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Old 08-30-2019, 10:32 AM
Shodan is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Milky Way Galaxy
Posts: 39,981
Originally Posted by Pantastic
1.That's not the case in this thread. In this case, what I'm saying is "I am using this set of ethics to guide my actions towards you' with the justification of 'this is the set of ethics that you use to guide your actions towards me' if there's an objection.

2. I disagree. You have an ethical duty to maximize stakeholder return, and therefore keeping your options open for a better job is actually an ethical obligation, and accepting an implicit one-sided agreement would actually be unethical as it would not maximize stakeholder return.
ISTM, then, that if a given action is governed by a set of ethics - for instance, maximizing returns for stake holders - then it is just as ethical for an employee to take a job but quit as soon as he got a better offer as it is to hire an employee, and fire him as soon as they find a better employee. It's a different set of stake holders, but the principle is the same because the ethical system is the same.

If either side is supposed to consider the interest of the other side's stake holders, then both firing an employee because they found someone better, and quitting a job because they found one that was better, are equally unethical.

"Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander" and "do unto others as you would have others do unto you" are not the same principle, but if you make either the basis for your ethics, either should apply consistently.


Last edited by Shodan; 08-30-2019 at 10:33 AM.
Old 08-30-2019, 10:38 AM
Max S. is offline
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 1,523
Originally Posted by Pantastic View Post
accepting an implicit one-sided agreement would actually be unethical as it would not maximize stakeholder return.
Not necessarily. That one-sided agreement might be, and often is, the best possible choice.

Old 08-30-2019, 10:58 AM
HMS Irruncible is offline
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 8,504
Originally Posted by Pantastic View Post
So the question is: why should I (or the individual in question) not consider my personal fortune as a business and me and/or my family as the stakeholders in that business, then apply standard business ethics to all of my business dealings? Companies apply business ethics from their side when dealing with me, so I don't see why there would be a problem with me behaving in an ethical fashion with regards to them. This makes the answers to a lot of the questions raised much simpler, and puts both sides on an even footing. People tend to act as though this isn't reasonable, but I've never heard a good explanation for why.
Ethics doesn't mean putting someone else's interests ahead of yours. It means doing what you said you were going to do. Society is better off when people honor business transactions without preying on one another. If we don't do that, then we can't have useful social innovations like credit, banking, insurance, not without enormous costs.

To give an example, when you strategically default on a debt, you're exploiting good faith built up by others and turning it to your own advantage. It harms everyone.
It's wrong when a person does that, and it's wrong for a company to do that.

Some people will argue that banks are huge institutions that have tons of money and issue unfair terms. I am sympathetic to this point of view, but when you enter into an agreement with them, you agree to these terms. The bank can't break those terms and you shouldn't either. If we don't like how banks work, we should change the law. (I support this wholeheartedly).
Old 09-05-2019, 03:26 PM
msmith537 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 27,643
Originally Posted by HMS Irruncible View Post
Ethics doesn't mean putting someone else's interests ahead of yours. It means doing what you said you were going to do.
Well...also presuming what you said you were going to do has a net benefit to humanity or is not inherently unethical. I mean Hitler did a pretty good job of doing what he said he would do.

IMHO, business ethics falls under several categories:

The business is providing a service that is legitimate and legal. That is to say, the business is not a scam, front or "racket". Bernie Madoff is an example of a business that failed this sort of ethical test. So was Theranos. These companies never provided a legitimate product.

The firm is conducting business in a manner that not intentionally corrupt, misleading, harmful or predatory. This can get a little fuzzy as companies can have an advantage due to technology, economies of scale or superior business models that allows them to outcompete other firms without being inherently "unethical".

The company has an ethical culture. Plenty of legitimate businesses have toxic or abusive cultures, which can then cast a shadow on their entire business. It's hard to find a company where this category doesn't go hand in hand with the other two.


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