Daily Archives: May 30, 2009

Ethics Pledge at Harvard BS

A Promise to Be Ethical in an Era of Immorality – NYTimes.com
What happened to making money?

I should write more, but a few issues come to mind.  First, it is a student-led program to take an ethics pledge.  Maybe this is a furhter data point of a generational value shift from Gen Xers to Millenials.  Second, surely it has the backing of faculty and administration, so Paris 1968 it is not.    Third, while I agree business should be couched in alrger discussions of common goods and shared prosperity, I am unsure how much tnagible difference a pledge makes.  Is there accountability?  Is there a community of conversation about what it means to enact this pledge to not advance “narrow” self interests?  I have the sense that it adances  a notion of ethical behavior as noble choices to choose rightly between A and B, where A helps starving orphaned baby seals and B is to make $100,000 for the shareholders and $10,000 for ego.

If you want to work to avoid narrow self interests in your company, rather than wiat for forced choices between altruism and enrichment, why not work to change the mission, compensation system, and culture of openness about how to make decisions?

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