Business ethics and capitalism

There are multiple ethical values in business, which are religion, philosophy, culture, and law (Business, government, and society. Steiner pg. 200). Business ethics affect people’s life, and running a business in an unethical behavior can result in bigger charges than a murder at times, due to its nature. Many business books and articles exhibits the fact that capitalism isn’t unethical and is not philosophically wrong, and is rather factually refutable. The problem doesn’t lie with capitalism, rather it lies with those people who focus on the present rather than the future.

The events throughout the years have shown that capitalism is only as good as the capitalists. For a business to be sustainable, the leaders require an ethical manner like that of James Cash Penney. James knew that his current decisions will affect the future, so he left his first business full of unethical values, such as bribery, to start a department store that had honesty as his main principle base. If James continued his old company, he would have had to continue his unethical behavior for the company to grow, which would have come back to haunt him and his future employees.

The choice of engaging in unethical behavior not only affects the engager, but everyone in the environment. A great example of this would be a story about Ebbers. The CEO of WorldCom, whom have engaged in conspiracy, securities fraud, and filing false documents. Ebbers have falsified reports, using accounting tricks to disguise rising expenses. His action as a leader not only got him in trouble, but the CFO and five other subordinates. His action has also affected employees whose retirement money evaporated from a company 401 (k) plan (US v. Bernard J. Ebbers, indictment, s3 02 Cr.1144 (BSJ), 2004). It’s no wonder that Ebbers sentence was 25 years, compared to 20 years given to Salvatore Gravano, a Mafia hit man who confessed to 19 murders. Once again, capitalism is only as good as the people.

Knowing the major sources of ethical values in business and applying all sources when making decision is the key in ethical business. They’re all interconnected, and applying it aids in coming up with better company strategies and policies. Manager’s critical function is to come up with a strategy that not only encourages to meet goal, but to avoid encouraging ethical compromise. Forcing employees to meet a goal or to be fired will cause employees to purposefully lie in their reports. Reward and compensation systems can also expose employees to ethical compromises if not created correctly.

Bisanz, Peter (2014). How to make capitalism more ethical. Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)

Steiner, John (2016). Business, Government, and Society. McGraw Hill Education Private Limited

Reiter, S.L (2016). Corporate Profit, Social Welfare, and the Logic of Capitalism. Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)

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