1. Watch the documentary “Inside Job”, narrated by Matt Daemon.
2. Write two essays, each one must (a) write (roughly) one double-spaced page demonstrating a non-superficial understanding of an issue raised in the documentary, and (b) Write (roughly) one double-spaced page demonstrating a non-superficial understanding of how one of the readings from the course applies to the issue you discuss in part (a).
The essays must involve a different issue raised by the documentary, and (d) each of the two must discuss a different reading from the following list:
1. Either (a) Friedman or (b) Stone.
2. Either (a) Clifford, (b) Aristotle or (c) Bennett.
Milton Friedman-The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits
“Doing well by doing good!” Good-ethical, well-financially
Milton Friedman: chemist, international trend, free market
l Corporate social responsibility
l preaching pure and unadulterated socialism
- A corporate executive is an employee of the people who own the business (shareholders).
- Hence he or she has a responsibility to conduct the business in accordance with their desire.
- Generally shareholders want to make as much money as possible.
- Therefore a corporate executive has a moral obligation to make the corporation as profitable as possible.
- A corporate executive is welcome to donate his or her own money/time to what socially responsible cause he or she wishes.
- A shareholder is likewise welcome to donate his or her own money/time.
- In their question to maximize corporate profits, corporate executives should not break the law (or “ethical custom”-eg. child labor) and should “stay within the rules of the game” (open and free competition without deception or fraud).
Stone – Chapter 10: Why the market can’t do it
Four assumptions: (none is particularly well-founded)
- the persons who are going to withdraw patronage know the fact that they are being “injured”
- they know where to apply pressure of some sort
- they are in a position to apply pressure of some sort
- their pressure will be translated into warranted changes in the institution’s behavior
If anyone of above failed, market will not work.
Chapter 11: Why the Law Can’t Do It
Laws as the expression of popular sentiment should be the source of guidance for corporate direction, not the personal preferences of each corporation’s management. Majority of the people believe the market and present laws inadequate to keep corporations within socially desirable bounds, the society can, through its democratic processes, male tougher laws.
Argument: Unless and until such laws are made, this argument goes, it is best for all of us if the corporation managers guide themselves by profits.
- “time-lag problem”:
- We do not encourage human beings to suppose that until the law tells them otherwise, they have no responsibilities.
- Dangers to society seem more acute where corporations are concerned.
- Hence, until laws are passed, a great deal of damage can be done, some of which might be irreversible.
- And it can take some time before laws are passed due to…
- Therefore, corporations have a responsibility to do more than follow the law.
- Limitations connected with the making of law:
- Corporations often play a large role in drafting the laws which regulates them. (94-95)
- The agencies which regulate corporations are often run by industry insiders with close connections to the corporation they regulate. (95)
- The information gap between the private and public sectors handicap law-makers. (96)
- What we think counts as responsible corporate behavior isn’t always easy to translate into legal rules. (99-100)
- Limitations connected with the mechanisms for implementing the law.
William K Clifford – The Ethic of Belief:
Have some humanity when making some decisions is ok.
- Just having a belief isn’t on action.
- Only actions can be morally right/wrong.
- Therefore, there is nothing morally with having beliefs that are not based on sufficient evidence.
- Right & Necessary duty—investigate
- right—because even when a man’s belief is so fixed that he cannot think otherwise, he still has a choice in the action suggested by it, and so cannot escape the duty of investigating on the ground of the strength of his convictions
- Necessary—because those who are not yet capable of controlling their feelings and thoughts must have a plain rule dealing with overt acts.
- Harm of having beliefs not based on sufficient evidence
- Bad habits
- Quick to accept what told (Lie-saying what you know is wrong; balls-hit:saying stuff we don’t even care)
- Set a bad example
- Not the risk only which has to be considered
- Most of what I think I know, I think I know because that’s what other people have told me.
- Would he lie?
- Does he have sufficient evidence if he is since
- Concentrate too much on sincerely
- Don’t pay adoqude, attention to what he have evidence that the other person has evidence.
The sum up:
It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.
The experience we have might be physical evidence, but not always.
Aristotle‘s Ethics: Excellence of Character
We want a life easier to “do the right thing”!
Question: Whether it can be taught?
Answer: Excellences of character cannot be taught but are acquired by training.
- Example: two different characters– Excellent (Brown) and Strong-willed (Smith).
- A parent should aim to train his or her children to behave properly without effort.
- What Aristotle is saying is that whether one has an excellent character or not depends not merely on what one does but also on what one likes doing. If a person acts generously there may be many explanations, some discreditable; if one regularly acts generously because one likes acting generously, if one is emotionally inclined towards generosity, then one has an excellent character in this area of action.
- How can we become the person like that: excellences of intelligence acquired by teaching; excellences of character cannot be taught but are acquired by training.
- a. make it as a habit
b. force to do something to grow a habit
c. properly trained one comes to enjoy doing things the right way, to want to do things the right way, and to be distressed by doing things wrongly.
- Not just talk about the actions whether or wrong, we talk about the person with good habits.
Desire/Want Intention/Aim Action Character
Excellence Good Good Good —Brown, excellent
Strength Bad Good Good —Smith, strong-willed
Weakness Bad Good (Should) Bad —Jones, weak-willed
Badness Bad Bad Bad
Bennett: Good (not turn in) Bad Good (no turn) —Huck, weak-willed(Sympathy)
Good Good Bad —Strong-willed(Morality)
Jonathan Bennett – The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn
Bennett—feelings, want to convince people Aristotle miss something
Huckhelps his slave friend Jim to run away and hope he will come back for helping his family.But he has no right to take the slave away from his owner.
Stone: personal responsibility to be informed about the more features of our environment.
We have corporate responsibility. —–Clifford provides a stand of natural view of Stone’s argue.
Clifford: unethical to have views on those matters if one looks good evidence.
Aristotle: a key feature of our environment is what people are disposed to do and want to do.