Ethikos Weekly Editor’s Picks – February 4, 2014



Ethikos Weekly Editor’s Picks

Examining Business Ethics Since 1987

Editor’s Top Choice:

When in doubt, always ask: How would this look on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper?
Forbes blogger Paul Brown writes, “It’s hard to pick a newspaper without reading about some company paying millions–or in some cases, billions–to settle charges of misbehavior. (JP Morgan Chase seems determined to retire with the title.)And it is not just corporations, of course, that are making page one with their bad behavior.

If it weren’t for the silly (or stupid or criminal) actions of politicians and celebrities, I am not sure your daily paper would have enough news to print.”

Read more

Other Featured Picks of the Week

After 500 years, why does Machiavelli still hold such sway?

The past few months have seen a flurry of celebrations for the 500th anniversary of Niccolò Machiavelli’s classic leadership “how to” text, The Prince. It may be five centuries old, but The Prince remains one of the most quoted leadership tomes of all times. The reason for its persistent popularity is clear: “Big Mac” was an unabashed realist. His leadership theory is based on the premise that most people are bad. Thus, his advice to leaders seeking to gain and maintain power: “Learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge and not use it, according to the necessity of the case.” Read more

It’s not just jobs – Millenials want a kinder, cleaner, smarter society

A new survey shows that young people want social change, not just economic change.

Deloitte Consulting surveyed almost 8,000 people born in the late 1980s to the early 2000s in 28 countries. In both developing and developed nations, millennials emphasized social challenges over economic ones — prioritizing social equality, education and safety above financial well-being. Asked what are the top issues facing society, only one of the top three was economic. Given global economic conditions, it’s not surprising that unemployment ranked high (37 percent), but climate change (32 percent) and wealth inequality (32 percent) also topped the list. . Read more

Epic fails: DOD’s “encyclopedia” of ethical lapses

From Foreign Policy’s Situation Report: Epic Failures: Turns out, DOD catalogues a huge number of the ethical legal and moral failures of government personnel in The Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure, who knew? Did you hear the one about the first lieutenant who had to pay $120,000 in fines for accepting bribes from contractors he’d awarded with lucrative Defense Department deals? Or the Navy civilian who asked a defense contractor for a $5,000 payment so the contractor could be “recommended” for a $153,000 contract? What about the four senior officials, including two Air Force generals, a Marine general, and a Navy admiral, who extended their stay in Tokyo to play golf at an illegal cost of $3,000 to the government. Read more

Ethical capitalism? It’s worth a try

An opinion piece recently published by Huffington Post begins, “Following the financial crisis of 2008, many voices used ‘capitalism’ as if it were a dirty word. We can understand why.

The short-term, purely self-interested thinking that contributed to the crisis and subsequent recession has also contributed to a long list of human tragedies: Thousands of workers killed when unregulated factories collapse; a growing income inequality where one billion people barely survive on less than $1 a day; and dangerous climate changes pressuring the supply of basic commodities. Some blame “capitalism” for these problems and, by extension, condemn capitalism as inherently unethical.” Read more

Brands are now at tipping point in debate on ethics

Using simple, powerful syntax, the former Microsoft boss outlined his family’s mission to eradicate poverty, ignorance and illness around the globe. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is using the combined wealth of fellow moguls, relationships with pharmaceuticals chief executives (such as GlaxoSmithKline’s Sir Andrew Witty) and the latest marketing/PR techniques to achieve what many governments have failed to do. Gates sincerely believes that the number of truly poor nations could be reduced from 50 now to just three over the next decade, and that diseases such as polio can be defeated. Read more

Madiba and lessons in leadership

Blogging for South Africa’s Thought Leader, Thabang Motsohi writes, “There is a common sentiment that Madiba’s passing enjoins us to pause and seriously reflect on the lessons of life that he has bequeathed to us and ask how seriously we have applied these lessons in our own lives. Indeed there could never be a better time to engage in this exercise and the themes that we can engage with will reflect our own individual circumstances and challenges in life. There is also a common sentiment that South Africa’s socio-economic challenges warrant us to review our leadership capability and capacity honestly and seriously at this moment. I would like to explore some truths about admirable leadership qualities and the challenges we face in this area.” Read more

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