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Essay on Law vs. Justice

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Introduction

Essay on Law vs. Justice Based on the many case studies and online discussions our class has had over the past eight weeks, the topic of ethics was always very prominent. Ethics is a process of evaluating actions according to one's moral principal of values. Everyday, businesses and their employees try to choose between profit and moral. Perhaps, some of them obtain both, but every time it could have roused ethical issues. Those issues concern fairness, justice, right or wrong; as a result it can only be resolved according to ethical standards. Setting the ethical standards for the way of doing business in corporations is primarily the task of management. Corporations have to maintain the same standards as an individual person and, in addition, corporations, as organizational units, have their own social responsibilities toward customers, employees and society. The law is a standard to judge by. While it is open to human interpretation and may be defined by the political philosophy of the interpreter, it differs from justice in that it provides a framework of what is right or wrong conduct. "It could be said that the law is the mechanism by which society enforces acceptable behavior." [1] Justice is, on the other hand purely subjective and relies on an individuals perception, experience, religious and circumstantial background. Justice for some may not agree with what society has made a law. Moral concepts strongly affect the law, but law and morality are not the same. Although it is tempting to say, "if it's legal, it's moral," such a proposition is generally too simplistic. Moral questions arise concerning "legal" business practices, such as failing to fulfill a promise that is not legally binding; or exporting products banned in the United States to third world countries where they are not prohibited. The mere fact that these practices are legal does not prevent them from being challenged on moral grounds. ...read more.

Middle

Ethics plays a large part in the business world and the decision-making that we all do while at work. Knowing right from wrong and doing the best we can is where ethics starts. Usually what is right in our private lives will also be what is right in our working lives. Ethics can have a great impact on most everything we do unless we have no heart whatsoever. Whenever we make a decision, we have to think about the ethical impact of our decision. Is what we are doing right or wrong? How will our decision affect others? If we want to do right in this world, we have to think in an ethical way that is in conjuncture to our morals and beliefs. In the business world, our decisions can affect the company we work for and also our very own future. Thought must be put into our decisions based on the ethical impact that they may have. An interesting issue in corporate management is social responsibilities. "Responsibilities can be defined as a set of obligations an organization has to protect and enhance in the society in which it functions."[4] There are a few main components of social responsibilities. All businesses have responsibilities to its customers. The paramount duty in this respect is to provide customers with quality and safe products. Unfortunately, not all businesses follow this rule. An example of such deception is the tobacco industry, which I feel deliberately manipulates the level of nicotine in cigarettes. Despite its declaration of managers, scrutinized research has made it clear that the industry tried to maintain the addictive level of nicotine. The purpose of it was far from humanistic addicted smokers kept buying cigarettes, making the industry prosperous and profitable. In addition to social responsibilities, organizations also have a duty of care to protect the environment. A good example was our Week 6 case study-Ashland Oil. ...read more.

Conclusion

Business is not a machine. We can't simply "fix" it with a new law here or there. The U.S.'s free market economy is made up of real people; acting on the basis of real motivations that include, but are not limited to, the desire to obey the law. People's actions, in business as in all areas of life, are deeply affected by those they deal with every day. Nowhere is this truer than with securities laws. America's complex legal system requires people in business to rely on (and persuade) attorneys and accountants. The securities laws are clearly meant to check individual and corporate greed, limiting it and channeling it to socially useful ends. However, they do so through the persons of professional advisors and experts, and those experts are not doing their job. Why? Because they don't know what their job really is or should be. As a nation, we increasingly are losing our understanding of just what it means to act fairly and honestly. To be sure, we have a multitude of laws on the books that say, in essence, "Thou shalt not lie." However, the very number and complexity of these laws, applied in different ways to almost every aspect of economic life, have blurred the basic point: Lies are evil. The very complexity of our laws has encouraged many professionals and businesspeople to find ways of conducting business that arguably fit within the letter of the law while avoiding its true intent. The game is not whether a statement is true, but whether it can be defended as not knowingly false. Moreover, those accountants and lawyers who choose to game the system are seldom caught and punished because their professional associations--those who are supposed to police their conduct--no longer understand what it really means to lie or tell the troth. We have become so tolerant of half-truths, hair-splitting definitions, and the notion that truth is "subjective" that we have lost our ability to enforce basic, commonsense honesty, even where it is crucial to our economic well being. ...read more.

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