit organization. EiP or Ethics in Policing has been established with the ideal to supply and support the philosophy of transparency and openness in the law enforcement and policing community. This aim is possible by offering a forum worldwide, discussing the ethical issues which are inherent within policing and law enforcement. This aim is regarded as significant because not only does this affect various law enforcement organizations, it also affects the entire community. EiP will make sure that this objective is carried out.

If you are interested or involved within the system of criminal justice or policing, Ethics in Policing invites you to take part in this goal. The entire bodies of law enforcement are also urged to join this cause. You can share your knowledge regarding law enforcement. You can also share your different experiences regarding the ethical problems which affect the whole community. If there are certain things which you want to know more about, the online site of Ethics in Policing has an information Room where you can learn the things you want to know.

This section of EiP’s website puts up information and web links to world policing bodies and other related agencies. Through the info room of EiP, you will be able to search easily for a specific policing organization within a specific country. You can also browse information by continent. Other than information, you can also read policing news which pertains with ethical issues. This news is derived from all over the world and updated each day. What is more, the news is filed for possible references in the future. If you have research projects, you can support these by referring to the policing news update of EiP.

The vision of Ethics in Policing is the openness of the international law enforcement. EiP aims to develop, support, and uphold the philosophy of transparency and openness within the law enforcement’s international community. Forums are provided, wherein issues related to law enforcement are being discussed. This is done in order to fortify policing integrity with the help of proper ethical practices and leadership. The strengthening of police integrity will greatly benefit law enforcement members and the entire civilian community.

The development of the discussion forum aims to assist law enforcement organizations, agencies, and members who like to raise and discuss ethical matters related to policing. The ethical decisions made by law enforcement agencies are monitored. What is more, there is also an establishment of ethical benchmarking. There is a development of project and research so as to teach and uphold comprehension of ethical matters which influence and affect policing. The exchange of law enforcement concepts and practices are facilitated. This is done in order to improve the process of learning, thereby creating an ethical atmosphere within the community of law enforcement. Police training consultancy is also possible through Ethics in Policing. If you think that policing bodies seem to be getting corrupt, you can uphold the ethics of the international law enforcement by joining the cause of EiP.