To try and prevent a mass defection of readers from the blahg this week as we dive into this topic of ethics, today we’re going to lay out a bunch of current examples from real life that most definitely involve big important questions, that will hopefully keep you interested. These may not all fall under the classic definition of “ethics” but they’re definitely sticky situations and other challenges that are worth examining.
Matt Damon on Project Greenlight, discussing which director to hire
NSFW based on visual at the end; this was the best video of the relevant clip we could find, but please note that the person posting the clip has a strong opinion about it
Full explanation – workplace friendly but also from the ‘progressive’ side, and very long:
That was in September 2015 – before #OscarsSoWhite. If you don’t know what that’s about, go here .
Implementing Organizational Change
— Essay Snark (@EssaySnark) January 20, 2016
Essentially what’s going on here is a Stanford GSB alum took over as president of a small Catholic college and has been trying to implement goals around increasing enrollment and improving the graduation rate – and he made some not-so-sensitive comments reflecting his tactics (paraphrasing: freshman are little bunnies and sometimes they need to be drowned). The original story broke in the student newspaper and was covered in the Washington Post in January, with new developments in February that professors protesting his actions had been summarily fired . Maybe he wasn’t paying attention in his Touchy-Feely class?
That situation is still unfolding. The last we heard, there was a poll among students and the vast majority said they wanted him to stay. Update 3/1/16: The dean has resigned, effective immediately.
You heard of Pharma Bro , yes?
tl;dr is that the former hedge fund manager turned biotech CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals acquired a niche lifesaving drug that is needed only in rare cases – and proceeded to jack up the price.
There’s lots of examples in this category including Uber’s PR fiasco with
price gouging surge pricing around Hurricane Sandy .
A simplistic definition of gentrification is rich people moving into what were previously “poor” neighborhoods and the increasing demand jacks up the rent, making it impossible for the original residents to afford it. It’s the wealthy squeezing out the less advantaged. There are ethical challenges right and left in such situations, playing out on a grand scale in the Bay Area right now, between the technology industry and the regular citizens. The Google Bus is one visible manifestation of it.
Those are more systemic problems though. They still need to be grappled with but they aren’t caused by one company or individual. It’s a difficult byproduct of market forces. The ‘invisible hand’ is not fair.
All of that is just the backdrop to this example of a lapse of good judgment by one of the tech crowd: A privileged white programmer dude complains about the homeless people in San Francisco. Here’s the 2013 version, courtesy of Gawker’s ValleyWag (same story, different white guy).
No easy answers to the situation, but we do request that when you achieve (more) success in the world, that you please don’t act like this.
Students are doing it more than ever (cheating, that is) and high-achievers are no exception.
Those are some that jumped to mind. Any other items in the news that you want to mention, where people have acted poorly in situations where they should know better? Any reactions to the stories we’ve listed here? Or, what’s your definition of ethics and how do you question yourself when faced with a tough decision? We’d be interested in hearing any comments from all you lurkers out there!