BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY AND CHRISTIAN ETHICS 2008 • PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS ACCCORDING TO GHANDI • 7 Deadly Sins
SEVEN DEADLY SINS • Wealth without work • Pleasure without conscience • Knowledge without character • Science without humanity • Politics without principle • Religion without sacrifice • Commerce(Business) without morality/ethics
A CASE FOR ETHICS • We are capable of reasoning from cause to effect and we know that each act has consequences • We are capable of making choices on basis of human gifts—Self-awareness, Conscience, Imagination & Independent Freedom to Choose • We have finiteness; we need coherence • Human life is a dynamic phenomenon
CASE FOR ETHICS (CONT’D) • We can be taught to be good • Human life and civilization depends on ethically responsible people • A SPECIFIC IS TO ASK ABOUT BUSINESS ETHICS
WHY BUSINESS ETHICS • Business practices exert far-reaching influence on the lives of people anywhere in the world • Since business practice affects so many it is imperative that business be socially responsible • Business practitioners need help to avoid harming the general public and all stakeholders connected with business • Environment also needs to be protected from contamination by business enterprise
WHY BUSINESS ETHICS (CONT’D) • Business firms also need protection from abuse by unethical employees and unethical competitors (one third of employees steal from work place; billions of dollars lost annually) • Workers and others need protection from dangerous products and situations (mines) • Most people want to act in ways that are consistent with their own sense of right and wrong.
ETHICS DEFINED: • A careful systematic examination of how the life and person of Jesus Christ should impinge upon our moral lives, of who we are and should be and what we should do in the light of what Jesus reveals to us about God and the cause of God.
ETHICS A ND HUMAN CONDUCT –TYPES OF HUMAN ACTIVITIES • Instinctive—Amoral ( e.g. breathing, heart beat etc) • Psychological—Normal or not normal • Moral-- What has to be present: Human being, Intention, consequences, consciousness, freedom EMERGE: When inspired by moral ideal personified or conditioned; in reference to authority, compelled internally by conscience, yielding to temptation or prompted by Spirit
“HOW THEN MUST WE LIVE”? CULTURAL RELATIVISTS SAY: • No moral or ethical standards apply to all people, all places and all times • Moral practices vary from place to place, from people to people, and from time to time—Diversity Thesis • Moral practices depend on cultural context—Dependency Thesis HOW THEN DO WE SURVIVE IN A SHRINKING GLOBAL COMMUNITY?
SITUATIONALISM SAYS: • Morality cannot be prescribed • Only one thing is intrinsically good, that is LOVE. • LOVE is the ruling norm in Christian decision-making • Love and justice are the same for justice is love distributed • LOVE wills the neighbor’s good whether we like him or not
SITUATIONALISM (CONT’D) • Only the end justifies the means, nothing else • Love’s decision is made situationally and not prescriptively Strengths: Recognition of individual uniqueness Due reaction against rigid legalism Weaknesses: Subjective, not universally applied; presupposes accurate evaluation of situation by human beings; Can be selfish in seeking ends; Never defines LOVE.
CONSEQUENTIALISM—Consequences to determine act • There are TWO major strands for this theory: • There is the EGOISM strand which states that action is good if it is to interest of person/agent • There is UTILITARIANISM strand which states that action is good if it brings “greatest happiness to the greatest number.” OBJECTIONS: *Egoism is inconsistent—It is impossible to have harmony if every body pursues his own thing.
OBJECTIONS AGAINST CON)SEQUENTIALISM (cont’d • Egoism does not provide terms for settling conflicts • Egoism creates conflicts and relational problems • Two good things about Utilitarianism: It is socially conscious, and provides objective way out of dilemmas. • Utilitarianism can be unjust. Needs fairness • We do not really know what is good
OBJECTIONS TO UTILITARINISM (Cont’d) • Utilitarianism assumes that human beings know what is good and ignores their sinfulness • Utilitarianism ignores the fact some actions are bad no matter how good they appear. • The end does not justify the means. The process is as important as the intent
POLITICAL NATURALISM SAYS: • “Might makes right!” What is of interest to the powerful is right • Power is the rule of life—Thrasymachus • Justice is nothing but interest of the stronger • Rulers are shepherds who fatten their sheep for the kill • The cleverest is one who is able to impose his will upon all others. Machiavelli (1469 – 1527) revived Naturalism in his book: THE PRINCE
IN THE PRINCE, MACHIAVELLI ASSERTS: • “The ruler who abandons what is done for what ought to be done will rather learn to bring about his own ruin than his preservation.” • Two natures in a person—human and beast: the successful ruler is a human lion and a fox, keeping faith when it is for his interest, breaking faith when new conditions arise (against his interest) • Even in time of peace ruler prepares for war, bribes allies of rival states and disorders enemy
MACHIAVELLI (Cont’d) • Ruler does ANYTHING gain favor of subjects • Ruler can use any means to strengthen his position—fraud, deception, killings and other bad things for his interest • The Prince (ruler) is above restrictions of religion and ethics • Christianity is detestable because it negates strong military virtues of the ruler and condemns his exaltation to honour Philosophy that is behind totalitarianism that
POWER “ETHICS” • Machiavelli’s totalitarianism repudiated human rights, suffocated religion, liquidated individuals or anything that stood in the way of the ruler. • Friedrich Nietszche (1844 – 1900) attacked reason, morality and Christianity • Nietszche advocated the SUPERMAN who is not subject to morality • “Christian morality is the most malignant form of falsehood…It is decadent and weakening.
POWER “ETHICS” (Cont’d) • Nietszche asserted. “Christianity produces nincompoops, not men.” • The struggle for power is primary. Whatever hightens the feeling of power and desire for it is good, whatever weakens it is bad” • Courage is highest virtue: intellect, energy, virility, self-assertion and self-determination are means to power. • Humility, meekness, obedience, compassion, forgiveness etc. are evidence of weakness.
POWER “ETHICS” (Cont’d) • Christians are not free from this WILL TO POWER • “If Christians want us to believe in their Redeemer, let them appear more redeemed.” • God has died and the SUPERMAN of the future has come. Marriage laws have to be revised to eliminate the unfit races Social Darwinism and Nietszche philosophy brought about Faschism, Nazism, Communism and other forms of evil “-isms”
KARL MARX IMPACT (1818-1883) • A new social order that is rooted in evolutionary materialistic world-view • Communist Manifesto written with Engels • Political naturalism with international force • Convinced many that malady of human race is economic. Masses need economic power • Religion deludes the worker with visions of imaginary satisfaction to compensate for actual deprivations.” Hence, religion is an “instrument of social passivity” to be eliminated as the “opiate of the people.”
MARX AND ENGELS PROGRAM OF REFORM • Abolition of private property • Abolition of individual freedom to buy and sell services as well as goods, • Abolition of family in its present traditional sense • Abolitions of prevailing bourgeois culture centred on free enterprise • Abolition of religion, the opium of the people.
ATTRACTIONS OF MARXISM • Promised swift and easy material gain • Appeals to humanitarian instincts of man by forcing economic redistribution of wealth to achieve maximum good for the working classes • Asserts historical inevitability of the outcome and scientific basis in the economic determinism of nature and history.
WEAKNESSES OF MARXISM • Unrealistic on ending class distinctions • Problem of promoting absolute allegiance to the military leadership that is surrounded by propagandists who are in service of the party line, who exercise absolute control in the name of the state • It negates what it promotes by denying some people their dignity and worth as individuals • It destroys individual incentives, motivations and stifles initiative and creativity
WEAKNESSES OF MARXISM (Cont’d) • Marxism kills the goose that lays the egg by taking from productive ones to benefit the unproductive. • By rejecting family it removes that institution which is basic in the formation of a person • By rejecting religion it removes that which is basic in the formation of the moral life of a person to lead to responsible living.
CAPITALISM—Adam Smith • Wrote THE WEALTH OF NATIONS AND THEORY OF MORAL SENTIMENTS • The rich are to invest to enable others to better their conditions • Promoted private ownership even of means of production • Has influenced business with profit motive of “self-interest” and “enlightened self-interest.”
PROBLEMS OF CAPITALISM • It’s incompatible with justice • Uses sinfulness of humanity to promote productivity • Promotes human greed and selfishness leading to unjustifiable injustices we see today • May contaminate environment and exploit resources without compensation—e.g. Union Carbide Disaster in Bophal and the Ozone layer challenges • Takes advantage of less informed—Nestle Corporation
CAPITALISM AND CONSUMERISM • Currently, more than 67% of world’s population is poor • 33% are in varying degrees well-off • 7% use 50% of the world’s money and use 40% of the world’s energy • 7% has ten times more doctors than 93% The gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen at a very disturbing rate and ratio It could even be worse now because the statistics are old.
CAPITALISM IN FORMER APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA • 35 million blacks were dominated by 5 million whites • 5million whites owned 87% of the land • 35 million were entitled to 13% • Income gap between the blacks and whites was so huge that even many corporations decided to disinvest as a way of protesting against the naked injustice Such set ups lead to oppression and exploitation of groups by other groups. Hence, this is not sustainable ethically.
THE AFRICAN PHILOSOPHY OF UBUNTU • Ubuntu essence of being human. The term is not translatable. • It embraces hospitality, caring about others, being willing to go the extra mile for the sake of others • “A person is a person through other persons..” • My humanity is caught up and bound up in yours • “I am because we are…we are because I am..” • We share resources to meet community needs • Ownership is not individual but collective (Nyumba)
UBUNTU (Cont’d) • Extended family system is real family • Elders are respected • Taboos are central in upholding community values • Grievous violations like murder, robbery, disrespect for elders, failure to care for them, incest, neglect of widows and orphans are among the areas that call for taboos • A sense of community regulates behaviour.
CONSEQUENCES OF LOSS OF UBUNTU • Weakened instruments of moral education • A vacuum that has led to dangerous explosions • Uncared for widows, orphans and street children • Influx of refugees all over Africa today • Rampant promiscuity and HIV/AIDs scourge • Increased criminal behaviour • The problem of abandoning the old traditional ways without fully accepting the new or replacing with the better.
PILLARS OF CONSCIOUSNESS-BASED EDUCATIONAL MODEL (CBE) • Learning to Know—Stresses the cognitive and academic dimension of learning • Learning to do –Highlights professional training and technical know how • Learning to live together-- “The heart and soul of the African UBUNTU” and it concerns learning to live together by developing and understanding of social roles and appreciation for other people and for interdependence.
PILLARS (Cont’d) • Learning to be-- Highlights character development, with specific ethical values • Without this you may have businessmen and lawyers who lend their expertise to gain illegal profits or skirt the law • Our world is now corrupt and people are willing to do terrible things for money. For 10million people say: 23% willing to be in prostitution for a week, 16% willing to abandon spouse, 7% willing to kill an unknown human being……
THE GREATEST NEED OF THE WORLD • “The greatest want of the world is the want of men (and women) who will not be bought or sold… who in their inmost souls are true and honest,…who do not fear to call sin by its right name,…whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole,… who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” White, E. G. EDUCATION, p.57.
BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONS • Creation Story carries key concepts like: Image of God which signify dignity and value of human beings • Responsibilities given to human beings signify stewardship of power, resources, time and life itself • Covenant is basis of relationship between God and chosen human beings • Law (torah) of God’ revealed instructions is spoken of as transcript of God’s character • Law of God is eternal principle of action—self-evident, timeless and universal.
GOD’S LAW—BONDAGE OR FREEDOM? • Eternal, and universal principles of relationship • First 4 deal with vertical dimension—God and human beings • Last 6 deal with horizontal dimension– Human beings and human beings and the rest of creation • To be considered in terms of marriage relationship • They are commands that cannot be violated. One who attempts to violate is himself/herself violated
BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONS (Cont’d) • Prophets of Israel called for living in faithfulness to the Covenant • National survival and prosperity were linked to adherence to Covenant provisions • Moral rectitude was key to prosperity • Jeremiah predicted a new Covenant to be written on the heart
ETHICS AND JESUS CHRIST • Sermon on the Mount carries ethics of the Kingdom He came to establish • Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-12) carry principles with far-reaching implications for ethical living • Jesus calls for radical righteousness that exceed that of the Pharisees and Scribes • The righteousness that calls for is internalized and comes from a clean heart • The story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19) is an illustration of a converted business person
THE NEW COVENANT RELATIONSHP • The Law of God is written in the heart –Jeremiah 31:31f; Hebrews 10:16f • It’s a relational law of lovers • Deficit Motivation has no room in the New Covenant • Expression Motivation is mode of the new covenant relationship • The highest stage in Lawrence Kholberg’s Construct
MORAL REASONING • Jean Piaget’s 3 levels are Pre-Operational (Pre-Conventional), Operational (Conventional) and Post-Conventional (Post-Conventional) • Lawrence Kholberg expanded these and came up with 6 levels as follows:
MORAL REASONING—KHOLBERG’S STAGES • Punishment Obedience Orientation—Good and bad, right and wrong are only in terms of physical consequences • Instrumental Relativistic Orientation—Right Action consists of that which instrumentally satisfies one’s needs and occasionally the needs of others– “Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” • The Interpersonal Good Boy/Nice Girl Orientation—Good behavior is one that pleases others and is approved by them.
KHOLBERG’S STAGES –(Cont’d) • The Law and Order Orientation– Orientation to authority, rules and maintenance of the social order • Social Contract Legalistic Orientation– Right action is defined in terms of general individual rights and standards which have been critically examined and agreed upon by the whole society • Universal Ethical Principle Orientation– Right is defined by the decision of conscience in accord with self-chosen ethical principles appealing to logical comprehensiveness, universality and consistency.
ETHICS IN NEW TESTAMENT • Apostles taught radical righteousness that draws from the New Covenant relationship with God after the Christ event. • John emphasizes LOVE as the principle of living • James emphasizes concern for the less fortunate—the poor, the widows and the orphans • Paul has a lot to say on principles of conduct
PAULINE PRINCIPLES OF CONDUCT • Glorifying God in whatever is done • Not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers * • Not to be a stumbling block to the weak • Not to defile one’s CONSCIENCE* • To be free to act from expression motivation and not from deficit motivation * • To be thermostats and not thermometers (Rom. 12:2)
PROBLEMS FACED BY BUSINESS PEOPLE • Honesty versus Prosperity—May test truth-telling • Corruption—There is always this possibility • Competition—May replace excellence • Divided loyalties—Stakeholders, stock holders and government • Security Questions—Business people may be used as spy agents • Career mobility—Families may be affected as fathers(parents move around a lot; environment is family unfriendly
ENRICHING YOUR MARRIAGE AND FAMILY • No success in any business compensates for failure in marriage and family relationship. • Life’s ledger will reflect imbalance, if not debt (Covey) • Relationships tend toward ENTROPY • Hence, need for SYNTROPY • Investment in building relationships is not a waste • Marriage and family need investments that those who are involved need to make.
WAYS OF ENRICHING MARRIAGE AND FAMILY • Retain a long-term perspective through rigors, struggles and challenges • Rescript your marriage and family life. This is to be done by relating and modelling • Reconsider your roles—either producer, manager, leader • Reset your goals • Realign family systems • Refine 3 vital skills—time management, communication, problem solving
WAYS OF ENRICHING (Cont’d) • Regain internal security—Have a sense of personal worth • Develop family mission statement
SELECTED KNOTTY PROBLEMS • Job satisfaction, Security and fair remuneration • Equality on opportunities for employment and promotion, affirmative action programmes • Discrimination and preferential treatment at work • Employer/Employee Contracts • Occupational Safety and health • Working men and women– Implications to the family culture