Henry Ford said “a business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business”. I would add business without ethics is a poor kind of business.
I’m taking the opportunity of the Panama Papers scandal to sit and reflect on the notions of Ethics and Morals. You’ll find below a good introduction of the basic concepts of Ethics. What is Ethics? What does it mean to do the right thing? Is it a universal concept?
Barbara Etter speaking at the AELC Innovation Club in the video (so good to hear the Aussie accent!), gives us a simple definition and defines Integrity as being ” what you do when nobody is looking”. Yes, acting ethically whether in your private life or in business is what you do and how you behave in line with your set of moral standards and values that you stand for whatever the circumstances, whether somebody is watching or not.
On paper, that looks good and we would all consider ourselves ethical. But read the little case below, and answer honestly what you would do faced with this ethical dilemma :
John is the captain of a submarine. An explosion has caused the sub to lose most of its oxygen supply and has injured a crewman who is bleeding badly and is going to die from his wound no matter what happens. The remaining oxygen is not sufficient for the entire crew to make it to the surface. The only way to save the other crew members is for John to shoot dead the injured crewman now. Then there will be just enough oxygen for the rest of the crew to survive. Is it morally acceptable for John to shoot the injured crewman?
There is no incontestably right answer here. Is taking one life morally right to save many ? The Utilitarian approach would justify this choice.
More cases on ethics :