June 14th – 20th: Business Ethics Roundup

Let us begin with two truly epic business ethics failures. One the most important businesses in the United States is getting people elected. The various campaign firms, polling sites, think tanks and advertising bureaus spend billions each year.


  1. We have the Trump campaign taking a heartwarming demonstration of cross racial friendship, and turning it into just the opposite with the bizarre claim that if you look at it without any previous knowledge, you would find it funny. The epic leap into poor taste demonstrates a total lack of ethics. It is difficult to conceive what kind of human being would do something like this.


2. Once again, we have the Trump Campaign. That’s right. Not content with altering heart warming videos of children, the Trump campaign thought that using Nazi imagery would be a good idea. They issued 88 ads. Do I need to tell you the significance of 88 in right wing circles? It symbolizes “Heil Hitler.” These 88 ads featured the Nazi concentration camp symbol of the upside down red triangle used to denote communists or social democrats.

I bet that if we ask the Trump campaign, they will claim it is a coincidence and we had a sense of humor, we would find it funny.

I don’t find it funny or a coincidence.


3. The North Face, the outdoor apparel brand, joined the boycott of Facebook over its repeated failures to regulate hate speech and misinformation.

Whether this leads to more companies joining the boycott or Facebook finding a soul or a sense of morality remains to be seen.


4. GM closes Lordstown plant after taking 60 million dollars in tax breaks to keep it open. They were supposed to keep it open until at least 2028 and they took the money.

They lied and they want to keep the money. A simple direct failure of business ethics.


5. Zoom will offer encryption to its users. This is a great move for privacy and should allay the fears of many users about the risks of using the service.

Ethically, this is just marvelous. We have a company here acting to make its users more protected. This is positive business ethics – doing what’s right when no one is making you.


6. It may well be that we hire health care workers to care for those suffering trauma or illness. In this case, however, they were running a betting pool on the blood alcohol level of indigenous admissions to the emergency room.

Unethical, discriminatory and pathetically stupid. Let us have a lot of dismissals.


7. As energy sources go, coal is disastrous, dirty and outmoded. If you read a lot, the signs of its obsolescence have been clear for some time.

And this is absolutely a business ethics issues. Why use this environmentally destructive source of energy when we have better choices? It is very obvious. The people that own these coal reserves have no intent of going quietly into that good night. Their lobbyists and their campaign contributions speak loudly. They talk of “clean coal,” an obvious oxymoron.

We, in this current generation, have an opportunity to make better choices for our descendants and our planet.

James Alan Pilant

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