Archive for the ‘Business Ethics’ Category
THE POLITICS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
“The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is cracking down on states that don’t agree on the supposed impacts of man-made global warming: Embrace the alarm or prepare to have… funding withheld…. [T]he sanctioning will begin in 2016, when FEMA will start denying disaster funding to states that don’t incorporate global warming into their emergency preparedness plans.”
That the global warming issue is political becomes clearer every day. Congressman Raul Grijalva launched an attack on several scientists who publicly dispute the government’s position that atmospheric CO2 caused by man’s burning fossil fuels is rising to critical levels and must be stopped ‘before it’s too late.’ Several Liberal Senators have gone the same route, threatening to curtail funding of any scientific endeavor that would even present evidence against man’s deleterious effects on nature, going so far as to make such efforts a crime.
AlGore, the founder of the original global warming scare, recently spoke at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, TX calling on attendees to punish climate change deniers, saying that ‘we need to put a price on denial in politics.’ That opposing politicians should pay a price for rejecting ‘accepted science.’
And John Kerry, falsely claiming to have been part of the original Gore assault on science, recently stated: . “When an apple falls from a tree, it will drop toward the ground. We know that because of the basic laws of physics. Science tells us that gravity exists, and no one disputes that. Science also tells us that when the water temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it turns to ice. No one disputes that. So when science tells us that our climate is changing and human beings are largely causing that change, by what right do people stand up and just say, ‘Well, I dispute that, or I deny that elementary truth’?”
Simply, John, because they have that right, both scientifically and legally.
Because what Kerry fails to say (because he does not understand) is that it is not ‘science’ making the claim, it is certain SCIENTISTS making the claim, and that it is not an ‘elementary truth.’ It is, in fact, false.
What do all these people have in common? They are politicians, not scientists. They can’t be (or even represent) scientists who would never claim that ‘the issue is settled’ because, in fact, no scientific issue is ever settled. These politicians wish to punish those who would disagree with their political position by political means—even take away their right to disagree.
“Those who would ignore history are condemned to repeat it”
Climate change is not a political phenomenon. Earth’s climate has been changing since its beginning with no input from mankind, and there is plenty of scientific proof demonstrating that fact, not to mention historical. Read on:
The Great Famine of the 14th Century had its beginnings in the three or four preceding Centuries known as the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), when the Northern Hemisphere was warmer than at any time in the preceding 8,000 years. During that period, “Warming increased the amount of arable land – there were vineyards in northern England – leading to Europe’s first sustained population increase since the fall of the Roman Empire. The need for land on which to grow cereals resulted in extensive deforestation. The MWP population explosion gave rise to towns, textile manufacturing and new wealthy classes.” (William Rosen, “The Third Horseman: Climate Change and the Great Famine of the 14th Century”)
Then came the severe winters of 1309-1312, when polar bears could walk from Greenland to Iceland on solid ice. A few years later extended heavy rains washed away topsoil and more than half the arable land in northern Europe was gone. Ten-percent of the population from the Atlantic to the Urals died, partly because of the effect of climate change on those “few inches of soil that produces the world’s food.”
Human behavior did not cause this change in climate. Instead, a warming climate caused behavioral change. Then climate cooling caused social changes (rebelliousness and bellicosity) that amplified the consequences of climate change, a pattern repeated centuries later…
…during the “Little Ice Age” in the mid- to late 1600s. In “Global Crisis: War, Climate Change & Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century,” historian Geoffrey Parker explains how climatological and political factors produced turmoil from Europe to China. What he calls “the placenta of the crisis” of that century included an unusual change in climate, correlated so strongly with political upheavals as to cause flight from abandoned farms to cities producing crises of disease, nutrition, water, sanitation, housing, fire, crime, abortion, infanticide and suicide. Given the ubiquity of desperation, it is not surprising that more wars took place during the 17th-century crisis “than in any other era before the Second World War.”
These changes in climate had nothing to do with man’s activities. Man was victim, not cause, of these catastrophes.
The truth is that climate changes, all by itself, and we don’t have a clue as to how or why. Currently Earth (the Northern Hemisphere at least) is in an interglacial age. The last glaciers retreated about 10,000 years ago (necessarily accompanied by natural warming) and we have no idea when or if there will be another glacial age.
Earth warms. Ice melts. Sea levels rise. What else is new?
The political assault on science and reason is promulgated by one group of politicians: Liberals (specifically, Progressive Liberals). The so-called ‘deniers’ tend to be conservatives and reputable scientists who prefer to think for themselves. This is not an accusation. It is a fact. The Global Warmers cannot tolerate disagreement with their agenda and apparently will use any means to denigrate those who disagree with them in spite of having perfectly valid scientific reasons for doing so.
Lots more info. For starters:
ETHICAL ISSUES: ETHICAL GUIDELINES
How are you fixed for ethics? Integrity, principle, probity, honesty: concepts that often are overlooked, taken for granted or disregarded in today’s hectic world. ‘Business ethics’ simply isn’t; It deals with values and morals—the way we think things are—and tends to be arbitrary. The real ETHICS we’re talking about is more fundamental and powerful than either business or even legal ethics. This, the REAL ethics, represents THE WAY THINGS SHOULD BE.
Ethics. What is it? Well, it’s not the plural of ethic nor is it difficult to define. You may think of ethics as truth, and of morality as applied truth, better known as honesty.
Can you see how this differs from business ‘ethics?’ Ethics is not debatable. It doesn’t vary with the situation. Nor does it vary with the law. The law is a product of society and can be changed in accordance with society’s wishes. Ethics isn’t even a product. It’s a given, a foundation of humanity (humanity is by nature ethical).
Like truth, ethics either is or isn’t. The way things should be is honest–surely we can agree on that. Truth doesn’t change. The law changes according to the needs of society. Truth can’t.
Can we achieve ethical parity? Of course we can, but first we have to stop kidding ourselves that things are the way they ought to be and that they can’t be much better because ‘that’s just the way it is.’ We start by being honest with ourselves and then move on to being honest with others and asking honesty from them.
Truth is perfect, the ultimate benchmark. Be honest and chances are excellent that you will at the same time be ethical and moral. Starting with truth, we all start at the same place. Knowing where a person is coming from makes it easier to deal with that person, easier to trust. And trust is the basis of any real relationship.
And relationships are the key to better living. Start with truth, build trust and live right. No one can do better, and there’s really no other acceptable alternative.
(This is from an article appearing  in Consulting Today, the publication of The Consultants Bureau. It’s still current.)
ETHICS in EDUCATION: ACADEMICS AT WORK…
One need look no further than the uppermost reaches of academia for examples of ethical disintegration. And it’s being taught…
From the ethics chair at the Harvard Business School: “What is a lie under circumstances in which no one expects the truth to be told?”
And a professor at the Chicago School of Business tells us that people lie because they are expected to lie–he calls it an “expectations trap.” There’s more, but the article concludes: “A little lying might, indeed, go a long way.”
From an article “Why Be Honest if Honesty Doesn’t Pay?”(Harvard Business Review): “There is no compelling economic reason to tell the truth or keep one’s word.” Money is an excuse? More from a Harvard Business Review: “The ethics of business differs from the ethics of religion,” and we are advised to “sin bravely” in business; and another from the same hallowed source: “There are no concrete rules when it comes to ethical implications of cheating, and…“as long as you’re getting your work done, (cheating is) forgivable and…forgettable.” And: “ethics depends on the specifics of a situation.”
If this isn’t enough, a Professor (Business Ethics) at Utah claims that “We all carry around two sets of ethical standards” which he calls “gaming ethics” and “personal ethics.” Further, he says that it’s OK to do some wrong things sometimes. One might wonder how these folks would deal with cheating on exams… Or define morality…
And from “How To Cheat On Your Boss,” in the March 1999 Entrepreneurs’ Business Start-Ups: “(W)ith a proper ethical perspective and a keen eye toward caution, stealing a few hours off the time clock can actually prove to be beneficial…even for your boss, since many ‘cheaters’ admit to working harder at their day jobs to keep from getting caught.”
An entrepreneur(?), apparently following this axiom, admits to working on other projects while billing a client for his time and, “as long as I feel (?!) like I’m providing the service I’m being paid for, then it doesn’t bother me at all.” We aren’t told if it bothers his clients. Could these examples (all verifiable) be the reason for business ethics’ reputation (as a contradiction in terms)?
Is it any wonder that the country’s in trouble? Comments welcomed, as usual…
Living with the truth is, in fact, what EXTREME ETHICS is all about.
John Ransom in a recent column: “Today all you have to do is repeat a thing often enough and it becomes true. …(P)eople can no longer recognize even their own lies. They can’t distinguish between what is true and the fantasy that exists only in their imagination. And…there’s only one word you can use to describe it: psychosis.” Strong words, remarkably well-put and worthy of our attention. But wait… Is it the TRUTH?
Well, before we can deal with that question it’s necessary to come to terms with truth.
Truth is, simply, what is, tangible and verified or verifiable, real and actual, that exists. It is a noun and only a noun, one and the same as reality and fact; it does not require even the word the to express it. Truth is. Anything else is not.
The word true, on the other hand, is a modifier (adjective, adverb) once removed from truth. A true statement is a statement about something, not a thing, and has an opposite: false.
But truth has no opposite. It is instead the absence of falsehood. Further, to decide that something is false requires a standard. That standard is TRUTH.
And as a standard, truth does not change with the times. It is a given—absolute and unconditional—that the world cannot exist without. The earth was flat for people in the 4th Century (a true statement, but not truth). While it’s true that they believed it and in fact lived it, for something to be truth it must be true before, true now, and true in the future. The statement obviously is not.
An exercise in mere ‘semantics’? No, a distinction that must be made. One can debate true, but not truth. Living with the truth requires living with reality, not anything else.
The world can exist without lies. Lies are a product, an artifact, of man rather than a fact of nature. We in fact live with truth (what is) inevitably every day whether or not we recognize it. Lies are what we construct to mask the truth for whatever reason.
To conclude this piece, let’s consider Ransom’s word psychosis: phobia, obsession, lunacy, insanity, mental illness—all artifacts of man, products of lies understood or not. Is that your choice?
Living with the truth only requires that we actively deny—do not accept—lies. Extreme? You bet, but it’s your choice—to be real or not. Can you handle it?
You can start with politicians…
ETHICS and RISK MANAGEMENT: Truth, Trust and Honesty
Risk management is like walking a tightrope. You can play it safe by walking the low rope. Or you can walk the high rope with more risk of damage but a chance at bigger gains. Nobody ever said that walking a tightrope, or making decisions, was easy.
Risk is real, and taking risk is a fact of life. But taking foolish risks is, in a word, senseless.
An awful lot of risk is being sold by an awful lot of ethicists(?) these days. Some of them, at very prestigious institutes of higher learning, are teaching their students that it’s OK to lie. And/or cheat. Don’t believe it? Check out www.extremeethics.org/business-ethics. An example from an issue of the Harvard Business Review: “There is no compelling economic reason to tell the truth or keep one’s word” (note the keyword—economic. Money is what it’s all about today). I’m not making this up. So goes the state of “business ethics” these days. www.extremeethics.org/ethics-in-education
A lot of money is being made by a lot of unethical people (including “ethics consultants”), but being unethical is courting disaster. Why take foolish risks when you don’t have to? Lying, misleading and shading the truth are unethical, not to mention foolish risks. You can do a lot of positive risk management simply by being honest. While there still may be risk, you’ll sleep better.
One of the time-tested tools available for anyone’s use is, of all things, truth. Truth is the basis of ethics and being ethical will never hurt you in the long run. It can also help immeasurably in the short run.
And not only will honesty and integrity always stand you in good stead in managing risk, it also will pay dividends in your personal STRESS management. Someone once correctly noted that by telling the truth you don’t have to remember what you said, thereby freeing your mind for better things. Not only that, but you take fear out of the picture—fear of getting caught, fear of punishment. A free mind is free of stress as well.
Any meaningful relationship is built on trust. http://www.extremeethics.org/?p=1014 But how can anyone trust someone who lies to him, or worse? If truth is the benchmark, trust follows. It’s that simple. Honesty leads to being ethical, and being ethical goes a long way toward reducing stress and managing risk.
Try it. You’ll like it.
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