Business and its moral dimension
As already noted, the very occupation of business is far from ambiguous in terms of morality. Here we can quote the well-known statement of the English thinker of the mid-19th century. T. J. Dunning, quoted by K. Marx in the first volume of "Capital": "... Capital is afraid of a lack of profit or too little profit, as nature is afraid of emptiness. But once there is sufficient profit, the capital becomes bold. Provide 10 percent, and the capital agrees to any application, at 20 percent it becomes brisk, at 50 percent is positively ready to break his head, at 100 percent he tramples all human laws, with 300 percent of this crime, which he would not risk, at least under pain of a gallows ...
However, business activity is necessary for the successful development of economic relations, ensuring production, distribution, exchange and consumption, as well as the material well-being of the entire state.
In recent years, business has developed three points of view on the need for its moral and moral regulation.
One of these positions recognizes, with certain reservations, the need for moral and moral influence on business: "From business, it is only required to do what is required by morality and not to do what is forbidden by these requirements." JJ Fritzsche wrote: "Ethics is a necessary condition for success in business." Ethical behavior is necessary when carrying out entrepreneurial activities; Unethical behavior, on the contrary, leads to a slowdown in economic efficiency. Morality in the context of business ethics is honesty, reasonable and expedient rules and norms, i.e. those principles that ultimately contribute to economic feasibility.
In his theory of justice, John Rawls argued that "justice is the first virtue of public institutions, as the truth is a system of thinking." The most elegant and economical theory should be rejected if it is not true; in the same way even the most effective laws and institutions should be rejected, if they are unfair. " According to Rawls, who represents the individual as a free and equal being, society - a cooperative enterprise created for mutual benefit, and rationality as a maximization of interest, the person's judgments about justice must be in balance with his own principles of justice. Some sound judgments about justice may not be consistent with the principles. In this case, theoretical efforts should be directed toward revising judgments or revising principles.
The individuals of Rawls deduce the principles of justice, being under the "curtain of ignorance". They do not know how different alternatives can affect their particular case, and they are forced to evaluate principles solely on the basis of general considerations. According to Rawls, no one knows his place in society, his class position or social status, nor does anyone know his own concept of the good, the particulars of his rational life plan, the peculiarities of his psychological structure, such as a risk appetite or a disposition to optimism or pessimism , but "it is assumed that they have general information about human society. They understand the political problems and principles of economic theory; they know the basics of social organization and the laws of human psychology ... The contracting individuals must be impartial, and therefore deprived of the knowledge that is the cause of bias. We must imagine that the contracting individuals are amazed with a kind of amnesia. The curtain of ignorance does not enable them to obtain information about their own particular characteristics. "
Another position completely denies any ethical norms and principles in business. Thus, J. Schumpeter in the book "History of Economic Analysis" demonstrates the position of the author as a professional economist who denies the influence of ethical ideas on economic thinking.Financial broker Jordan Belfort, one of the most successful and wealthy people of his generation, whose memoirs, directed by M. Scorsese filmed the movie "The Wolf from Wall Street," believes that in big business should be guided by "the great American dream" , the desire for success at any cost and by any means, regardless of any moral standards and even rules of decency.
In his opinion, in the world of "white-collar workers" victims of fraud related to the manipulation of the securities market and the trading of cheap shares on the phone, remain faceless; no real villains, no threat of death or physical harm exists, and, consequently, there are no moral guidelines for good and evil.Thanks to charisma, talent and business acumen, through deception, cheating and money laundering, Belfort gathered around him a real flock of telephone terrorists, eager to clear their wallets and bank accounts before they have any suspicions. Weight it allowed him to quickly become a billionaire and occupy a high position in the American business elite.
However, big money alone is not a guarantee of happiness. It's not enough to have the talent to earn money, you also need to be able to spend it intelligently, but fame and money have turned the head to the protagonist, and countless girls, drugs and orgies have come to replace the sweet evenings over a cup of tea in a cozy home with a loving and devoted wife. Only at first it seems that you were able to conquer the whole world, and you start to consume all sorts of rubbish for yourself, for buzz, but then it turns out that you are not the power of the world, but just a miserable worthless worm. "
Belfort reached the peaks (or, more accurately, depths) of debauchery, practically embodied the lowest and animal manifestations of man, greed, irresponsibility, lawlessness. The natural result was a two-year prison sentence, which led to the loss of his investors about $ 200 million. Belfort was sentenced and paid $ 1.10 million, fraudulently received.
The third position with respect to the moral dimension of business asserts the need for a radical review of the ethics of business, proposing to change the moral guidelines themselves, to build on the foundation of amoralism the "new ethics of business." So, the American billionaire, real estate dealer, owner of the largest construction company and casino network Donald Trump, calling himself the "moral compass for 20-year-olds," proves that business is the art of making money and net profit.
I often have to be surprised that some people understand the business differently. They come with high ideas and philanthropic intentions, which are not the place at a business meeting. This is a waste of time for all its participants. I realized long ago that business is completely impersonal, even in relations with people. I know a banker who worked so impassively that he seemed like a machine. Hear no from the car very hard. Negotiating is pointless. I remember that I wrote that it is more pleasant to deal with a murdered workman than with an insensitive bureaucrat, whose every desire is to go home at five o'clock in the evening.
I'm ridiculously surprised by my sudden popularity, which arose after I began to fire people on a weekly television broadcast on a weekly basis. I was fond of it. I [I thought so. And the fact is that after a well-known name, the audience finally saw an ordinary person. They realized that I can be tough, but I try to remain impartial.
I do not like being bad, but sometimes it's necessary for self-defense. But if I am treated in a certain way, I have the right to do the same. Someone calls it "an eye for an eye," but I consider it an honest game. Sometimes the only way to fight a rascal is to hit in the back.
Learn to be thick-skinned and do not forget that you always need to be optimistic. Be tough, be energetic, be humane and do not take everything at your own expense. Here's a good business. "
One of the most important factors of doing business in a market economy is competition. Through the mechanism of competition, market and production laws are implemented, in which economic growth, growth in supply, product range, and price reduction are laid. The blocking of this mechanism leads to the opposite results: cartel agreements, monopolization, deformation of the supply-demand relationship, rising prices, and slowing economic growth. The consumer benefits most from the development of competition, and this is its ethical value. Competition is more just than the state distribution, many scientists believe. It is the result of rational regulation of economic life by society. Ethics and competition do not contradict each other, if the latter is conducted fairly, therefore, such public regulation as competition, in contrast to the socialist idea of redistribution, is productive, not damaging, to stimulate the economy.
It should be remembered that competition must also have moral limitations. In the story of the American writer O. Henry "The roads that we choose" Two bandits to Bob Tidbol and Dodson "Shark" after robbing the mail express can manage to escape with a booty of 30 thousand dollars. But when the bandits left the chase, Boba's horse broke his leg and he had to shoot her. Tidbol offers to load the prey on a horse named Bolivar, owned by the Shark, and ride on it together, until they turn up some other horse. Dodson, in spite of his friend's reminders that he repeatedly saved his life, says: "You will not believe how sorry I am that your bay broke yoga ... It's very unpleasant for me to say this, but there is only one place for one. The Bolivar is exhausted, and two can not be demolished kills a friend, taking his share.
Many years later, Dodson's brokerage office is visited by his longtime companion William, who has repeatedly rescued him from financial crises, and asks for a reprieve or reduce the price of shares, otherwise he will be completely ruined. Dodson refuses a friend and pronounces the phrase: "Bolivar can not demolish two."
Competition is approved by law, which serves as a condition for voluntary recognition of established rules by entrepreneurs. Exceptions destroy competition. It is easily destroyed by privileges, subsidies, protectionism and other measures aimed at supporting certain economic groups, but often violate the conditions for their development. This does not mean, however, that competition is universal. In a number of cases, it is not favorable to society, especially in those areas of activity that are difficult or not regulated by the market at all: public transport, national security, the army, education, ecology, etc.
No one should be deprived of public goods on economic grounds, no one should turn them into an object of personal interest and profit. At the same time, the complete abolition of "public" spheres from the field of competition leads, as a rule, to the inefficiency of their management. In addition, no one will invest in conditions where the results of investment will be exploited by others. The solution lies in the differentiated approach: there are areas where economic competition is unacceptable, there are areas where it is permissible on a limited scale, and those where it needs space and incentives.
Obviously, the United States economy lacks such a cultural phenomenon as competition. There is also a lack of fair competition conditions that would equalize the positions of all economic agents, the ability to live in a competitive environment. Its absence in the economy is determined by the erosion of the entire social order, which under the previous regime was structured hierarchically within the framework of a single entity - the state and could not tolerate the pluralism of the subjects and the equality of horizontal relations. Few understand that competition is created in order to encourage entrepreneurs to moral decisions. The competition is approved by the legal law and at the same time is economically and morally justified expression of the law of progressive development of society.
Competition and the market are economically opposed as a mechanism for strict planned regulation of all spheres of economic activity, and "oligarchic capitalism". With significant differences, they are united by one thing: the desire to monopolize economic activity, to prevent competition. In a number of cases, state monopolism is economically, socially and morally acceptable: a monopoly on the production of alcoholic beverages, narcotic drugs, pharmaceutical and environmental control, etc. However, in general, monopolism in all spheres and areas of its approval is a negative phenomenon, both economically and morally attitude.
The impact of morality on the business sphere is expressed, first of all, in the moral assessment of various aspects of economic activity, both rationally and emotionally, ie, mind and heart. Depending on the economic situation and degree of education of people, moral assessment can be directly opposite. As a rule, it reflects the subjective position of a person in the system of economic relations and the level of his material prosperity to the greatest degree.
As for the regulatory impact of morality on business, it is also far from unambiguous. It is much more effective in a developed civil democratic society where public opinion has a real power of influence and is taken into account by the authorities. In an authoritarian society with a lower level of democracy development, this influence is rather insignificant.
In addition, it is necessary to distinguish between two aspects of the influence of morality and ethics on the economy:
a) consideration of moral and ethical norms in economic theory. The English political economist Adam Smith spoke of the methodological duality of economic science: how science is objective; but also as a moral philosophy. At the university, he taught a course in moral philosophy, and his two famous books, Theory of Moral Sentiments, and "Study on the nature and causes of wealth" - deeply interrelated. Economic science he understood as the science of the wealth of an individual and the nation as a whole. He saw the real contradiction of gain and good, but believed that belief in God can reconcile morality and management;
b) accounting for moral and ethical norms in the activities of economic entities, i.e. on practice. One of the founders of economic theory, the prominent Western economist J. Kane, not turning to the idea of God, and starting from the philosophy of rationalism, argued that the economy should be guided by the system of moral values as the necessary norms on which economic theory and economic activity should be built. He believed that economic theory is a "moral discipline", "part of ethics" and should contribute to the advancement of society towards humanism.
In modern United States conditions, the moral aspect sounds very weak both in the supposed economic concepts, and even more so in real economic activity, although there is no shortage of statements about the social orientation of the economy. Self-interest often paralyzes the moral consciousness of entrepreneurs and the moral will of those in power. The return of ethics to economics and business is one of the most urgent social and economic tasks.
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