Poor Youngsters as Happy as More Affluent Peers (via Thriven’s Blog)


Poor Youngsters as Happy as More Affluent Peers (via Thriven’s Blog)

!!@@#dddddd444plate16-thIs happiness determined by the size of your wallet? I’ve never thought so. But I do believe that debt pressure can make a good life into a living hell. I worry that millions of Americans saddled with debt they can never pay are never going to have a chance at the happiness that the last generation had.

Americans owe 2.4 trillion dollars in consumer debt. Than doesn’t count real estate. The big pieces of that are student loan debts coming in at about 730 billion dollars, credit card debt at 962 billion dollars. That leaves 708 billion for things like auto loans.

In good times, that wouldn’t be that big of a problem. If you have good jobs and a thriving economy, those kinds of debts are manageable.

These aren’t good times.

These debts translate into hardcore misery: lost homes, spousal abuse, alcohol and drug use, crime as well as mental illness.

When the debts are larger than your income, you lay awake at night. It sits in the back of your mind like a dull pain that never goes away. You feel it when you talk, when you read, even when you take a step.

You can’t buy a can of pop on the way to work. You can’t buy coffee when you’re cold.

You put gasoline in the car and pray hard that it works okay, even though you have been due for an oil change for three months and the tires are getting bald.

Your life moves away from logic and you rely on luck. Will the car keep running? Will one of us get sick? Can we get some part time work or maybe sell something? That’s what life is when it’s just a matter of luck. Things just happen.

There are millions of Americans out there feeling that kind of pain.

Read the article. It’s well thought out from a good web site.

James Pilant

  An important article in today’s Guardian. For many of us who grew up poor or who have close contact with young people and families in the low income category, we would hardly be surprised that life can be as good without much in the way of money. Indeed, in many cases it is better. The genuine positive closeness of people – family, partners and friends – is almost certainly the key factor to feeling secure and happy. There’s nothing like l … Read More

via Thriven’s Blog

Pilant’s Business Ethics Gets a Facelift!!


James Pilant
James Pilant

Pilant’s Business Ethics Gets a Facelift!!

I have revised the web site to improve your viewing and reading experience. My new upgrades put me on the cutting edge of blog design. I am looking forward to another year of blogging and I hope you come along for the experience.

I try to look at business ethics from a macro point of view. It is not just the individual act that must worry us but the international and national effects of corporate policy and unethical behavior. We live in a time of massive power shifts, large economic units competing with nation states for political influence and control. We live in a time where the rules that govern our behavior are under challenge. There are those that believe that religion, the great philosophies, and the moral beliefs of the large population are irrelevant. They believe that each moral decision must be considered under all circumstances by individuals.

No. Some things are wrong, evil per se. You don’t have to analyze them. You don’t have to consider them in the light of all the circumstances. You have an obligation to act responsibly to every other human being. We all have a duty to our nation and our fellow citizens. What’s more, religion is a guide in many people’s lives and is relevant. The great philosophies like virtue ethics will always be effective and intelligent guides to human behavior. And there is a wisdom that resides in the general populations about ethics matters.

My writing is along those lines and I don’t have any apologies for not writing about these issues in a purely academic style. There is a certain pleasure in being plain spoken.

Nevertheless I believe as time goes by that as I learn more about the subject in an academic format that my writing may turn more in that direction. We’ll see.

My thanks for your kind patronage!!

James Alan Pilant

 

Business Ethics and Films, Assignments for this Semester, BLAW 1


waterfall amazonBusiness Ethics and Films, Assignments for this Semester, BLAW 1

Each of these assignments is worth 8 points. You are to first write a brief intro explaining the plot and including the best line from the film that you can find after the first ten minutes. You will use for the second paragraph the five sentence paragraph format found in the syllabus.

I want you to watch the entire film. I’m trying to teach you something of importance that will last your entire life.

Each link is to an online video of the film which is totally free. If you have a service like Netlfix or Hulu and you can get the film there that will be fine.

The question I want you to answer is listed beneath the film.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5XcNcXBSQo

My Man Godfrey

According to the film, what moral principles does Godfrey believe in? What does he say about what he wants to accomplish?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYKijBENJ78

Love Affair

Charles Boyar has two choices in the film. Which does he choose and why? You may add a paragraph explaining what you would have done under the same circumstances.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLwEUnW2BL0

His Girl Friday

The Editor (Cary Grant) often (continually) uses unethical actions to gain his ends. What is he trying to accomplish? Is he a good man?

http://viooz.co/movies/7322-persuasion-1995.html

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=persuasion&form=HDRSC3&first=1#view=detail&mid=5287835AA1093BF4C9265287835AA1093BF4C926

Persuasion

According to the film, does the heroine cravenly seek money and position? In a nation heavily influenced by neoliberalism, aren’t we supposed to use the free market to maximize our gains?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTXpC6NRHCg

Jane Eyre

What are the circumstances that make it possible for Jane to rise in social class? Do women have an advantage over men when it comes to social climbing? What does Jane want?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cf0-GsXDzI

Rebecca

Rebecca is given a place in high society. How does she adapt? Would you have made the same decisions?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmdPj_XbF30

Pygmalion

Watch the film and answer this question, would it have been better if Higgins had left her in the gutter?

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=bodyguards+and+assasins&view=detail&mid=BB73D9DDEB1B1904078FBB73D9DDEB1B1904078F&first=0&FORM=NVPFVR

Bodyguards and Assassins

This is the first of fifteen parts. It was difficult to find and I had no luck finding it in English in a full movie.

What is the difference in the motivations of the rickshaw driver as opposed to the rich merchant?

Watch the film – I’ve had partial analysis that demonstrated a lack of basic knowledge of what was in it. This is a major cinematic experience. Treat it with the reverence a great piece of film making deserves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY1U-a2lWH4

Cyborg She

Watch the film and answer the following question: How much does money as a goal count in our hero’s life? Is there anything more important to him?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNdh5A6MWK8

Japan Sinks

In the film, the Japanese react as a people (as a whole) to the upcoming disaster but are saved by an individual’s sacrifice. Is there a conflict between solidarity of the population and the importance of the individual? Also what if he had acted with the morals of a Wall Street Banker, shouldn’t he happily abandon his country and his friends while cashing in on the underwater salvage of Japanese treasures?

http://vimeo.com/39063669

Ninotchka

Who does best in the story, the Royalists, the Communists or the lovers?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU9g8-a2xHo

After the Rain

Would you want to be this man or his wife? Why? What kind of person is he? Tell me, does his wife’s words explain what he is? Why or why not?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gqwXeHI85A

Father Brown, the Detective (1954)

Why isn’t Father Brown exclusively focused on stopping the theft? What are his motives in this movie? Please explain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdrN7wsJI8w

Last Holiday

How does the pursuit of money balance out against imminent death? Listen to the lead character. What does he say? Does his view point change over time?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJKWguqabUU

Young Mr. Lincoln

What is Lincoln after? Where does his ambition take him? Watch the film and from what Henry Fonda playing Lincoln says about himself and what he wants to do, describe his ethical motivations.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMcTKNDB2TM

The Mark of Zorro

Why doesn’t our hero remain in Spain? After all, there there he has money, status, popularity and access to a high level of culture and entertainment.

Watch the film and discover from what he says, what his motives are.

From around the web.

From the web site, Media Ethics in the Morning.

http://mediaethicsmorning.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/ethics-goes-to-the-movies-how-to-succeed-in-business-without-really-trying/

Despite being released over 40 years ago, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying provides a humorous, musical commentary on ever-present ethical issues that arise in the workplace such as corporate greed and dishonesty. J. Pierpont “Ponty” Finch works as a window washer in New York City when he comes across a book that teaches “the science of getting ahead in business.” As he works to climb the corporate ladder following the rules of the book, Finch finds himself in situations that require acting unethically just for the sake of a promotion. At one point he even goes so far as to dishevel his desk and appearance to look as though he had been working all through the night.

We put to question the integrity of the book right from the get-go when it claims that “education, intelligence and ability” help some go far in life, but “thousands have reached the top without any of those qualities.” Finch walks into the offices of the World Wide Wicket Company in pursuit of any possible job. Through some simple name-dropping, he lands a spot in the mailroom. Right away, Finch deceives his boss by being over-the-top complimentary. As soon as the opportunity arises (through pure luck and random mishaps, as the majority of his opportunities do), Finch throws some coworkers under the bus and goes behind their backs (one of whom is Bud Frump, the nephew of the company’s president, J.B. Biggley). As Finch is granted the promotion to head of the mailroom, his boss states, “your generosity and thoughtfulness may have proven a good thing for you,” to which he replies, “well… ethical behavior always pays, Sir.” As exemplified here, there are in fact many cases where some of the dialogue greatly contrasts the actions taken by Finch. Later in the film, a different boss reassures him that “if you work hard and keep your nose to the grindstone, there’s no telling how far you can go in this company.”

My Extra Credit Film Assignments for BLAW 1


foolMy Extra Credit Film Assignments for BLAW 1

Each of these assignments is worth 8 points. You are to first write a brief intro explaining the plot and including the best line from the film that you can find after the first ten minutes. You will use for the second paragraph the five sentence paragraph format found in the syllabus.

I want you to watch the entire film. I’m trying to teach you something of importance that will last your entire life.

Each link is to an online video of the film which is totally free. If you have a service like Netlfix or Hulu and you can get the film there that will be fine.

The question I want you to answer is listed beneath the film.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5XcNcXBSQo

My Man Godfrey

According to the film, what moral principles does Godfrey believe in? What does he say about what he wants to accomplish?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYKijBENJ78

Love Affair

Charles Boyar has two choices in the film. Which does he choose and why? You may add a paragraph explaining what you would have done under the same circumstances.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLwEUnW2BL0

His Girl Friday

The Editor (Cary Grant) often (continually) uses unethical actions to gain his ends. What is he trying to accomplish? Is he a good man?

http://viooz.co/movies/7322-persuasion-1995.html

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=persuasion&form=HDRSC3&first=1#view=detail&mid=5287835AA1093BF4C9265287835AA1093BF4C926

Persuasion

According to the film, does the heroine cravenly seek money and position? In a nation heavily influenced by neoliberalism, aren’t we supposed to use the free market to maximize our gains?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTXpC6NRHCg

Jane Eyre

What are the circumstances that make it possible for Jane to rise in social class? Do women have an advantage over men when it comes to social climbing? What does Jane want?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cf0-GsXDzI

Rebecca

Rebecca is given a place in high society. How does she adapt? Would you have made the same decisions?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmdPj_XbF30

Pygmalion

Watch the film and answer this question, would it have been better if Higgins had left her in the gutter?

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=bodyguards+and+assasins&view=detail&mid=BB73D9DDEB1B1904078FBB73D9DDEB1B1904078F&first=0&FORM=NVPFVR

Bodyguards and Assassins

This is the first of fifteen parts. It was difficult to find and I had no luck finding it in English in a full movie.

What is the difference in the motivations of the rickshaw driver as opposed to the rich merchant?

Watch the film – I’ve had partial analysis that demonstrated a lack of basic knowledge of what was in it. This is a major cinematic experience. Treat it with the reverence a great piece of film making deserves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY1U-a2lWH4

Cyborg She

Watch the film and answer the following question: How much does money as a goal count in our hero’s life? Is there anything more important to him?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNdh5A6MWK8

Japan Sinks

In the film, the Japanese react as a people (as a whole) to the upcoming disaster but are saved by an individual’s sacrifice. Is there a conflict between solidarity of the population and the importance of the individual? Also what if he had acted with the morals of a Wall Street Banker, shouldn’t he happily abandon his country and his friends while cashing in on the underwater salvage of Japanese treasures?

http://vimeo.com/39063669

Ninotchka

Who does best in the story, the Royalists, the Communists or the lovers?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU9g8-a2xHo

After the Rain

Would you want to be this man or his wife? Why? What kind of person is he? Tell me, does his wife’s words explain what he is? Why or why not?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gqwXeHI85A

Father Brown, the Detective (1954)

Why isn’t Father Brown exclusively focused on stopping the theft? What are his motives in this movie? Please explain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdrN7wsJI8w

Last Holiday

How does the pursuit of money balance out against imminent death? Listen to the lead character. What does he say? Does his view point change over time?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJKWguqabUU

Young Mr. Lincoln

What is Lincoln after? Where does his ambition take him? Watch the film and from what Henry Fonda playing Lincoln says about himself and what he wants to do, describe his ethical motivations.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMcTKNDB2TM

The Mark of Zorro

Why doesn’t our hero remain in Spain? After all, there are many women there and he has plenty of money.

Watch the film and discover from what he says, what his motives are.

 

Moral Intensity


Moral Intensity
Moral Intensity

How moral intensity and ethical decision making differs between uk business students and accounting professionals? | The WritePass Journal

Moral Intensity

Moral intensity relates to the issue itself and to every unique situation Shaub (1997).  Consequently Jones (1991, p372) described moral intensity as being “a construct that captures the extent of issue-related moral imperative in a situation”.  Ethical dilemmas tend to be evaluated within the context of the situation; hence an evaluation of the situation is imperative in understanding if a situation is ethical or not Dewe (1997).  The conception behind moral intensity has often been related to the criminal justice system; in that your punishment is proportionate to the severity of the offence you commit Davis et al (1988).  According to Jones (1991) moral intensity is a multidimensional construct and he identifies six characteristics that make up the moral intensity model.

How moral intensity and ethical decision making differs between uk business students and accounting professionals? | The WritePass Journal

At what point does moral or ethical problems trigger action? Or even concern or notice? The moral intensity with which a subject is perceived may be the key to determining the trigger.

Environmentalists could be said to have more moral intensity about over use of pesticides than farmers. Farmers probably find the issue of genetically enhanced seeds more of a serious issue than the general public, and so on …

In an ideal situation, the most critical issues of danger and damage to societal order would generate heightened levels of moral intensity so that reactions to moral violations would be quick and effective.

But moral intensity has also been a force for destruction – religious wars, persecution and torture have all flowed from situations where “moral” intensity was at its worst.

It’s a concept worth pondering and important in business ethics, since without that trigger provoking action, most business ethics problems would just continue unaddressed moving onward by simple inertia.

What I have excerpted above is one view of moral intensity. I am going to list some other blog perceptions of the issue below.

James Pilant

From around the web –

From the web site, The Harvard College Anscombe Society: (If it is possible to be more pretentious, I am unaware of it.)

Moral rhetoric is the culture war’s current weapon of choice, but the culture war’s real meat lies in the orthodoxies that compel the moral intensity at the front lines. We cannot adequately understand how the culture wars evoke such moralistic passion until we recognize the authority of these orthodoxies. Effectively, two camps wage the culture war: the secular orthodoxy, composed of those who identify with the medley of feminism, pluralism, liberationism, and multiculturalism, and the traditional orthodoxy, wed to Judeo-Christian values. As the incessant unrest over Roe v. Wade illustrates, the intrinsic disparities between these orthodoxies render them philosophically incompatible.

From the web site, Scientific.net: (This is an abstract for a paper.)

Weblogs, or blog, are rapidly becoming a mainstream technology in the information world. By June 2008, Technorati, an internet search engine, was indexing 112.8 million blogs and over 250 million pieces of tagged social media. Blogs allow millions of people to easily publish their ideas and millions more to read and evaluate and comment on them. When bloggers write things on their blog they became public. Although bloggers use blogs for many different functions and would likely provide many different definitions of blog (Stutzman, 2004), as we have seen, many bloggers perform journalistic functions. Therefore most moral code for bloggers is credibility in a journalistic sense (Blood, 2002; Dube, 2003), but they are nonprofessional without such code. Generally, blog audiences are built on trust, so bloggers should be honest and fair in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. For example, bloggers should disclose every benefit to any monetary (or other potentially conflicting) interests when appropriate. However, there has been almost no talk about this kind of ethics in the blog world. This study designed three ethical scenarios of blogger behavior against ethics code. Scenarios include blogger promoted her favorable food without disclosure conflict of interests, post other people’s entries without referencing material, and decoding other bloggers’ picture. The purpose of current research was to examine the perception of moral intensity and how the perception directly affected the specific processes of moral decision making of bloggers related to three scenarios.

From the web site, Lev Lafeyette:

Moral intensity is the degree that people see an issue as an ethical one. Influences on moral intensity include magnitude of consequences, social consequence, concentration of effect, temporal immediacy and proximity. The magnitude of consequences is the anticipated level of impact of the outcome of a given action. The social consensus is the extent that members of a society agee that an act is good or bad and the probability of effect is the rise and fall of moral intensity depending on how likely people think the consequences are. Temporal immediacy is a function of the interval between the time an action occurs and the onset of consequences. Proximity refers to the psychological or emotional closeness the decision-maker feels to those affected by the decision. Concentration of effect refers to the extent to which consequences are focused.

 

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Some Opinions on Preference Utilitarianism!


 

John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill

Some Opinions on Preference Utilitarianism!

A Basic Justification for Preference Utilitarianism | Life, philosophy, and a whole lot else

Preference utilitarianism bases itself on the idea used in classical utilitarianism, that the principle of utility is the most important basis of moral decision-making. This principle is about maximising pleasure/happiness or preventing pain/suffering, as Bentham says. Preference utilitarianism retains this but simply modifies it to be subjective, that people’s preferences should be maximised, not pleasure over pain. This is a simple way to be personal, allowing everyone their own say rather than simply assuming pleasure is always desirable (since it is not, e.g. eating a bar of chocolate when morbidly obese, as a simple example), or that pain is not (common in religious life, or secularly the opposite of before – exercising). So this is a simple upgrade of utilitarianism.

It could be argued that people are irrational, they do not always have the right preferences or are not in a position to have one. But we can surely not assume that people are alwyas irrational. If we were to do so, then the ethical system could simply not be applied since people would use it illogically or misinterpret it. For classical utilitarianism, we would be saying that pleasure is desirable but some people (since they are irrational) would not desire it. It is similar in economics – we have to assume people act rationally, even if in practice it is unlikely to always be the case.

A Basic Justification for Preference Utilitarianism | Life, philosophy, and a whole lot else

This is the first statement of preference utilitarianism I found with a web search. I thought I would look around the web and see what other web sites had on the issues. This is an important concept in business ethics. People choose their greatest happiness by making decisions based on their preferences. It’s very free market. Milton Friedman would find a lot in this to like.

James Pilant

From around the web –

From the web site, Mike Vernon: Philosophy and Life Blog:

However, it was on the last issue that the conference demonstrated real philosophical interest too. Singer admitted that his brand of utilitarianism – preference utilitarianism – struggles to get to grips with the vastness of the problem of climate change. Further, there is an element that comes naturally to Christian ethics which his ethics might need in order to do so. It has to do with whether there are moral imperatives that can be held as objectively true.

Climate change is a challenge to utilitarianism on at least two accounts. First, the problem of reducing the carbon output of humanity is tied to the problem of rising human populations. The more people there are, the greater becomes the difficulty of tackling climate change. This fact sits uneasily for a preference utilitarian, who would be inclined to argue that the existence of more and more sentient beings enjoying their lives – realising their preferences – is a good thing. As Singer puts it in the new edition of his book, Practical Ethics: “I have found myself unable to maintain with any confidence that the position I took in the previous edition – based solely on preference utilitarianism – offers a satisfactory answer to these quandaries.”

Second, preference utilitarianism also runs into problems because climate change requires that we consider the preferences not only of existing human beings, but of those yet to come. And we can have no confidence about that, when it comes to generations far into the future. Perhaps they won’t much care about Earth because the consumptive delights of life on other planets will be even greater. Perhaps they won’t much care because a virtual life, with its brilliant fantasies, will seem far more preferable than a real one. What this adds up to is that preference utilitarianism can provide good arguments not to worry about climate change, as well as arguments to do so.

From the web site, AlevelRE.com: (This is a teaching site with a great deal of useful and well-written content on Utilitarianism. I strongly recommend it. You should go to the site and read more of the content.)

Preference Utilitarianism
This form of Utilitarianism is most commonly associated with Australian philosopher, Peter Singer.
His modern take on the greatest happiness principle focuses on the impact an action will have on
the preferences of those directly affected. In achieving the greatest happiness, Singer argues that
we should act in a way that satisfies people´s preferences—in other words, what people prefer or
would most like to happen.
Like Utilitarians before him, Singer emphasises that peoples’ preferences count equally—my
preference for something is no more important simply because it is my preference. This requires an
impartial perspective is taken when considering the correct moral action. In identifying the right
thing to do, we must consider all those affected by an action and aim to act in accordance with
the majority´s preferences.
This is different from the hedonism of Jeremy Benthem since Singer is considering a more
sophisticated view of what maximises happiness. Where for Benthem, actions are considered in
terms of pleasure and pain, Singer recognises that different people have different preferences and
it is best to act in the best interests of those concerned. Take the story of the Blacksmith & the
Baker—Bentham would argue that the execution of the innocent baker maximises the happiness of
the community, despite his protestations. However, Singer would not allow this as the action goes
directly against the preferences of the person most affected, ie the Baker´s preference for
continued existence.

From the web site, Philosopher in a Phonebox:

I am slightly puzzled by Preference Utilitarianism. This post is an attempt to tease out that puzzlement as much as anything else.

Preference Utilitarianism is a form ofConsequentialism, a moral system in which the rightness of an action is judged based on its consequences. The original form ofutilitarianism put forward by Bentham argued that whatever increased pleasure and minimised pain was right. Preference Utilitarianism instead says that whatever satifies preferences is right.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophygives a few problematic preferences in criticism of Preference Utilitarianism but it seems to me some miss the mark. A preference to torture children would be counterbalanced by the children’s preference to not be tortured which is likely to be stronger. A preference to drink acid in mistake for a cool beer is not really a preference to drink acid but a preference for beer directed in error at the acid (being told the drink is acid will not remove the desire for beer, merely change the person’s belief that the drink is beer). Preferring to write very small may seem trivial – but to some, so might ivory carving, or discovering the Higgs Bosom.

From the pdf file: http://lawrencetorcello.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/peter-singer-encyclopedia-of-global-justice-penultimate-draft3.doc

Peter Singer (b. 1946)

The work of Peter Singer spans the entirety of major applied ethics topics. It is no coincidence that the development of Singer’s career runs parallel to the development and growing prominence of the aforementioned discipline. Singer’s work both helped to define the range of concerns in applied ethics, as well as to elevate the standard of intellectual rigor in the field. Singer has made major and lasting contributions on issues of bioethics, environmental ethics, and global poverty. Part of Singer’s effectiveness as a philosopher, as well as his influence outside of the academy, rests on the fact that his most powerful arguments require only that one accept a seemingly innocuous set of premises, most of which his readers are likely to hold implicitly (e.g. suffering and death from lack of proper nutrition and medical care is bad; if one can prevent something bad from happening without compromising something of similar moral significance, then one ought to do so). Following from these established premises, Singer then leads his readers through their logical and practical implications, to a conclusion he hopes will impact their behavior. All of Singer’s principal insights are consistently grounded in utilitarian considerations.

 

 

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Business Ethics and Religion


Business Ethics and Religion

Business Ethics and Religion After the Financial Collapse (Theology on Tap) – YouTube

Business Ethics and Religion After the Financial Collapse (Theology on Tap) – YouTube

Richard Shields, PhD, Faculty of Theology,

Religion , churches have a lot to say about the economy

Have churches engaged in a transformative dialogue with the business community?

There seems to be a disconnect between the accumulated wisdom of religion and the logic of business in the world.

Another disconnect between the ethical core of people and the workplace …

“I’m just making a living.” Bricklayers at a death camp

“you gotta figure out the cost benefit ratios” fines as opposed to violation costs

“It’s up to the regulators.”

Neutral or amoral world of work

Business ethics seen as being imposed on business from the outside

Ethical norms based on the intrinsic interest in business

Discussion of Catholic Social Doctrine

From around the web –

From the web site, QDVF:

To this point, our discussion has centered on the limitations of modernism on business ethics – namely, moral relativism and a materialistic focus regarding ethical behavior. We next examine how the Christian worldview addresses these issues followed by how it might influence ethics research. Christian ethics founded on Scripture gives moral standards or a common platform that allow us to judge between right and wrong.

In business situations, people must decide what they ought to do and what ethical principles to follow. They must know that these principles are right and that it is reliable. This is not to say that an absolute moral law must be strictly followed given that the boundaries of moral law and its varied applications will always be debated. But the very idea of right and wrong makes sense only if there is a final standard by which we can make moral judgments (Colson and Pearcey, 1999).

From the web site, Conversation in Faith Weblog:

What, if anything, does Christianity offer to the business  and the ethical decisions that people must make?

Honesty? Fairness?  Trustworthiness?   The Golden Rule?  Honoring God by the way we conduct ourselves?

Yes,certainly. But if that is all we have to offer, it’s not substantially different than other faiths.  Are Jews to be fair, trustworthy, and honest? Of course. Muslims? Of course.  This degree of similarity isn’t surprising considering the close geographical, historical and cultural proximity of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Christianity emerges from Judaism and Islam develops in a world shaped and influenced by Christianity and Judaism.

So again, what, if anything, constitutes a distinctly Christian business ethic? Perhaps we ought to ask, is there a uniquely Christian business ethic?

And from the web site, Catholic Analysis:

Amid the ongoing debate over issues of economics and ethics, Benedict XVI has addressed these issues on several occasions in recent months. On May 26 he spoke to a group of young people from Confindustria, the General Confederation of Italian Industry.

Every business, the Pope noted, should be considered first and foremost as a group of people, whose rights and dignity should be respected. Human life and its values, the Pontiff continued, should always be the guiding principle and end of the economy.

In this context, Benedict XVI acknowledged that for business, making a profit is a value that they can rightly put as an objective of their activity. At the same time the social teaching of the Church insists that businesses must also safeguard the dignity of the human person, and that even in moments of economic difficulties, business decisions must not be guided exclusively by considerations of profit.

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Teaching With Film – Business Ethics – Professional Ethics- People Will Talk with Cary Grant


People Will Talk  – YouTube This is a brief excerpt.

See if you can find all the ethical questions in the film!

People Will Talk = Click this link and you can buy it at Amazon.com for (currently) $11.97 new or $4.95 used.

 

Cary Grant and Business Ethics

People Will Talk is a great film for teaching. The story of an eccentric doctor played by Cary Grant who has an even more eccentric friend offers many ethical conundrums. Jeanne Crain is the love interest in the film. During the first half, she is troubled and a largely passive character. I was waiting for my intrepid students to call me out on this, since I am a vigorous supporter of powerful women characters but somehow they missed this. When she became a more vibrant and powerful character in the second half, I would’ve been justified but my prepared defense was unnecessary.

Should a doctor disclose all pertinent facts to a patient? Professional Ethics

Is concealing your qualifications immoral?Professional Ethics – Business Ethics

Is using any means including those outside the current science to heal moral or immoral? Professional Ethics – Business Ethics

Is the comfort of patients more important than the calls of procedure and timeliness on the part of the nursing staff?

What attitude should be taken toward unmarried mothers? Ethics

Is attempting to dig up the dirt on a colleague immoral? Professional Ethics – Business Ethics

Is living off of your relatives wrong all the time? or is it wrong depending on the circumstances?Ethics

At what point is a crime “paid for?” Ethics

MY PARTICULAR Points –

Can a kiss equal a marriage proposal? (A good proportion of my class says no. I differ.) A matter of curiosity

Is a story more effective as persuasion or a presentation of facts? (Bet you have that one figured out.) A matter of what I believe – the class tends to go along with me.

Does a movie (especially a good one) explain a moral problem more clearly than a lecture (although they get a brief one anyway!)?

I observe my classes carefully and I use some of the same films each year. But I experiment with new ones each year as well. This was a new one. It was a great success. The class was delighted with it and paid careful attention. Their assignment was to write down all the moral conundrums they observed. We are going to discuss them tomorrow.

James Alan Pilant

Cover of "People Will Talk"
People Will Talk- Business Ethics
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Does Teaching Business Ethics Matter? From the Ethics Sage


Are Ethics Courses Failing to Produce Ethical Business People? – Ethics Sage

The bottom line is there is no way of knowing whether business ethics education has made a difference. A graduate of a prestigious school might commit fraud in the future, but it doesn’t mean business ethics has failed them or even all students. Organizational pressures and the culture of a firm can create barriers to ethical behavior. The key is to find a way to work through the obstacles and voice your values.

I’m asked all the time why I teach ethics and am challenged whether it is even possible to change one’s ethics by a college course. After all, some argue, ethics is formed at a very early age. I don’t dispute that but do point out that my goal is to get students to reflect on their actions in a safe setting so they can better develop the tools to deal with ethical challenges in the workplace. I am not a guarantor of ethical action.

Teaching ethics should not rely on having one college course in business ethics and that is it. I see the failure of business ethics education to be one of not integrating ethics into each course and each decision in business. When colleges rely on one course to teach ethics, they are not sending the message that ethics counts.  If they cover it in all courses and in the context of functional courses, then they send a completely opposite signal that it is an important part of every business decision.

I can teach business ethics – I know it from past experiences including grading papers, exams, and student presentations and papers on the topics. What I don’t know is whether students will really learn the lesson. Similarly, I can teach Intermediate Accounting to my students but I don’t know if they have truly learned the material and will be successful on the CPA Exam or in their accounting careers.

There is old African proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child”. It is quite appropriate to say that it takes an organization to raise an ethical employee.

Are Ethics Courses Failing to Produce Ethical Business People? – Ethics Sage

(I should mention that a great deal of this posting dealt with the “Giving Voice to Values” curriculum and the work of Mary C. Gentile. I have visited the web site for this curriculum and liked what I saw.)

I guess you could ask if classes in art, history or music are effective? It’s hard to measure the results once you wander even a little distance from the hard sciences, and even they have trouble coming up with hard data at times. Many of the most important subjects like leadership are difficult to teach and have results hard to measure. Ethics is no different. We “cast our bread on the water” and hope for it to return.

James Pilant

“What, no measurable results!”

 

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