Chris MacDonald Discusses Loophole Flouting


 Chris MacDonald Discusses Loophole Flouting

Chris MacDonald writing from The Business Ethics Blog is discussing Japanese whaling practices as these actions connect to the larger moral and ethical framework of the nation at large. It’s a good read. I recommend it. If you have time, go to his web site and read the full post (and then sign yourself up as a follower!).

James Pilant

Chris MacDonaldJapan’s loophole flouting is bad for business | The Business Ethics Blog

Japan has flouted the 1986 moratorium on whaling, making use of a loophole that allows whaling for scientific purposes. In effect, the country’s fleet kills whales for what it claims are “scientific” purposes, and sells the meat for human consumption. You don’t have to be an ardent defender of the world’s whales to see the problems inherent in an having a key player in the world’s economy flouting an international standard.

And just think for a minute about that approach to compliance. It effectively means adopting the credo, do what you want, spirit of the law be damned, as long as you can find even the narrowest of loopholes. What example does has the country’s leadership been setting for the business community? How can government ministers look business leaders in the eye and encourage them to cleave to the meaning and intent of regulations? How can the government ask business, without risking hypocrisy, not to make cynical, self-serving use of loopholes?

Naturally, the government of Japan is not alone in this dilemma. The demands of political expediency often mean that political leaders get caught in a do-as-I say, not-as-I-do self-contradiction. But Japan’s stance on whaling seems a particularly blatant example. And the future of the issue still remains unclear. Japan has only committed to cancelling its whale hunt for this year. Time will tell whether the Japanese government, on this issue at least, demonstrates character worthy of emulation, or instead goes back to an approach aimed merely at securing short-term gains.

via Japan’s loophole flouting is bad for business | The Business Ethics Blog.

From around the web.

From the web site, Ethics and the Environment.

http://ethicsandtheenvironment.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/the-purpose-of-this-blog/

The Australian government has taken legal action against Japan over concerns Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean was not done for scientific purposes.

According to BBC news, the case is been held in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, with Australia arguing that Japan’s scientific whaling program (under which it kills whales) is commercial whaling in disguise. A moratorium which bans commercial whaling was put in place in 1986 by the International whaling commission.

According to The Age, a Melbourne based newspaper, Australia Government counsel Bill Campbell told the court, “Japan seeks to cloak its ongoing commercial whaling in the lab coat of science.”

Mike Double from the Australia Antarctic division told AlJazeera Japan’s scientific whaling was not scientific because whales do not have to be killed to be study.

“We simply do not need to kill whales for the science,” he said. “We can collect all the information we need to conserve and manage these whales through non-lethal methods.”

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, who is representing Australia in court, said that more than 10,000 whales had been killed by Japanese whalers since the moratorium was introduced.

He said Australia wanted to see whaling practices halted “once and for all.”

Chris MacDonald Discusses Business Ethics and Bribery


Chris MacDonald
Chris MacDonald

Chris MacDonald Discusses Business Ethics and Bribery

A long term blogger on business ethics matters, Chris MacDonald here speaks of the need for international business standard. Please read his post and go to his web site and sign up as a follower.

James Pilant

Bribery is Still a Challenge for International Business | The Business Ethics Blog

Bribery and other forms of corruption continue to pose a challenge to international business. Bribery is a problem because it distorts markets, saps economies, and hurts local communities. For all these reasons, bribery is illegal just about everywhere that has a functioning legal system. And as reported recently in the Wall Street Journal, many countries are stepping up efforts at enforcing anti-bribery laws. Both because of the possibility of prosecution, and because of the slippery slope between bribery and other forms of criminality, bribery poses significant business risks.

Clearly, improved enforcement is an important part of combatting bribery, and combatting corruption more generally. The temptation to win ‘by any means’ will always be there, and so tough rules need to be in place.

But another element is the promulgation and adoption of good, clear, international business standards. As it happens, I’m currently in Madrid as part of the Canadian delegation to an International Standards Organization working committee that is drafting a new “Anti-Bribery Management Systems” standard (ISO 37001).

via Bribery is Still a Challenge for International Business | The Business Ethics Blog.

MacDonald, C. (2014, March 26). Bribery is still a challenge for international business. Retrieved from http://businessethicsblog.com/2014/03/26/bribery-is-still-a-challenge-for-international-business/

From around the web.

From the web site, The Bung Blog.

http://thebungblog.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/time-to-stand-up-for-the-little-guys-girls/

Avid readers of this Blog, (aka gluttons for punishment) will remember my outburst last year. “Government Declares Bribery Not an Offence!”

The tenor of that little tome was to the effect that however sexy the Bribery Act 2010 might have been, it was not perceived as having much relevance, or bite, to the average Jo.

A well respected criminal QC, and good friend of mine, has described it in an article last year as a “Toothless Wonder.”

Much of the cynicism has arisen as a result of the common perception that the SFO being the principal prosecuting authority under the act, has a) no interest in, and b) no budget for, prosecuting anything but the most headline grabbing, stone cold bonkers cases that they can’t possibly lose.

There were dark mutterings from the departing Director that they were hot on the tails of a number of cases, but for now, Mum’s the word. We all await developments on that, especially in the light of the new Director’s protestations that the future of the SFO is secure, and, by implication perhaps, prosecutions are just around the corner. (So’s my Taxi apparently)

To be fair to David Green QC, as a lot of people have been pointing out, it takes time for any substantial case to be detected and investigated to the point of charge, and not being retrospective, the Bribery Act 2010 cannot apply to any act of Bribery committed before July 1st 2011.

Chris MacDonald Gets It Right on Sochi


Chris MacDonald
Chris MacDonald

Chris MacDonald Gets It Right on Sochi

Good post. Good article. Good advocacy.

James Pilant

(As always with Chris MacDonald’s work, you should go to his web site and read the post in its entirety – and if you think my advice is any good – you should stay at his site and read some more of his fine writing. jp)

Sochi, and Solidarity With the Gay Community | The Business Ethics Blog

The business community can, and should, follow AT&T’s lead in speaking out in solidarity with the LGBT community. On February 4th, the company’s Consumer Blog featured an entry entitled, A Time for Pride and Equality. “We support LGBT equality globally and we condemn violence, discrimination and harassment targeted against LGBT individuals everywhere. Russia’s law is harmful to LGBT individuals and families, and it’s harmful to a diverse society.”

Russia’s anti-gay laws and attitudes are repugnant. Russian President Vladimiar Putin clearly wants hosting the Olympics to signal that Russia is a proud and globally-significant nation once again. But what it’s really doing is making the country look like an oversized banana republic, with values that don’t befit a serious world power. Putin is a man of the times alright — as long as the times you’re thinking of are the 19th century.

via Sochi, and Solidarity With the Gay Community | The Business Ethics Blog.

From around the web.

From the web site, York Pen.

https://yorkpen.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/sochi-winter-games-lgbt-rights-in-russia/

“The Anti-gay propaganda law” – the unofficial name for the federal law that banned the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors” – was adopted by The Duman (Russian parliament) on Tuesday 30th of June 2013 and signed by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. In a few words, the distribution of information concerning LGBT rights to under-eighteens and within the media is banned and condemned with large fines. Indeed, fines to promote “non-traditional relations” can go up to 5,000 robles (around £90) for individuals and 1 million (around £17000) for organizations (NGOs, corporations etc). Foreigners can also be fined, imprisoned for fifteen days, or deported for breaking the law. The irony in this law is that it does not clearly uses the word “homosexuality”, but instead references “non-traditional sexual relations”, a euphemism prevalent in the Russian Orthodox Church’s discourse. The orthodox church of Russia, an institution that remains prominent and powerful in the devoutly religious country, is clearly hostile of same-sex relationships.

The Sochi Winter Games is an occasion to underline the infringements on human rights for the LGBT community in Russia. Indeed, the LGBT community obtained common rights very late in Russia: same-sex intercourse between consenting adult was only decriminalised in 1993, the possibility for transsexuals to legally change their legal gender came in 1997, the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness came in 1999, and the age of consent for same-sex intercourse was only reduced to 16 in 2003. Still today, The Government do not recognize same-sex relationships in civil partnership. A law prohibiting gay parades has been condemned by the Strasbourg court in April 2011. The Russian Government banned 164 pride events and marches between 2006 and 2008. Moreover, since the law passed, violent attacks against homosexuals or “presumed homosexuals” are common in Russia today and often go unchecked.

Ethics Roundup, October Second, 2011


I have four entries in the Ethics Roundup this week. I hope you enjoy them.

James Pilant

1. The Ethics Sage has a new post out called –

Deloitte Sued for $7.6 Billion, Accused of Missing Fraud

Steven Mintz writing as the Ethics Sage is appropriately outraged. Let me quote his concluding paragraph –

Are auditors finally going to be held accountable for their role in the financial meltdown? Time will tell but there can be no doubt some must have missed the red flags and, more important, ignored the changing business model and risks inherent in dealing with financial instruments such as sub-prime mortgages and credit default swaps. Auditors are supposed to understand the environment in which their clients operate and use that knowledge and related risk assessment to determine proper audit procedures. It appears that Deloitte failed to do so and there may be other cases waiting in the wings.

2. Chris MacDonald writing in the Business Ethics Blog has a new post called –

Corporations as “People” vs. Corporations as “Persons.”

In this essay, Professor MacDonald explains corporate personhood in its two very different forms.

3. Lauren Bloom writing in her blog, deals with the downside of Henry Ford‘s creations.

Entitled – It’s amazing what can happen in 103 years.

Here’s my favorite paragraph –

Now, just a little over a century later, Americans take for granted the right to cross our country in the comfort of their automobiles, and we can make trips in hours that used to take days. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that our nation is crisscrossed with roads and bridges that require regular repair, millions are killed or injured annually in autmobile accidents, our cars are eating up the ozone layer with their toxic emissions, Americans drive instead of walking and, as a result, suffer from record levels of obesity and associated diseases, and traffic jams have become a daily nightmare. (Living in a city that’s earned the dubious distinction of having the worst traffic in America, I should know.)

4. Josephson on Business Ethics and Leadership has a fascinating article up on doctors’ conflicts of interest.

Dollars for Docs – How Industry Dollars Reach Your Doctors.

Best paragraph –

Even though such payments are legal, most medical policymakers agree that they are not ethical.  Special trips, meals, and “educational opportunities” are very common strategies that companies use to create stronger bonds with their clients, and to achieve the basic goal of any business — to sell more. In most industries, such gift-giving doesn’t raise any particular ethical red flags. But in medicine, the person getting the gifts isn’t the person taking the drugs. The person taking the drugs is you. And if your doctor has prescribed you that drug when a different drug – or no drug at all – might be the better choice, then it’s likely you’d want to know about it.

 

 

 

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The “BlackBerry Riots” — What Should RIM Do? (via The Business Ethics Blog)


We have learned that Chris MacDonald quickly analyzes current events for ethical issues and can be counted on to get a post up in a day or less. This is one of those.

Chris MacDonald

My favorite paragraph is this one –

The question is complicated by questions of precedence. Tech companies have come under fire for assisting governments in, for example, China, to crack down on dissidents. Of course, the UK government isn’t anything like China’s repressive regime. But at least some people are pointing to underlying social unrest, unemployment etc., in the UK as part of the reason — if not justification — for the riots. And besides, even if it’s clear that the UK riots are unjustifiable and that the UK government is a decent one, companies like RIM are global companies, engaged in a whole spectrum of social and political settings, ones that will stubbornly refuse to be categorized. Should a tech company help a repressive regime stifle peaceful protest? No. Should a tech company help a good and just government fight crime? Yes. But with regard to governments, as with regard to social unrest, there’s much more grey in the world than black and white.

We’re going to come across this issue again and again. Modern social unrest, justified, unjustified or simply beyond our understanding, is now also a product of social networking. As these machines gain complexity and power, so will the possibilities of social action. We are entering a new world in which a protest or similar action can be organized in very short chunks of times. Flyers and bullhorns are as obsolete as Egyptian hieroglyphs in this new climate of computer assisted unrest.

James Pilant

The intersection of social media with social unrest is a massive topic these days. Twitter has been credited with playing an important role in coordinating the pro-democracy protests in Egypt, and Facebook played a role in helping police track down culprits after the Vancouver hockey riots. But the mostly-unstated truth behind these “technologies of the people” is that they are corporate technologies, ones developed, fostered, and controlled by c … Read More

via The Business Ethics Blog

Glock Pistols, Ethics and CSR (via The Business Ethics Blog)


This is a particularly timely essay from The Business Ethics Blog.

(I have a confession to make. When I saw that Professor MacDonald had a post on this subject, I went to the site and immediately hit the reblog button. I hadn’t read it. I had complete confidence that MacDonald would write a good post. I have read it now and, of course, it’s excellent and I recommend it to you.)

James Pilant

P.S. I once owned a seven shot Glock, the thinner concealable version.

Glock Pistols, Ethics and CSR It’s been a week now since the Tuscon, Arizona killings in which Jared Lee Loughner apparently emptied the high-capacity magazine of his 9 mm pistol. Plenty has already been written about the awful killing. Inevitably, some of it has focused on the weapon he carried, namely the Glock. According to Wikipedia’s Glock page, The Glock is a series of semi-automatic pistols designed and produced by Glock Ges.m.b.H., located in Deutsch-Wagram, Austria. … Read More

via The Business Ethics Blog

Chris MacDonald defines ethics (via John Ayo Olaghere)


I read Chris MacDonald’s blog, The Business Ethics Blog, regularly but somehow I missed his definitions of business ethics and ethics. Mr. Olaghere spotted the definitions and kindly posted them. Thanks!

James Pilant

Chris MacDonald, Ph.D. of The Business Ethics Blog defines ethics and business ethics. He  teaches  Philosophy, including business ethics, at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada, and a Nonresident Senior Fellow at Duke University’s Kenan Institute for Ethics. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Business Ethics. He has been named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics”, two years in a row. “Ethics” ca … Read More

via John Ayo Olaghere

Recommended Business Ethics Blogs


This is my list of the Business Ethics Blogs that I have been impressed with. Some of these blogs are controversial choices but  I went and looked at some other lists and was pretty shocked by what they thought was relevant. It seems there is no fixed criteria, so I will try to choose as best I can.

My selection process ran like this. I’ve been blogging on this web site for more than a year. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many other bloggers and many were involved in one way or another with business ethics. So, I already had the beginnings of a list from my web contacts and regularly cruising the net for similar web sites to mine. In addition for this project I went to Google and read the first 1200 entries under the search, business ethics blog, and then 2000 entries under the search, business ethics. Nevertheless I do not believe for a moment that this list is complete or will make everyone happy.

If you want to be on it and you’re not, let me know. If you want your blog removed or some particular thing said about it, you should let me know that as well. I have no objection to any reasonable claim. In fact, whether you wish to criticize or praise, comment! The only thing you might want to know when you comment is that I often post comments as blog entries. Now before you assume that I am going to butcher your comment, be aware that I print every word, every comma, exactly as it was written and in full. I may disagree with you but I will not rearrange your writing to diminish the power of your words.

These are in no particular order. Developing criteria to rank these web sites would be a major endeavor, and sure to displease a lot of people. I think I will just content myself with a list.

This list is going to evolve over time so that criticism and recommendations can be incorporated. It is also important that I keep learning about new blogs and new writers and perhaps some older blogs that I missed.

1. Occasional Links & Commentary

This is David F. Ruccio’s Blog. I freely admit being a little dazzled by this web site. The graphic are amazing. It’s all cutting edge and professional looking. I think I could get an inferiority complex if I visit too often. The writing is interesting enlivened by attractive and easily read graphs. Great web site.

2. Lauren Bloom’s Blog, Business Ethics Speaker and Consultant

Ms. Bloom has been in the ethics field for a considerable length of time. This is how she describes herself in her blog:

Beginning in 1992, Lauren spent more than fourteen years as General Counsel of the American Academy of Actuaries, where her practice focused on teaching professionals how to incorporate high ethical standards and principles of good governance into their professional activities. Lauren played a pivotal role in the development and enforcement of the U.S. actuarial profession’s code of conduct and standards of qualification and practice. She also consulted with the International Actuarial Association on its project to develop the first international standards of practice for actuaries. She is widely published in the actuarial profession’s publications, and continues to speak to actuarial firms and association meetings around the United States.

The web site is designed as a practical guide for ethics.

3. The Big Picture Barry Ritholt’s Blog

I like his intro –

The blog is a compendium of what a Wall Street money manager is looking at, thinking about, and writing on. It is written by me (& the crew) for people ranging from investment professionals to media to anyone else interested in investing, markets, and the economy.

It is, by design, laden with facts, statistics, and informed, data-driven opinions. We avoid the squishy, touchy-feely “I think/hope/want” type of fact free analysis so prevalent in the media and on Wall Street.

4. Ethics Forum This web site is written by Alice C. Linsley.

The writing is intelligent. The author is not afraid to write in depth about their subject and writes often. This tends much more to philosophy than to business ethics but there are a good number of articles directly devoted to the subject. Great blog.

5. Chris MacDonald’s The Business Ethics Blog Professor MacDonald’s blog was one of the first ethics sites devoted to business ethics that I found when I started writing my own blog. When I looked around the web trying to find how to do a successful blog I ran continually into his postings. He had been everywhere first. I think this indicates an aggressive intelligence and a willingness to take pains. I cannot pretend neutrality on MacDonald’s work. I have 32 posts recommending one of his essays or his writing in general. I did say one thing about him that sums up a great deal about his blog. I once pointed out that if you wanted the equivalent of a college course in business ethics you only had to read his web postings for a few months.

6. Business Ethics.ca, The Canadian Resource for Business Ethics

This is one of Chris MacDonald’s blogs. If you want Canadian ethics site, probably the ultimate web site. However, considering the power of his principal web site, I want to recommend that you go there first.

7. Compliance Building

Doug Cornelius writes this blog. It’s written in an informal way. It is often amusing as well as informative. For instance, for the Christmas season, he has a blog entry discussing the ethics of Santa Claus. It’s updated often and quite intelligent.

Here’s a quote from his post on the Facebook – Goldman Sachs deal –

To me it sounds like Facebook and Goldman have come up with an ingenious solution to the address the capital needs for Facebook and to avoid a public offering of stock. I assume the Goldman investment and its new fund will be used to provide some capital for expansion and growth. I also suspect that some of it will be used to cash out early investors, purchase employee stock, and repurchase stock that has been privately traded. Gobbling up the stock would be an opportunity to keep the number of investors well below the 499 trigger point. Early investors may take their money and run.

8. Business Ethics: The Magazine of Corporate Responsibility

This web magazine is operated by Michael Connor. It is more focused on what corporations should do in ethical dilemmas and often veers into public relations tactics. Nevertheless, some good ethical writing, clever articles and much useful information. The blog dates from 2009 and is updated very regularly.

Here’s the self description from the blog –

A lot has changed in the more than two decades since Business Ethics was founded. Ethics and governance have emerged as front-page news and lead agenda items in corporate board rooms and the halls of Congress. Good corporate citizenship is now studied, advocated and sometimes practiced. Sustainability has become a goal for well-meaning small businesses as well as many of the Fortune 500. Whether that represents real progress is open to debate. The continuing fallout from the recent economic and financial crises is a constant reminder that many systems are not working. There’s plenty to discuss. Business Ethics aims to serve as a guide.

Sam Antar

9. White Collar Fraud

This is the intro to Sam Antar’s White Collar Fraud web site –

There is a saying, “It takes one to know one.” I am a convicted felon, former CPA, and former criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie. Today, I advise law enforcement agencies, professionals, and businesses how to identify fraud and train them to catch the crooks. This blog discusses white-collar crime, securities fraud, financial reporting irregularities, Sarbanes-Oxley, corruption, and other related topics. Irregularities reported here are referred to appropriate government agencies as a whistleblower.

This is a better summation than anything I am likely to write about the blog.

10. Foreclosure Blues

Foreclosureblues is the best foreclosure site on the web. It is edited by Jake Naumer. It’s updated regularly and it’s content is updated regularly. Their choice of material is excellent. The site posts consist of often vital and useful information salted with outrage over the injustice involved. I strongly advocate this blog.

There is a lot of dynamic writing on this sight. It often has the feel of the breaking news in this highly controversial area. Look at this writing sample –

If, in fact, there exists widespread legal failure of securitized mortgage pools, as Mr. Rosner, theorizes, then we are possibly facing the Apocalypse Scenario, calling into question the legal and financial soundness of a large portion of the U.S. securitized mortgage market. Securitized mortgages comprise over half, or $8.9 trillion, of the $14.2 trillion in total U.S. mortgage debt outstanding.

“It may mean investors who think they bought mortgage- backed securities bought securities that aren’t backed by anything,” said Kurt Eggert, a professor at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California. Well, that’s already happened. Check out this lawsuit by MBIA Insurance against Credit Suisse 0ver a bad securitization loan deal.

11. Minding the Workplace, the New Workplace Institute Blog, hosted by David Yamada.

This is one of my favorite blogs. It has lively writing and a sense of mission. David Yamada often focuses on workplace bullying as an issue. He pushes for legislation and other actions in dealing with this problem.

From the blogs “about” page –

This blog is dedicated to news and commentary about work and employment relations.  Dignity at work, workplace bullying, employment & labor law, and psychologically healthy work environments are recurring themes.

12. Ethical Houston

Important disclosure – I consider Franklin Olson to be a friend, so I am biased. I have exchanged e-mails and asked him if he would like to blog on my site.

You may assume safely that I like his writing and value his opinions. His latest writing is on Aristotle and considering my recent explorations into the subject, I feel very pleased about his choice of topic. His articles are guite intelligent, considerably in depth, and written from a Christian perspective. My only complaint is he doesn’t write on a regular schedule. I recommend his site.

13. Ethics Sage (Steven Mintz)

I like Steven Mintz. I like his writing. The evidence of his personal conduct and thought indicate a man whose writing reflects high values. I consider him a benefit to the field of ethics. Another disclosure – we have exchanged thoughts through the medium of the web and he has gone to the trouble of writing me a blog response explaining in some detail the thought of Aristotle. I consider this a favor of a very high order. From my reading of it, he explained it clearly and accurately off the top of his head, his thoughts laid clearly as they had been shaped by teaching the subject over some years. I teach myself and I recognize the accomplishment.

His site is one of the strongest that I have seen on the web when it comes to ethical discussions of current events. For any student this is a treasure of usable research topics and for any casual reader, intelligent comment. You should read this blog.

14. Christopher Lind: The Moral Economy Column

Professor Lind has a book out called, Rumours of a Moral Economy. Follow his links from his blog to find other books and a number of publications.

Here’s an example of his writing –

Relationships on university campuses across Canada are becoming increasingly strained. The long term pressure is a lack of funding to match increasing enrollments. However, faced with that pressure many universities have engaged in behaviours that are neither fair nor transparent. For example, the underfunding of students has reached such a critical level that over 90% of Canadian universities now have food banks on campus. The University of Alberta has had one since 1991, now even the University of Lethbridge has one.

Hundreds of thousands of students rely on student loans to pay their tuition. The governments transmit these funds to the students through the universities who charge the students an administrative fee in turn. I know of one regional Canadian university who budgets almost a quarter of a million dollars annually to be received from these fees. Why should the poorest students be subsidizing the universities with borrowed money? These are the ones relying on food banks to eat. This practice is neither transparent nor fair.

15. Business Ethics Memo Julian Friedland’s blog is well written and fun. I like his attitude. He often aims at current events with great accuracy.

Here’s an example of his writing –

Personally, I’ve always been suspicious of the ethics of for-profit microlending. Its defenders claim that if it were limited to non-profit philanthropy, there would be much less money available to aid the myriad poor villagers in the developing world where it is desperately needed. Capitalism begets capital.

That sounds like a decent utilitarian argument. Trouble is, from a more principle-based position, there is something unseemly about saddling the working poor with interest rates so high they would be considered usurious in the U.S. Indeed, several U.S. states have regulated payday lending rates to below half (24%-36%) of what is common in international microcredit (80%-100% or more). The Federal government makes it illegal to sell payday loans to military personnel at higher than 36% interest.

16. Ethics Alarms

Here’s an example of his writing –

One of the core principles of ethical conduct is that an individual who finds himself in a position to stop wrongdoing has an obligation to do so, regardless of whether he caused the problem or has an official or professional duty to discharge. Fix the problem. Ask questions, blow the whistle, confront the wrongdoer, pressure officials, call in authorities…whatever it takes.  So many of the scandals and disasters we have witnessed in the past— the home mortgage meltdown, the Enron implosion, Abu Ghraib, Bernie Madoff’s scheme, baseball’s steroid scandal, the Catholic Church’s child molestation cover-up, and too many more to list—would have been ended far sooner if someone on the scene had followed through on this ethical imperative.  We don’t know who those people who ducked their responsibilities are; all we know is that lives were ruined because they chose to be passive, and not to act.

17. Christian Business Ethics Bobby Miller’s web site is a rare example of a Christian Ethics web site. When you run a search for Christian business ethics, you get a multitude of hits. The great majority are useless. This one is a good one.

Here’s an example from Miller’s writing.

Take for example, a saying that a lot of business executives and entrepreneurs use to cover-up or fluff-over the evil of their decisions, when made, affects individuals on every personal level. They utter these dreaded words, “It’s not personal, it’s only business”. I personally hate that. Of course it’s personal. When a father or mother goes home and say to their spouse and look into the eyes of their children that they’ve been terminated from work, you bet your bottom dollar that it’s personal. They are hurt and disappointed. Hope is removed from before them. They know that there are going to be rough time ahead. They know that some of the privileges that they had grown accustomed to will fade away in a snap. I thinks it’s a cowardice way of the one severing the relationship truly saying, “I don’t care how my decisions affects you. My business needs, my profit margin, my image or goals are more important that your welfare, or your family’s welfare”. Let me be clear, I am not saying that some executive decisions are not justified. Many [if not most] are justified. What I am talking about is how some employers of late, took advantage of the recent downturn in the economy as a justification to unnecessarily lay-off or fire some of their employees that were faithful servants of their firms, performing their jobs at optimum levels, just to increase the bottom line. At the root cause of their motivation to terminate the employment of these individuals was unashamed greed, on display for all to see.

18. Engineering Ethics Blog Karl Stephan’s blog is excellent writing. But what makes it even better is that he brings an engineering perspective coupled with an ability to explain the subject to those outside the field. I remember his discussion of the technical aspects of the Gulf disaster. He explained what happened in a way that gave me a deeper understanding of the problems inherent in that kind of drilling.

19. Blog: Business Ethics – David Gebler I have enjoyed Gebler’s blog for some time now. I think all interested in the field of ethics should add it to their favorites.

Here’s an example from Gebler’s writing –

Last week GlaxoSmithKline settled a claim with the US Justice Department for $750 million. However, what really made the news was that whistleblower Cheryl Eckard stood to receive $96 million for her efforts.

The concern, as raised in today’s Wall Street Journal, is that with such a potential goldmine on the back end, potential whistleblowers will be going straight to the feds before working through internal channels. For over 20 years major organizations have built extensive ethics and compliance infrastructures, including helplines and ethics training that details the suggested ways to report misconduct.

20. Practical Ethics, Ethical Perspectives on the News This is the University of Oxford’s blog on ethics in the news. As you can imagine the writing is of high quality with many authors.

Here’s an example from the blog written by Bennett Foddy

A new report released by the US Surgeon General last month reminds us that cigarettes are designed with addiction in mind. Tobacco companies infuse tobacco with ammonia so that the nicotine crosses the membranes in the lungs faster, reducing the delay between inhalation and pharmacological effect. They add flavourings like chocolate and vanilla to the blend, knowing that smokers will be more likely to smell something in their food that they associate with smoking, and to feel like lighting up. These tricks are a source of moral outrage for many of us; it seems as though the tobacco companies are exploiting weaknesses in our biology to make us buy things we would not otherwise have bought, and to do things we would not otherwise have done (or would not have done so much). And tobacco executives have often denied engaging in these kinds of tactics.

21. Gael O’Brien The Week in Ethics: Columns in Ethics, Leadership and Life. Gael O’Brien has been writing this blog since 2009. Her “about” blog section describes her this way – Gael O’Brien is a consultant, presenter, author and thought leader on topics related to leadership, ethics, trust, reputation, values, and strategic direction.

Here’s an example of her writing –

McDonald’s may be doing a great deal to address criticism about the link of its food to obesity. And they are only one of a legion of fast food restaurants that offer high sodium, high fat, high sugar, and high calorie foods.

However, there is a tremendous need for leadership here to create healthier ways to prepare food and to offer healthier menus. Kids’ nutrition is a first step. McDonald’s is well positioned to provide that leadership. The lawsuit  isn’t the challenge. The challenge is to find answers to creating healthier food and still be a financially successful company.

Given the enormous power McDonald’s has to shape what is fun and cool to eat, what if they redirected their energy to developing innovative solutions to inexpensive, good-to-eat food that is actually good for children?

22. Rogue Columnist: A Pen Warmed in Hell  This is a big favorite of mine. Jon Talton is outraged by a lot that goes on. So do I. I put him in the business ethics blogs because of his persistent criticism of business practices in Arizona. He doesn’t blog on the subject that often but when he does, it is memorable.

Here’s an example

I overheard this conversation: “Is there some way I can short Arizona? I asked my broker and she said she will be on a conference call next week with a manager of two funds that invest in Arizona munis who are considering selling the entire portfolio…” And yet, Arizona hasn’t yet paid the full price for the Kookocracy being in power, for its cruel policies, for its inflaming hatred and violence. The national college football championship will be played at the stadium in Glendale, built with taxpayer money to enrich private sprawl developers. Tourism has apparently rebounded from the anti-immigrant law. Arizona just gets away with it and too much of what passes for the leadership in the state just goes with the flow. The vulnerable and sick, the working poor, the competitive future — these all pay the price. Gabby Giffords, a smart centrist who supported gun rights, paid. So did federal Judge John Roll, who had received threats from the white-right over immigration rulings. But when will Arizona pay for what it has become?

23. Thinking Ethics Beth Krasna edits this exploration of ethics issues. Now beware, a quick look indicates only a handful of posts. You have to go to the categories column on the right side of the page and click on the appropriate topic to pull up those kinds of posts. Once you know to do that, you find a great deal of material.

24. Chapman Sife: Business Ethics Blog

This is a Facebook site which is an unusual choice for me but the students and other contributors range the Internet and find some fascinating stuff. Because of this, I include it. It’s good site in terms of its exploration of other articles and other thoughts.

25. Too Much, A Commentary on Excess and Inequality

Each and every week, Too Much explores excess and inequality, in the United States and throughout the world. We cover a wide swatch of territory, everything from the latest executive pay outrage to the most current research insights on how staggering income and wealth divides are impacting our health and our happiness.

This blog calls for income equality and regularly publishes blog entries rich on supporting data and history as some informative and clearly presented graphs. I believe the wide class differences in wealth in the United States are destroying democracy and damaging the fabric of society. Thus, I see it as pursuing ethical business policies. So, it gets included.

Wikileaks And Ethics


The ongoing Wikileaks controversy has a large number of ethical elements. The best commentator on this is Chris MacDonald. I subscribe to his site and I’ve watched as he hit one ethical aspect after another. I firmly believe that the Wikileaks controversy will be an ethics textbook staple for the next twenty years and that MacDonald will probably write the quoted article.

Here’s his lineup –

December 9th, 2010 Wikileaks, Credit Card Companies and Complicity

December 11, 2010 Should Companies Judge the Ethics of Those with whom They Do Business?

December 13, 2010 Wikileaks & Mastercard: Should Companies Do Government’s Bidding?

December 20, 2010 Wikileaks and NGO Legitimacy

If you are are a teacher, these articles provided excellent teaching opportunities. If you are one of my readers, this is a business ethical analysis of complicated set of moral problems.

Whoever you are, I recommend the articles.

James Pilant

Update – Professor MacDonald has added another post on this subject. This one is called Corporate Citizenship, Apple and Wikileaks. This one was posted on his web site on December 22, 2010.

Business Ethics Blog’s 5th Blogaversary (via The Business Ethics Blog)


Chris MacDonald has spent five years writing on the subject of business ethics. How many people have learned from his words, how many choices were made differently because of his moral ardor, how much he has made life better for all of us by his pursuit of ethics, all these could be the subject of debate. But the only debate that’s really viable here is the amount of good he has done. I do not believe an objective human being can conclude that his influence was null or small.

Let’s celebrate his success and hope for another five years (or better yet, a whole lifetime) of ethics blogging.

James Pilant

Business Ethics Blog's 5th Blogaversary Five years ago today, I posted my very first blog entry. It had no real substance, but it was a start. Five years later, I'm still blogging. And given that the average lifespan of a blog is something less than the average lifespan of a fruit fly, I think I now get to call myself a veteran blogger. Over the last five years, I've written over 720 blog entries. I've written on topics big and small and ridiculous. I've written about the collapse of m … Read More

via The Business Ethics Blog