The last few months have shown some new, troubling ethical challenges emerging for business. I’m launching a new series of post focusing on them. We start with as simple an ethical issue as possible–the truth.
The Economist, 9.10.16. “The post-truth world: Yes, I’d lie to you,” The “Brexit” and Trump campaigns mark such striking assaults on truth that The Economist has written about the dangers of a “post-truth world.”
“There is a strong case that, in America and elsewhere, there is a shift towards a politics in which feelings trump facts more freely and with less resistance than used to be the case. Helped by new technology, a deluge of facts and a public much less given to trust than once it was, some politicians are getting away with a new depth and pervasiveness of falsehood. If this continues, the power of truth as a tool for solving society’s problems could be lastingly reduced.”
Read that last sentence over and over again. Technological advances have given us an “information industry” that makes it possible to broadcast completely false information with no check whatsoever. The search for profit has to be tempered by the duty to not allow falsehoods–especially those aimed to sow fear, hate and distrust–to be treated as though they’re neutral assertions.
How does a company in the “information industry” deal with this? Isn’t it fair to say that a company that fail to do so is acting in a way that’s seriously unethical?