Thursday, March 30, 2006

Business Ethics

This 2001 Graziadio Business Report interview with ethicist Michael Josephson, founder of The Josephson Institute of Ethics, is worth reading. An excerpt:

GBR: Is it difficult to create a truly ethical business environment and still have a focus on profitability?

Josephson: The way I like to look at it is analogous to sports. The purpose of sports is to win, but -- at least at its best -- it is to win with honor. The purpose of business is to make a profit, but do it with honor. It's to find a way to make a living that does credit to your life. Whether you are a laborer or whether you're a commodities trader, the idea is that you should not be making a living, in my opinion, in any way that demeans society or yourself. When we start interpreting work to mean simply making money, then we forget that what we do in our work is, maybe more than anything else we do, making our lives. We normally devote the highest portion of our waking hours to our jobs. I believe there can be some jobs that probably by nature don't have big intrinsic value, but that person can still interact with people in a positive way and play a positive role in society.

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