THE COST OF VICE: THE LATEST EXAMPLE

NYT 6.9.17 “The G.O.P. Plan to Unleash Wall Street”

It is a well-documented syndrome that a pattern of serious unethical behavior has both cognitive and affective costs. Our ability to perceive reality accurately and to resist our desires get compromised. To put it prosaically, “being unethical makes you stupid and greedy.” Anyone who doesn’t know this hasn’t been paying attention.

The latest example of this is the blind greed and callous disregard for hurting others shown in the G.O.P.’s vote. In what universe was the meltdown not a sign that the system was broken? Similarly, in what universe is a massive concentration of wealth and power not a sign that we have a fundamental, systemic failure? Once again, blind greed, a completely false ideology and a frontal assault on ethics and basic American ideals.

EXXON CONTINUES TO BE BAD EXAMPLE WHEN IT COMES TO ETHICS

NYT. 1.4.17 “Tillerson Leaving Exxon with $180 Million Retirement Package.”

It’s bad enough that Exxon’s campaign against the truth about global warming showed their contempt for honesty. Now we have this striking example of greed at the top. And how is this benefiting any of Exxon’s stakeholders? A clear case of no risk, but huge reward. And this doesn’t take into account what the CEO was paid all along.

INTERESTING DISCUSSION RE: TWITTER ISSUE

12.14.16 NYT “Twitter Has the Right to Suspend Donald Trump. But It Shouldn’t.”

Interesting, thoughtful discussion of the issue, although I still disagree. The rules against harassment should apply to everyone equally. I think the “Twitter Rules” also somehow need to be adapted to ban lying–deliberate or negligent–or any attempt to manipulate the vulnerable and uninformed. There may be a legal right to lie (unless you’re under oath or advertising), but there’s no ethical right to lie (short of doing so to protect someone from harm).

From my perspective, this reflects a systemic problem in the tech industry that comes from the fact that when they roll out new technologies, they always ignore the fact that ordinary human beings are going to use (and abuse) them. Look at all of the ethical issues that have caught the industry from behind going back to Napster: downloading digital media and copyright violations; privacy; cyberbullying; etc. The industry has never been proactive in dealing with issues that could easily have been predicted. Even the most basic perspective on ethics argues that if you can foresee harm and prevent it, you have an obligation to do so. Add to that the composition of the lack of diversity in the industry’s workforce (astonishing, given the fact that is 2016) and you can see that we have an industry with major weaknesses in identifying and handling ethical issues.