Ethics And Business-What About Civic Responsibility?

by Jimmy George - Date: 2007-01-24 - Word Count: 977 Share This!

The question whether business and ethics are mutually inclusive remains to be one of the most controversial yet rational, reasonable and relevant topics that is worth the time and intellectual effort if committed for it. The topic has been the favourite grain for gossip mills mainly to the oriental ones and intellectual arguments with varying dimensions have also been credited with to have aroused out of this seemingly simple topic. Once the topic gets debated and deliberated mainly from issues and instances that underlines the need for mutual involvement of these two, the argument itself spirals up thereby creating a chain reaction that goes like wild fire drawing into it the comments and concerns of people from all walks of life surpassing limits of language, nationality and ideology. Business and the role of ethical principles in it has been, and will be a topic that can fuel a lot of debates and economical derivations cutting across political, cultural, economic and ideological lines surpassing geographic and linguistic barriers. The terminology and its corresponding interpretation changes according to the context and the nature and scope of the subject acquires entirely different dimensions when it comes to engaging business and ethics. The notion of a healthy inter play between business and ethical principles is undoubtedly relevant in this context of engulfing globalisation, the only question remaining where the lines of ethics in business are to be drawn the same time safeguarding interests of the former and giving latter its due space. While it is true that there are no all time true and fitting solutions to this question certain notions are worthwhile being included.

As the world develops more and more into a free market economy with negligible exceptions , the relevance of ethics in business do surfaces as the tip of an ice berg with the major part lying deep waiting to be discovered, discussed and impartially deliberated. Interestingly there are entirely different dimensions to this topic. What is the responsibility of the corporate is a question that is being asked and already enough and more on this regard has been debated by focus groups ,academic panels and politicians to this point of time. A corporate entity having varied business interests in different categories of products is liable to consumers as far as they are directly or indirectly involved and affected by the products. In an ideal civic sense, the common people and the citizens as a whole also comes under the wider purview. It makes perfect sense that the common folks are at a huge monetary and ethical disadvantage once a product, its application and most commonly its effects are misinterpreted. whether the error was inadvertent or not is another question. The victim in this case goes to the court in a much publicised trial and in most cases is awarded a great fortune by judicial intervention or by an agreement between the hunter and the hunted that goes behind closed doors outside the court. The society unanimously supports the individual and pours pages after pages of enriched encomium and a civic hero is instantly born. This is the most widely known dimension.

The next dimension of this topic that most in the dialogue does not know or does not want to discuss is the part of the citizen. what kind kind of ethical demeanour does the corporate as a service provider who have extensively invested, investigated and researched in the process of coming out with a product which despite all the efforts and the care followed throughout the process done has failed should receive from the general public. What about the basic ethical notions that must be followed while engaging with a corporate entity. Do they have the previlage of chance or doubt based on the principles of equality and social justice. There are all over the internet and in the traditional print media articles, full page stories and in peak times supplement papers that features the ugly side of corporate responsibility when they have been caught in the court for trying to jeopardize a free and fair trial that in most times where going in favour of the individual or group that spearheaded the campaign. It is perfectly just and in the best interest of social justice but what happens if individuals or groups who have carefully planned, co-ordinated and carried out with motives that are specious. While investigating the corporate side and unravelling their part seems comparatively easy whereas the individual on the other side is often left exonerated. What about the goodwill of the corporate that has been built through years and decades spoiled by a single hoax which was deliberate from the part of a group or in some cases by support from another corporate competitor. What about the monetary loss that the corporate had to endure from the public relation disaster and far more despicable is the social apathy and the immunity given to the group that have in word, spirit and deed defamed the corporate. If a citizen has the right for compensation, then even by the terms of an eye for eye raw justice the corporate is also entitled to a claim and there are also cases of corporates being granted compensation but was it proportional leaves us thinking.

There have been instances where the corporate world was unfairly hunted and haunted by individual and groups with vested notions and cases where political vendetta triggered law suits and investigations. If found in cases where individuals misrepresented facts, the were left without strict punishments and the public took it for granted that it is okay for individuals to make mistakes and not vice-versa. Ethics being a normative science is hard to crack and the same applies to its objective measurement. The common man wants some fast solutions for which there is no clear border line that can be drawn at present between ethics and business.

Related Tags: corporate governance, ethical business, corporate responsibility, capital markets and ethics

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