Ethics and Business
I personally believe that we (or our children or grandchildren) will eventually live in a perfect world. However, my observations that I have made by now do not tend to support vigorously that believe. The reason I am talking about is that today we have been discussing CSR and ethics issues in business. My personal opinion is close to Philip’s point of view: yes, people may say that ethics and CSR is a good thing, but when the time to make money related decision comes the majority choose the most profitable investments or the cheapest products, even being aware that these products have been done unethically ( this is a very polite word, actuaaly). It is sad, but this is the world we live in.
The key issue may be that there must be a critical mass of people to make some ideas come true. Even the most perfect and sound ideas need to be supported by enough people to become the common thread things. I was a witness of falling may be the greatest ideas about the perfect world – when the USSR was breaking into pieces and all the transformation started happening with my country. That happened may be because of our leaders who were not efficient enough. May be the goals they proposed were unrealistic (who knows what could have happened if Gorbachev had been aware of Hoshin Kanri). But my opinion is that the society was not ready to build a perfect world. Our society was not ready to live quite poorly for a long time for the sake of the following generations – that is it failed.
Quite similar things happen now in western world – we do not care how they achieved these prices, but we buy these goods here because it is beneficial for our wallets. People are not ready to scarify a certain percent of their income in order to support companies that do things ethically. The positive news is that there are some people who care and who make their choices consciously in favour ethic companies. However the unethical companies will be flourishing unless the critical mass of these people arise. And we can hardly expect that this happen soon, because the ethical companies being in unethical environment (which is the case know, to be honest) experience the same things as a ethical person in unethical environment – they tend to have a tough time.