Chapter 6   Leave a comment

Ethics… what an interestingly difficult subject to talk about.  At Queens, there is a very strong emphasis on the subject.  Before classes being as a Freshmen we sign the Honor Code, which binds all students to the strict moral agreements that the university believes is important.  That is pretty average, but the Core program also emphasizes ethics for nearly three years during our college education.  Despite this constant exposure to the simply named topic, there is a massive amount of disagreement.  Just as Seitel says in his chapter, there are many different factors that contribute to an individual’s personal code of ethics.  The culture that an individual grows up in, their economic status, exposure to education, family, friends, political ideals, and religion all help to form a certain code of ethics.  Not to mention, a persons unique experience helps to shape their code of moral behavior.  What I found most interesting was the complete separation of business ethics from personal ethics.  Seitel divides his chapter into multiple sections classified as personal ethics, corporate ethics, government ethics, journalism ethics, and then public relations ethics.  In each section he summarizes the same basic concepts within each general topic, but provides a different specific of how somebody failed to use ethics.  There must be at least six pages devoted to CEO’s governors, congressmen, and other executives who have been publicly disgraced through their lack of professional ethics.  Personally, I found the section concerned with corporate ethics the most intriguing.  As someone who plans on entering Corporate America, I think that it is important to know what is expected from those individuals.  It is amusing how somebody who was quick to judge the ethics of Rockefeller in chapter 2, and then in chapter 6 reports that philanthropic contributions are to be expected from big corporations.  What is really interesting is that before Rockefeller, there was no precedent of philanthropic donations from business executives.  While it might be a wonderful opportunity to lower taxes, Rockefeller was among the first CEO’s to help establish this charitable expectation.  Personally, I have a hard time in agreeing with the idea that corporations should donate their money to philanthropies and other charitable organizations.  Obviously I am not saying that people shouldn’t donate money to charity, but I think that it is wrong to demand people to donate, because they are donations.  I liked Seitel’s section about the corporate code of ethics.  On page 111 he states that corporations have adopted a more strict moral code, “to stem the tide of regulation”.  I think that this is definitely true.  America has always been in favor of business, but when executives and CEOs take advantage of the Capitalist system, the government is forced to interven and impose new regulations to help keep the playing field even, which ends up hurting businesses in the long run.  I certainly hope that enough businesses adopt new moral standards, so that government officials will stay out of business, and leave us free to pursue a higher individual wealth.

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Posted June 3, 2011 by Big Man in Reading Notes

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