Monday, April 28, 2008

Deontological Approach to Ethics

"There is not a moment without some duty." -- Cicero.

But what is duty? Is duty the voice of conscience? Is duty the expression of God's will?

Alice C. Linsley

The term "deontological" comes from the Greek word deon, meaning "duty." This approach to ethical decisions holds that some moral principles are binding, regardless of the consequences. This concept is difficult for many students as evidenced by their tendency to try to combine deontological and other approaches. As one student wrote, "My approach to ethical decision making is guided by a blend of Consequential, Deontological, Virtue and other decision making processes. "

This student didn't realize at first that some approaches are mutually exclusive. When students try to employ all the approaches, it suggests that they don't really know what their approach is.

The philosopher who refined deontological ethics was Immanuel Kant. According to Kant the nature of morality is to do one’s duty even when we are not inclined to do it, and not because we are afraid of the consequences of not doing it. Here you see that Deontological ethics is the opposite of consequential ethics. The moral person does her duty regardless of the consequences.

In Kant's view the person who does his duty to appear virtuous, is not moral. The person who does his duty to get it over and done with, is not moral. The person who does his duty to avoid negative consequences, is not moral. Only the person who does his duty because it is his duty, is moral. A parent who acts responsibly toward his child because it is his duty to act responsibly toward his child, is moral. Kant argues thus:

Everyone recognizes that they have duties and obligations.

Duty is therefore a universal human experience.

Duty is the basis of Moral Law.

As all human have duties, the Moral Law applies to all humans

If you take a deontological approach to ethics, you must define your duty in each situation and then perform your duty, regardless of the consequences. You define your duty by asking "What is the universal principle to be followed?"

People who use the Ten Commandments as their ethical standards take a deontological approach. The problem with this approach is that it assumes, contrary to the evidence, we are always able to do our duty. But too often we discover that even when we believe that doing our duty will make us happy, we fail to do it.

Related reading:  Collectivists versus True Liberals; Moral Obligation


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Recession Changing Buying Habits

The New York Times reports:

Home prices are sliding, wages are stagnant, job losses are growing and the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, a broad measure of stock performance, is down 6 percent in the last year. So consumers are going on a recession diet.

Burt Flickinger, a longtime retail consultant, said the last time he saw such significant changes in consumer buying patterns was the late 1970s, when runaway inflation prompted Americans to “switch from red meat to pork to poultry to pasta — then to peanut butter and jelly.”

“It hasn’t gotten to human food mixed with pet food yet,” he said, “but it is certainly headed in that direction.”

Retail sales figures and consumer surveys confirm that Americans are strategically cutting corners, whether it is at the coffee house or the airport. (In: brewing coffee at home and flying coach. Out: Starbucks and first class.)

In March, Americans spent less on women’s clothing (down 4.9 percent), furniture (3.1 percent), luxury goods (1.3 percent) and airline tickets (1.1 percent) compared with a year ago, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse, a service of the credit card company that measures spending on 300 million of its cards and estimates purchases with other cards, cash and checks.

Wal-Mart Stores reports stronger-than-usual sales of peanut butter and spaghetti, while restaurants like Domino’s Pizza and Ruby Tuesday have suffered a falloff in orders, suggesting that many Americans are sticking to low-cost home-cooked meals.

Read it all here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rising Food Prices Global Tsunami

The United Nations World Food Program announced Tuesday that increases in food prices could leave more than 100 million people hungry. The head of the program calls the international crisis a "silent tsunami." A summit Tuesday was aimed at addressing the issue, and in attendance were representatives of farmers' unions, aid agencies and supermarkets, along with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Read it all.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rate this Confession

I Lied to Get New Business

In an effort to obtain business from an existing client I claimed we were working with several clients (6) in the same industry. One of the clients I listed is not currently a client but one we have spoken with for two years now. Turns out the person I am selling to knows the CEO of the company I'm talking to. I realize I misrepresented the truth. I lied.

To rate this confession, go here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The ABA's Code Governing Assisted Reproduction

In February 2007 The American Bar Association approved a Code Governing Assisted Reproduction. The proposed Model Code Governing Assisted Reproduction was drafted by the American Bar Association Family Law Section Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology and Genetics, under the Charimanship of Charles P. Kindregan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law at Suffolk University. The draft of the Code was initially approved by the Council in May 2006. You may read the revised draft approved by the Section Council in February 2007 here.

An interesting discussion on embryo adoption can be read at the blog of Maurice Bernstein, MD here. You will find the comments worth reading also.

Friday, April 18, 2008

ACOG Abortion Conscience Policy to be Reviewed

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recently issued an ethics position recommending that physicians either perform or refer for abortions, and should locate their practices close to abortion doctors to facilitate referrals. The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) shortly thereafter issued a bulletin apparently linking that policy, along with all ACOG ethics statements, to board certification.

Here is the statement from the CMDA CEO, David Stevens, DA Chief Executive Officer:

"Right of conscience, enshrined in the first amendment, is the bedrock of professionalism. Hippocrates, for the sake of his conscience and his patients, battled the mores of his day when doctors were as likely to kill as cure. The covenant doctor-patient relationship he articulated afforded medicine the respect it needed to flourish.

Today, abortion ideologues lead the charge to limit, if not wipe out, what they euphemistically call the 'right of refusal.' Their strategy is to infiltrate professional organizations and define a new patient centric standard of care to marginalize and ultimately eliminate doctors of conscience. They began with ACOG, where they are firmly ensconced.

CMDA has led the fight to eradicate this abscess on the body of medicine. We immediately alerted members of Congress and government officials. We convened a strategy session of pro-life organizations to formulate responses. We wrote a letter of protest to ACOG which many national organizations and individuals signed and also marshaled our OB/GYN members to write letters to ACOG and ABOG.

ACOG responded that they would reconsider the issue at their March Ethics Committee meeting.

We 'redoubled' our efforts leading up that date. Members of Congress, led by obstetrician Congressman Phil Gingrey, sent a letter to ACOG and ABOG challenging their statement and demanding its retraction. The Secretary of Health and Human Services wrote a letter warning both groups that their action likely would break federal laws banning discrimination against healthcare professionals who refuse to refer for or perform abortions.

The issue then hit the airwaves in a National Public Radio (NPR) piece. An ABOG spokesperson stated that a willingness to do abortions was not required for recertification but failed to address the requirement to refer. No public announcement has been made by ACOG after their ethics committee met, but one is expected by the end of the month. We continue to monitor the situation.

This issue ultimately will affect every one of our graduate and student members. We dare not ignore this infection or it will destroy us and the profession we love. On the public policy front, Right of Conscience will remain a top priority for CMDA."

For more, go here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sioux Youth: 10 Times National Crime Rate

South Dakota's reservations have seen an explosion of juvenile and drug-related crime in recent years, the result of a system where offenders see no officers to arrest them, no means to get them to court and no place to put them if convicted. Efforts to deal with the problem are stymied by a lack of money, complicated jurisdiction laws and sovereignty issues.

Everybody, it seems, has a story about crime. Josephine Thunder Shield said her former husband, who was staying with her and her six children, was stabbed in the face last October with a screwdriver by an intruder. The man never has been prosecuted, she said. "I can't even sleep ... knowing this man is still out there walking around."

Moser's Market in McLaughlin has been burglarized 16 times in less than three years. "Everybody wants us to keep our prices lower. How can we?" Shirley Moser said. "The cost of a window every time is $200."

Lois Buechler came home from work in mid-afternoon March 4 to find a man in her hallway. "I yelled at him, 'What the hell?' He came running out the back door," she said."

There's tremendous vandalism," said Merle Lofgren, who has published the Corson/Sioux County News-Messenger here since 1969. "There are hundreds of windows broken in McLaughlin. You can't leave a car set along the highway without somebody coming up and breaking a window out of it." Last year, four businesses and a church were broken into in one night, he said.

"Indian people are as much victims as white people," Lofgren said. "Elderly Indian women are afraid to go out of their houses at night and afraid to stay in their houses. They lock their doors. There's an atmosphere of fear. People are afraid."

From here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Episcopal Bishop Sues, Again.

The Episcopal Diocese of Central New York filed a lawsuit today against Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, New York seeking the seizure of the church building, the parish hall, and the rectory. This is the third church which Episcopal Bishop Gladstone Adams of Syracuse has moved to seize since 2006, and the second church he has actually sued.

The priest at Good Shepherd is Fr. Matt Kennedy who is a commentator on the internationally known Stand Firm website. The Church of the Good Shepherd was a small struggling congregation when Bishop Adams took over the diocese as its new bishop. One of the first priests he ordained was Fr. Kennedy, who then went to Good Shepherd and raised it to be a vibrant congregation doubling its Sunday morning attendance. Since taking the church in Binghamton, Fr. Kennedy has acquired a reputation as one of the most widely read and respected commentators of church news in the Anglican Communion. Today, however, that same bishop who ordained him has sued his church, and refuses to even to acknowledge that Fr. Kennedy is a priest, referring to him as "Mr. Kennedy" in correspondence. In a cover letter to the summons, the lawyer for Bishop Adams likewise followed suit, and addressed the priest as "Matt Kennedy" and "Mr. Kennedy."

The lawsuit was filed in the Broome County clerk’s office today. The legal papers ask the court to declare that the Episcopal diocese, which is headquartered in Syracuse, owns all of the property of the Binghamton church based on a so-called Dennis Canon trust theory. In 1979 the Episcopal Church, in an effort to stop congregations from leaving the denomination, enacted a church law which claims a "trust" on any congregation which seeks to leave the denomination. This trust claim is the basis of the lawsuit against the local Binghamton congregation.

One of the other churches which surrendered its property to the bishop rather than face a lawsuit was St. Andrew's Church in nearby Vestal, New York. That church building was taken over by the Episcopal diocese shortly before Christmas of 2007 and is now vacant and for sale, while the congregation is worshipping elsewhere and thriving.

The diocese sued Good Shepherd because the Binghamton church opposes the bishop's stand on homosexual bishops, same-sex ceremonies, and the authority of Scripture. This scenario has been repeated around the USA since the consecration of the divorced gay priest Gene Robinson in New Hampshire in November 2004. The crisis has engulfed the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Good Shepherd adheres to the traditional teaching that sex outside of marriage is prohibited by the Bible, while the Bishop and his staff, and the leaders of the Episcopal Church are outspoken gay activists. The crisis reached a climax recently when Good Shepherd switched its affiliation to an American bishop under the Anglican jurisdiction of Kenya. The Episcopal Diocese then broke off negotiations for a peaceable resolution of the dispute and filed this lawsuit.

Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia Responds to Muslim Scholars

The following is an excerpt from Patriarch Alexy's statement responding to the open letter of 138 Muslim theologians. You may read the entire letter here.

The doctrinal dialogue between the Orthodox Church and Islam has considerably intensified recently. This happened not only because we have to communicate more intensively and to build societal life together, but also because Christians and Muslims have come to face the same challenges which are impossible to meet on one's own. We have together encountered a pressure from the anti-religious worldview that claims universality and seeks to subject all the spheres of life in society. We are also witnesses to attempts to assert a 'new morality' that contradicts the moral norms supported by traditional religions. We should be together to face these challenges.

Some people among both Christians and Muslims have expressed fears that the development of interreligious dialogue may lead to religious syncretism, a review of the doctrines and obliterated borders between religious traditions. Time has shown however that a reasonable system of cooperation between religions helps to preserve and emphasize the unique nature and identity of each of them. Moreover, the development of appropriate forms of interreligious dialogue in itself has proved to be a serious obstacle for manipulations aimed to establish a kind of universal super-religion.

Unfortunately, I have to state that our religions do have enemies who would like to see Christians and Muslims clash, on the one hand, or to bring them to a false 'unity' based on religious and moral indifference, thus giving priority to purely secular concerns, on the other. Therefore we as religious leaders need each other, so that our faithful may preserve their identity in the changing world.

Noteworthy in this connection is the experience of co-existence between Christianity and Islam in Russia. The traditional religions in our country have never come into conflict while preserving their identity for a thousand years. Russia is one of those rare multi-religious and multinational states whose history has not known the religious wars that have plagued various regions of the world.

The basic religious and ethical principles held by the traditional faiths in Russia invariably guided their followers toward cooperation with people of other religions and beliefs in the spirit of peace and harmony. Various religious communities lived side-by-side, working together and defending together their common Motherland. Nevertheless, they stood firm in the faith of their own forefathers, safeguarding it against encroachments from outside and often doing so together in face of invaders from other countries. To this day, our compatriots have not come into any real conflict between them based on religious grounds. In this way, an affective system of interreligious relations based on mutual respect and good-neighborliness was established in Russia.

In today's Russia, there is an important mechanism for interreligious dialogue, namely, the Interreligious Council in Russia, which has been working fruitfully and successfully for over ten years now. Its example and experience have proved to be attractive for the independent states, which have been formed in the post-Soviet space. Religious leaders in these countries have formed a CIS Inter-religious Council. Through these two bodies, together we seek to meet the various challenges of today and to show to the whole world a positive experience of peaceful coexistence and cooperation between Orthodox Christians and Muslims who have lived in the same society for centuries. As is known, in other Christian countries, too, Muslims have had opportunities for developing their religious life freely.

In many Muslim countries, Christians have enjoyed invariable support and have the freedom to live according to their own religious rules. But in some Islamic countries, the legislation prohibits the construction of churches, worship services and free Christian preaching. I hope that the letter of Islamic religious leaders and scholars proposing to intensify dialogue between our two religions will contribute to establishing better conditions for Christian minorities in such countries.

Doctrinally our dialogue could deal with such important themes as the teaching on God, man and the world. At the same time, on the practical plane the Christian-Muslim cooperation could be aimed at safeguarding the role of religion in public life, struggling with the defamation of religion, overcoming intolerance and xenophobia, protecting holy places, preserving places of worship and promoting joint peace initiatives.

It is my conviction that it is precisely the Christians and the Muslims that should initiate inter-religious dialogue on regional and global levels. Therefore, in the framework of international organizations, it seems useful to create mechanisms that make it possible to be more sensitive to the spiritual and cultural traditions of various peoples.

Once again I would like to thank all the Muslim scholars and religious leaders for their open letter. I hope for further fruitful cooperation both in theological dialogue and social sphere.

Monday, April 14, 2008

George and Tollefsen: Embryos are Living Human Species

The heated debate over research using material taken from human embryos continues, now with Philosophers insisting that this ethical concern isn't for scientists alone. Advocates of embryo use argue that at such early stages, the cells cannot be considered a human person. However, Robert George and Christopher Tollefsen argue to the contrary in their recently published book: "Embryo: A Defense of Human Life" (Doubleday). George and Tollefsen present scientific and philosophical principles to establish the human status of the embryo. They maintain that the status of human being commences at the moment of conception.

They write that our argument "was that nothing acts on the embryo in such a way as to 'produce a new character or new direction of growth.' This is a straightforward fact fully established by embryological science. Nothing in the developmental process (certainly no action of the mother) transforms the developing organism from one kind of entity (say a nonorganismic entity or a nonhuman organism) into another kind of entity (a human). Human development is the development of an entity that comes into existence as, and remains until death, a complete, self-integrating, determinate human organism—a human being." From here.

Their book begins with the story of Noah. He was rescued, along with other frozen embryos, from the Katrina disaster in 2005. It was a human life that was saved, George and Tollefsen point out, the same life that was later implanted in a womb and was born in January 2007.

George and Tollefsen hold that a human embryo is a living member of the human species from the earliest stage of development. Unless there is natural or human intervention, a human being in the embryonic stage will proceed to the fetal stage and progress to maturity. The embryo is not another type of animal organism, nor can it be dismissively regarded as a cluster of cells, but marks the material onset of a human life.

George and Tollefsen maintain that the process of becoming a mature human being can only be said to begin at conception.

Read more here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bloggers Face Lawsuit

These Canadian bloggers are being sued, in an attempt to silence them:

  • Ezra
  • (Canada’s equivalent to
  • Kate McMillan of
  • Jonathan Kay of the National Post daily newspaper and its in-house blog
  • Kathy Shaidle of

They are being sued by Ottowa attorney Richard Warman who used to work for the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Warman has filed more than 20 complaints against dissident views on the Internet under Section 13.1 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. A large percentage of the cases litigated through the Commission were brought by Richard Warman, who works at shutting down websites he doesn’t like. His compensation is thousands of dollars from web site owners who either can’t afford to defend themselves or don’t realize that they can.

British Columbia passed a special law to stop Richard Warman from suing libraries because they carried books of which he didn't approve. Warman apparently also seeks to ban conservative international websites from being seen by Canadians.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Family Law Professor Encourages Marriage

Brooklyn Law School Professor, Marsha Garrison, has posted The Decline of Formal Marriage: Inevitable or Reversible? (Family Law Quarterly, Vol. 41, No. 3, 2007) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

All over the industrialized world, marriage is in decline. Cohabitation, which has waxed as marriage has waned, is a much less stable and more varied relational form than marriage. Because of its relative instability and variability, cohabitation presents public-policy and fact-finding challenges that formal marriage does not. Formal marriage is also associated with a range of health, wealth and happiness benefits to adult partners and their children. Because formal marriage and childbearing within such unions offer public advantages that informal unions do not, public policies designed to encourage individuals to delay childbearing until marriage are desirable. So are policies that encourage couples who have marital understandings to formalize their unions through ceremonial marriage. In order to effectively design such policies, however, we need to understand why formal marriage is in decline.

This paper critically examines current economic and cultural explanations for these phenomena and analyzes the public policy implications of these explanations. It concludes that well-designed policies that promote the socioeconomic conditions in which successful marriage flourishes, reduce economic disincentives to marry, and offer clear dividing lines between formal marriage and cohabitation are all supported by the evidence. These policies do not have the capacity to bring back the world in which marriage and marital child-bearing were almost universal, but they may have the capacity to make a difference at the margins. They do not appear to hold any potential for causing harm and they may also promote other improvements in family relationships and functioning.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ethics Violations Among Non-Profits

Survey: Many Non-Profits Fall Short on Ethics
By Aliah D. Wright

If you’re a nonprofit, the last thing you want is even a whiff of scandal.

However, fraud is as prevalent in nonprofit organizations—those often seen as having altruistic goals—as it is in business or government, and misconduct in these organizations is at the highest level on record, says an Ethics Resource Center (ERC) survey.

The ERC, an 85-year-old Arlington, Va.-based group devoted to research and the advancement of high ethical standards, used the Opinion Research Corp. to poll 3,452 employees and received telephone responses from 558 employees in the nonprofit sector between June 24 and Aug. 15, 2007.

Fraud, in the Ethics Resource Center’s National Nonprofit Ethics Survey, consisted of lying; the alteration of documents, including financial records; and the misreporting of hours. Additionally, the survey found, six types of misconduct posed high risk to the nonprofit sector: discrimination, sexual harassment, misuse of confidential information, lying to stakeholders, improper hiring and safety violations.

The ERC surveyed employees in business and government during the same period as well. In the business sector, 56 percent of employees surveyed said they observed misconduct, as opposed to 57 percent in the government sector and 55 percent in the nonprofit sector.

“Nonprofits are different from a lot of organizations because they are mission driven,” says ERC President Patricia Harned. “They exist to address a social need. But, that said, nonprofits also face a tremendous amount of pressure on a regular basis,” and “very often where there is pressure there are also pressures to compromise the standards to do the job.”

The survey shows that rate of observed misconduct in nonprofit organizations is at the highest level since the ERC began measuring it in 2000, when it was reported by 46 percent of respondents. In 2007, more than half (55 percent) of nonprofit employees observed one or more acts of misconduct.

Funding, Public Trust at Issue

The ramifications are enormous, experts say. Without the veneer of high morals, nonprofits, especially charities, could see the erosion of funding and lack of public trust.

“More than ever, and with good reason, people are concerned about the use of their contributions,” said Tom Tuohy, president and founder of Dreams for Kids, a children’s charity based in Illinois. “If someone is making a contribution to a cause, which touches their heart, they want to know that the intent of their gift is being fulfilled.”

“It isn’t that businesses [or nonprofits] are bad,” says Al Gini, professor of business ethics and chairman of the Management Department in the Graduate School of Business at Loyola University Chicago. “It’s that human beings are weak. They are frail, and they are apt to make mistakes and commit errors.”

Additionally, the survey found, employees in small and mid-sized organizations were more likely to report ethical misconduct than those in larger organizations (those with 100,000 employees or more).

However, the report states, many nonprofit employees, rather than report the abuse to their supervisors directly, opted to use hotlines. About 47 percent chose to reveal the abuses in this way, while on the other end of the scale only 11 percent chose to tell their supervisors directly. However, the report found, 66 percent of employees opted to stay silent about ethics violations out of fear or futility. At least 33 percent said they didn’t feel their report would remain anonymous.

That didn’t surprise Gini. He says “there’s a stigma attached” to whistle blowing. “Here’s the HR question: You know that Joanie turned in Mary, but who is going to talk to Joanie again?

“We talk about the blue wall with cops … well I think that’s true in every profession,” he continued. “People are very reluctant to turn in a colleague.”

But the news isn’t all bad for nonprofits. Harned said nonprofits should put ethics and compliance programs in place, focus on building strong ethical cultures in their organizations, and not assume that ethics violations aren’t going to happen in their organization.

“It’s both having a program and having a culture,” she said. “You can have the best of all programs in the world, but if nobody pays attention to the program, you’re still going to have misconduct taking place.”

While Gini agreed that leadership “sets the tone,” he added that “codes of ethics are never enough—they have to be implemented, reinforced and maintained by leadership. I think what we’re talking about is not disaster control,” he said, “but setting up clear parameters of hoped-for behavior.”

Monday, April 7, 2008

Soaring Global Food Prices

The rising cost of food is affecting millions of families who struggle to stretch their meagre earnings. Among the poorest worldwide the bottom has already fallen out. What can be done? Who will address this ethical concern?

The Christian Science Monitor reports on the shock of rising food prices around the world.

Americans may fret that Wheat Thins cost 15 percent more than a year ago but in poor nations, such price hikes aren't taken lightly. In Ivory Coast last week, women rioted against higher food costs, leaving one person dead.

In Haiti, four people were killed in protests last week over a 50 percent rise in the cost of food staples in the past year. From Egypt to Vietnam, price rises of 40 percent or more for rice, wheat, and corn are stirring unrest and forcing governments to take drastic steps, such as blocking grain exports and arresting farmers who hoard surpluses.

The UN International Fund for Agriculture predicts food riots will become common on the world scene for at least a year. The World Bank says 33 countries face unrest from higher prices in both food and energy.

Even in grain-rich America, wholesale food prices are rising at a rate not seen in 27 years. The most acute "ag-flation," however, is in Asia and Africa, where food costs take up a higher proportion of family income. And the face of hunger is now seen more in cities as a historic shift takes place with more than half of the world's population soon to be living in or near urban areas.

Read it all.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Lords Debate Ethics of Dying

The British Parliament continues to debate the ethics of dying. The debate is highly charged. There are fears that permitting euthanasia would extend to new-born children, senile elderly persons or any persons deemed "surplus" by a governmental department set up to decide which people could be killed legally. But what would the guidelines or principles be in making such decisions? And who would decide on those principles?

The London Times reports, Lord Joffe's “assisted dying” Bill, rejected by the Lords last year, was, at one level, about “voluntary euthanasia”. The normal word for that is, of course, suicide. But his Bill was about those too ill to achieve that unaided - it was proposing not just “voluntary dying” but “lawful killing” by people enlisted by the patient. You can't reduce this, as Mr Aaronovitch implied, to “people having a right to end their own lives”. The question is, do other people have the right to help them do so? Those who support this Bill reckoned they do.

Read it all.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Wal-Mart Criticises Failure of Business Leaders

The chief executive of Wal-Mart has criticised US business for not taking a lead in the debate on the future of US healthcare ahead of the presidential elections in November. Lee Scott said in a Financial Times interview that he was “not particularly encouraged” by the public debate on the issues. “I think business has been absent in this debate on healthcare. I’m not sure why,” he said. “I think government is going to be engaged after this election regardless of who wins, and I think business should be more involved in the discussion. I think it has long-term ramifications for our global competitiveness.”

Mr Scott said Wal-Mart, which has more than 1.3m US employees, had not taken “a firm stand” on what a national healthcare system might look like.

Read it all.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Welcome to Ethics Forum!

Ethics Forum is for college students who are studying Ethics and the History of Ethics. Here students will find essays, thoughtful articles and news reports to stimulate critical thinking.

Commenting at this blog is easy and contributes to the on-going discussion. Your comments, and peoples' responses to your comments, will help you to articulate your ideas more clearly. This may be especially helpful as you prepare to write papers for your Ethics and Philosophy professors.

The Editor is Alice C. Linsley. She teaches Ethics, Organizational Management, and Philosophy. She will assist you in finding answers to questions or in locating information needed to fulfill a course requirement. She may be reached at: aproeditor at gmail dot com.

To post a comment you will need to set up a Google account. This is free and enables you to post comments at a huge number of interesting blogs. Your comments should follow these guidelines:

  • Stay on topic.
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  • Respond to comments that are directed to you by name.
  • Contribute to the learning process by adding something that makes us think!

The relatively recent renewed interest in Ethics in the workplace comes after numerous ethical and moral failures by CEOs and managers of prominent American Businesses. We think of the Enron debacle, insider trading, huge CEO compensation packages, kickbacks, junk bonds, and employees stealing from their employers. These are only a few of the ethical problems faced in the world of business. There are also serious ethical issues to address in the areas of biological research, medicine and the Law.

The lines between right action and wrong action seem to be blurred for many people. Why is this? Do people lack character? Do they lack models of ethical integrity? Do some people have multiple selves so that they treat people in one area of their life differently than they treat people in another area? Or is it that many people simply don't think before acting? These are some of the questions that we will address in future entries at Ethics Forum. Check back often, and leave a comment!

And remember, establishing ethical guidelines begins with YOU.