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Old 12-19-2008
 
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Default Davos: Ethics

if you goto Youtube.com/davos you can see more info on the davos debates.

Essentially the world economic forum are gathering and asking youtube users to submit their videos, and none of them have really hit me as "wow that was tought provoking" or "yeah, you gave that a lot of thought, now go back to your bong, hippy."

Anyway, the ethics question is

Should company executives have a code of ethics similar to doctors and lawyers?

So, go ahead and post some responses. I'm making a thread for their other questions. I feel these would be a good set of debates for SD.
 

Last edited by Drakain Zeil; 12-19-2008 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 12-19-2008
 
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Default

A few key issues with this question that strike me are:

What determines an executive? There's a huge variance between the workers and the BoD.
What is the ethical norm on a global scale? In Russia you're seen as evil if you get 'too rich', in Africa it's perfectly ethical to divide up a prize unequally, and in the US these are juxtaposed to ethics..
By "should," do we mean legally enforced with different levels of punishments?
What are the origins of this question's prompting?

I believe this question is simply a response to the economic crisis on the table, where everyone is pointing to CEOs, claiming foul, as well as how things still go wrong even after we have SOx legislations and other fun laws that were born in the fire of Enron.

I would imagine the implication here is they can be criminaly punished for violating the ethical code. What are these codes born from? For the medical industry, they are the guardians of health and well-being, in law, they are the guardians of the legal system, in business? They are warriors fighting every day to make more and more money. That's what a business does, that's what a lawyer does, that's what a doctor does. As I don't really know of any business owners that go out of their way to be unprofitable, a similar code of ethics is really a silly idea.

It's the nature of these groups to aim for stability and growth, so they probably want to create jobs or at least secure them in doing this. More or less, make money, but don't do what Enron did, or don't design cars nobody wants, or don't do these other things.

Really, the free market already offers a lot of checks against a failure to be innovative, offer the customer what they want, screw over other people, and other such things. Really, all that's ever been missing to the benefit of the public is total transparency in procedure planning and operations. Put everything in the public (obviously, not research and trade secrets), and let the world watch you under a microscope. You won't go out of your way to screw people over, and this does better than a code of ethics could.

That's my thoughts on this. A code of ethics is asinine, and transparency is required. Just don't let the government make you a monopoly or beef your company up when they're failing and using failing strategies.
 
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Old 12-19-2008
 
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No, I don't think they should have a code of ethics because it wouldn't do anything and it's unenforceable. A better solution would be to have swift executions of people who rob millions/billions of dollars. China has a good system in place do deal with people like Madoff.
 
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Old 12-20-2008
 
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Agree with the Hawaiian here,there's no way to regulate it, except by the government being majority shareholders, and that shouldn't happen.
 
 

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Old 12-20-2008
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drakain Zeil View Post
A few key issues with this question that strike me are:

What determines an executive? There's a huge variance between the workers and the BoD.
The board of directors are not executives per se (although there are often executives of the company on the board). The board is a governing body elected by the owners of a company; executives are chosen by the board to execute and oversee the operations of the company. Who is an executive is usually clearly defined in most medium- to large corporations (which is presumably the target segment here) - this includes named executive officers (CEO, CFO, CIO, etc), presidents, and any executive vice presidents.

Quote:
I would imagine the implication here is they can be criminaly punished for violating the ethical code.
It's certainly not unprecedented. Judges all the time, as a condition of their sentencing, are barring convicted CEOs from being on the board of or having an executive role in any American corporation for x number of years. That isn't much different from an organization stripping an executive of a professional license. And I see setting up an executive-licensing body as the most effective way of implementing and enforcing a code of ethics on business professionals.

Quote:
What are these codes born from? For the medical industry, they are the guardians of health and well-being, in law, they are the guardians of the legal system, in business?

Really, the free market already offers a lot of checks against a failure to be innovative, offer the customer what they want, screw over other people, and other such things.
That's the hard question, especially since the economy is so politicized: what does the code of ethics look like? And while a code of ethics or licensing standards may or may not be the best option, generally there is consensus globally that corporate governance needs to be dramatically reformed.
 

Last edited by Pizza; 12-21-2008 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 12-21-2008
 
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Do you guys think it's wrong to execute people who steal millions or billions of dollars from people who worked their entire lives for a company and invested back into that company only to go bankrupt? Personally I don't think so. I think execution is a just punishment for such people. I feel it is equal because of the sheer numbers they afflict, whereas when you steal from one person you are just affecting that one person.

In my opinion the punishment does indeed fit the crime.
 
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Old 12-22-2008
 
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What exactly is the cost of a human life then? It's all very well to deal in obscure numbers like MEELYANS OF BEELYANS, but how much are we worth exactly? Where's the line?

It's all very well to make these emotional outbursts but have you really thought this through on a logical scale? Also since when was China, a country with easily one of the worst human rights records in modern times a source of inspiration when it comes to a legal system?

I don't think they should have a code of ethics, more beauracracy and red tape for scenarios that are either entirely fictional in nature or already covered by existing legislation.

Also it would be incredibly difficult to give them set rules and codes considering how wildly varied the companies would be, it would really boil down to "don't steal and don't be a dick" which brings us back to my point on existing laws.

No one has really mentioned from anything that I can see any real benefits that this code of ethics would provide, and furthermore the assertion that people need to be tied to written codes of ethics as they would be otherwise incapable of acting ethically off their own back is slightly offensive.

I'll stick to thinking green and saving the paper that any of this bullshit would be written on.
 

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Old 12-22-2008
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khush
What exactly is the cost of a human life then? It's all very well to deal in obscure numbers like MEELYANS OF BEELYANS, but how much are we worth exactly? Where's the line?

It's all very well to make these emotional outbursts but have you really thought this through on a logical scale? Also since when was China, a country with easily one of the worst human rights records in modern times a source of inspiration when it comes to a legal system?
The millions of people affected by these scumbags are more important than the life of 1 scumbag, and therefore they should be executed.
 
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Old 12-22-2008
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Hawaiian View Post
The millions of people affected by these scumbags are more important than the life of 1 scumbag, and therefore they should be executed.
How many millions of lives have to be affected before it comes execution material? Does it matter more how many people are affected or how much money is stolen? If so what is the numerical line to draw. Does this scenario even exist? Where are these companies that are "stealing" the money of millions of people.

In summation you talk utter shit, have created an emotional legal response to a clear cut morally black and white scenario that has never presented itself once in reality.

When have we ever seen a financial scandal where millions of people were robbed of billions of dollars that has not been more than sufficiently handled without the death penalty, something which in my mind it is offensive to insinuate should have some kind of monetry value.

Your argument is no better constructed than "pro-lifers" screaming "JOOR MURDERANG TEH BABIEZ", it's a useless, transparent and quite frankly baseless plea to human emotion.

Me and the rest of the people in the world capable of making rational decisions based on logical reasoning will be busy solving problems that actually exist and leave getting offended by scenarios that you yourself create up to you.

Cheers.
 

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Old 12-22-2008
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khush
When have we ever seen a financial scandal where millions of people were robbed of billions of dollars that has not been more than sufficiently handled without the death penalty, something which in my mind it is offensive to insinuate should have some kind of monetry value.
The bailout.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khush
Me and the rest of the people in the world capable of making rational decisions based on logical reasoning will be busy solving problems that actually exist and leave getting offended by scenarios that you yourself create up to you.
Are you saying Kenneth Lay doesn't really exist, or that the bailout never happened?
 
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Old 12-24-2008
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Hawaiian View Post
The bailout.
Amusing, one man singly responsible for the entire enron scandal, as well as the entire bailout. Truly he achieved a lot.


Quote:
Are you saying Kenneth Lay doesn't really exist, or that the bailout never happened?
Are you saying that your arguments rarely have much details to tie them together or that gross over exagerations aren't common place in your posts?

Care to explain how one man who commited fraud is responsible for almost every major bank completely overextending their finances (including those overseas), public loss of confidence because of sub-prime mortgage sector going tits up, the subsequent drying of money loans between banks leading to the collapse of said banks then single handedly forced 205 Representatives to vote in favor of the bailout then forced 74 senators to vote in favor of the bailout. Not to mention the economic slowdowns (which have contributed to a lot of this) in over 12 nations.

All of which he achieved 2 years after his own death.

Am I getting this right?

This is seriously what you are saying?

You make me laugh
 

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Old 12-24-2008
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khush
Amusing, one man singly responsible for the entire enron scandal, as well as the entire bailout. Truly he achieved a lot.
Who said it had to be one man?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khush

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Hawaiian
The bailout.

Amusing, one man singly responsible for the entire enron scandal, as well as the entire bailout. Truly he achieved a lot.



Quote:
Are you saying Kenneth Lay doesn't really exist, or that the bailout never happened?

Are you saying that your arguments rarely have much details to tie them together or that gross over exagerations aren't common place in your posts?

Care to explain how one man who commited fraud is responsible for almost every major bank completely overextending their finances (including those overseas), public loss of confidence because of sub-prime mortgage sector going tits up, the subsequent drying of money loans between banks leading to the collapse of said banks then single handedly forced 205 Representatives to vote in favor of the bailout then forced 74 senators to vote in favor of the bailout. Not to mention the economic slowdowns (which have contributed to a lot of this) in over 12 nations.

All of which he achieved 2 years after his own death.

Am I getting this right?

This is seriously what you are saying?

You make me laugh
Straw man = no reply.
 
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Old 12-24-2008
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Hawaiian View Post
Who said it had to be one man?
Do we often convict people based on things other people done?


Quote:
Straw man = no reply.
My apologies, my grasp of reality seems to have slipped (surprised your argument hasn't come further into focus as a result tbh) did I not ask you for the name of someone responsible for an action of this magnitude and you provided the name of Kenneth Lay on it's own and then something that happened two full years after he died?

If not can you explain exactly what Kenneth Lay is personally responsible for and how this presumably should result in his death if it isn't the bailout then?

Maybe if your replies consisted of more than 15 words I wouldn't have to make so many assumptions?
 

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Old 12-24-2008
 
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Execution? No.

Life in pound-me-in-the-ass-prison with no possibility of parole? Hell yeah. Hard labor camps? Sure. Not this Club Med bullshit.
 

Last edited by JT; 12-24-2008 at 03:27 AM.
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Old 12-24-2008
 
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My point was that we walk a pretty fine line when we take what is already a morally questionable practice (the death penalty) and make it the punishment of an ethical code where only money is at risk.

To be honest it would needlessly cheapen the death penalty and I'm someone who isn't particularly fond of it. When we change the DP as being reserved for multiple brutal murderers rapists and generally the worst of our society and make them by definition comparable in any way shape or form to someone who steals money on whatever the scale - it's just idiotic.

That and the sort of emotionally charged non-existant scenarios TH described have never actually happened. To say one man is capable of such a feat is laughable, you can't even attribute the whole of the enron fall to him much less the fking bailout.

CEO's Presidents MOTB etc are all already perfectly liable in a great many ways for fraud and fucking things up enormously without wading in there with a baseless assertion that the death penalty is required.
 

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