Which symbol or metaphor would come closest to your own attitude?
Respond to #1 and at least four other of the following short essay questions (making a total of 5). You may, but are not required to, cite from the text, but you are required to refer to the readings; they are the raw-material for your arguments. And please ember that stating your opinion does not constitute an argument; at best, it only introduces one.
Each response should be at least one page, minimum, 12-point font, double-spaced. And please submit your responses all together, as one document, in MS Word (not five separate documents). Copy and paste the question-number and short description (in all caps) of the question you are addressing by number and the short title Ive provided at the beginning of each question (i.e., do not reproduce the entire question in your response). For example, if you want to respond to #2, start with “2. ETHICS OF TORT LAW:”
1. WHAT YOUVE LEARNED. Characterize at least one (or more) of the things that you have realized due to the readings and discussions weve done over the course of the semester. Talk about why this seems important and what is that makes it significant for you.
2. ETHICS OF TORT LAW: We have seen that product liability, or tort law, has its origins in the desire to equalize the power differential between the individual consumers and corporations, which have the means to wage and maintain legal suits with expert lawyers. While its origin and its intentions are undeniably informed by the ethical standard of fairness, what about the ethics of its impact, in practice?
3. RAWLS AND INEQUALITY TODAY: The first part of Rawls theory of justice and fairness posits that we must have the “most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others” (p. 202). He then attempts to limit the inequality that arises due to that liberty by stating that this inequality must be to everyones advantage, and must also not be based on holding offices and positions that are closed to others. To what extent does the current financial and political practice conform with, or violates, Rawls theory?
4. WHAT MIGHT HELP? I have emphasized throughout this course that while we are equipped with something like a ‘moral instinct (sympathy, the Golden Rule, with qualifications), we are nonetheless heavily influenced by the behavior of others, or context (as we saw in Moral Mazes and the Stanley Milgram experiment). What institutions—cultural, social, political—would you change, and how, to help increase ethical awareness?
5. INCOME/WEALTH GAP: We often hear today about how the gap between the rich and the poor has been widening at a dangerous rate. Do some quick research on this, and/or on the question of the ratio of CEO salaries to workers pay. Subject this development to an ethical analysis, using the readings covered in this course to substantiate your argument.
6. WHY CANT WE BE FRIENDS? Is it possible to discuss things like fairness and justice in a way that is non-partisan? That is, can we talk about, say, distribution of wealth and opportunity, without representing the one or the other political ‘side of that particular issue. Another way to put the same question might be: is there a general, over-arching human and humane perspective that transcends or encompasses particular interests?
7. ETHICS IN INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT? Refute or substantiate this skeptical position, using the readings and discussions of our course to date: When we are dealing with international business, ethical considerations come crashing, as it were, into a wall. For we have, as a community, a shared sense of history and a shared commitment to certain (broadly speaking—Western, literate, Enlightenment, industrialized, largely Judeo-Christian, urban) values. But other cultures do not necessarily share those same basic values and commitments; when thats the case, we cant expect them to conform to our ethical beliefs.
8. FREEDOM TO POLLUTE? Refute or affirm the following contention: When it comes to environmental concerns, everyone should have the freedom to choose (as in the sense of cap and trade) how much damage they do to the environment. If I have the money to purchase and operate a gas-guzzling Hummer, well, that should be up to me. And if my company emits large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, and Im willing and able to pay whatever that costs, that choice should be mine.
9. WHAT TYPE OF WORKER ARE YOU? Ciulla discusses four Aesop fables which embody four types of attitudes toward work. Which symbol or metaphor would come closest to your own attitude? how comfortable are you with being that particular type? Is that something you might want to (or feel you should) change?
10. Finally, here you have the option of devising your own topic.
Honest Work: A Business Ethics Reader, edited by Ciulla, Martin, and Solomon
Moral Mazes: The World of Corporate Managers, by Robert Jackal