Discussion 3

Ch.3: Does the fact that certain practices are common in business (e.g., deceptive packaging, pollution up to the limits permitted by law, etc.) provide a moral justification for those in business to behave in these ways? Why or why not?

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28 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Carol Kines on 2011/07/11 at 8:19 PM

    I contend that common practices in businesses such as deceptive packaging do not provide moral justification for businesses to behave in this manner. In chapter one of our text we learned that conventional morality is not the same as reflective morality. As such, the excuse that business uses that “everyone is doing it” does not give this practice a privileged status. I disagree with Carr’s philosophy that business is a game, and that businesses are permitted to deceive the public. I also disagree that just because a business practice is not illegal, it is not considered by Carr to be immoral. Rather, I agree with Gillespie that businesses have the responsibility to be honest and not deceive the public. As we look at the massive problems that have resulted from recent poor business practices and widespread incompetence/immorality in business, it is obvious that businesses need to take a close look at honesty and morality, and put practices in place in their companies to assure they are working in the best interests of their employees, shareholders, and the public at large.
    CKines

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  2. I do not feel that deceptive business practices are justifiable simply because “everyone else is doing it;” I strongly agree with N.Gillespie in his rejection of Carr’s business ethics. “The obvious fallacy in the ‘business-as-a-game’ idea is that, unlike poker, business is NOT (emphasis mine) a game. People’s lives, their well-being, their plans, and their futures often depend upon business and the way it is conducted. Indeed, people usually exchange part of their lives (i.e., the portion spent earning money) for certain goods and services. They have the right not to be misled or deceived about the true nature of those goods or services.” (Gillespie’s essay in Callahan, p.73) Furthermore, if all of society were to take Carr’s approach, “business-as-a-game,” where deception and bluffing are common and actually expected, how could we ever decide whom to trust? by whomever is the “least” deceptive? Deception is deception, there is no middle ground.

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  3. I do not feel that deceptive business practices are justifiable simply because “everyone else is doing it;” I strongly agree with N.Gillespie in his rejection of Carr’s business ethics. “The obvious fallacy in the ‘business-as-a-game’ idea is that, unlike poker, business is NOT (emphasis mine) a game. People’s lives, their well-being, their plans, and their futures often depend upon business and the way it is conducted. Indeed, people usually exchange part of their lives (i.e., the portion spent earning money) for certain goods and services. They have the right not to be misled or deceived about the true nature of those goods or services.” (Gillespie’s essay in Callahan, p.73) Furthermore, if all of society were to take Carr’s approach, “business-as-a-game,” where deception and bluffing are common and actually expected, how could we ever decide whom to trust? by whomever is the “least” deceptive? Deception is deception, there is no middle ground.
    sbayus

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  4. Posted by Mike Senchak on 2011/07/15 at 1:26 PM

    Although I know that one of the criteria in writing these posts are that I not be “wishy washy” but I cannot cleary say just yes or no to the question posed. In most instances I tend to believe that yes, most common business pratices provide moral justification. If everyone else is doing it and it is not illegal then in most cases it is morally just. As in many things in life, these instances have extremes. I tend to fall more in the middle on this topic. On one hand I would not be comfortable terrifying the elderly into buying my product. I would however be just fine with packaging my product a certain way that may sell more, as long as it is within the confines of the law. If this issue had two sides with Carr being on one side and Gillespie being the other side, I would fall on the side with Carr. Most prominantly I feel as though business is like a game, as Carr mentions. Also, Carr says, “deception in business does not equal deception in private life”. I totally agree with that and feel that so many of the terrible news stories that we hear regarding white collar crime are those people unable to keep these two seperate.

    .

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  5. Posted by Michael Green on 2011/07/16 at 5:16 PM

    Anything deceptive seems wrong to me. Take potato chips, You get that big ole bag but its only at best half full. The rest is all air. They do that trying to fool you into thinking that you are getting more than you actually are. Not only does the consumer not get all that he/she thinks they are getting, but the company is wasting all the that extra packaging to do it. And where does that extra packaging end up? Right in our landfills or even more sadly, along our streets.

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  6. Posted by Misty Bess on 2011/07/19 at 8:39 PM

    I do not believe that these common business practices bestow a moral justification. I agree with Gillespie’s reasoning in our textbook that “duties in business do not constitute a separate form of morality.” It is true that people (i.e., consumers) invest their monetary funds into these companies and believe in the claims on packaging that indicate the high value of their purchase. It is the responsibility of the companies to deliver on their promises and to be able to authenticate their product. The effects of a companies manufactured good on the economy should also be made available to the general public. I feel it is a right to know what we as the public are investing in, as well as the potential consequences it may have. This gives the corporations and business leaders the responsibility to not deceive or mislead the rest of us. Speaking for myself, I would be more inclined to procure products from a manufacturer that had a reputation for being honest and what Gillespie deems as good business ethics, even if it meant spending more money. Although, a lot of these questionable business decisions are made to gain more capital, I wonder if a new regard for honesty and reliability towards the consumers possessions would also advance revenue farther.

    MBess

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  7. Posted by NChaney on 2011/07/20 at 11:12 PM

    I don’t believe that these so called business practices have a moral justification. The best example of this that everyone can agree on is the oil industry. There is no way that anyone can say what they do is morally right. Pay close attention to the price of gas when you drive by the gas station next time. The first time you pass by it may be say… $3.50, but later that week and sometimes later that day it can be $3.70. How is this considered a business practice? It’s not. Therefore I believe Carr’s explanination of business to be like that of a poker game disturbing. Gillepsie definition of good business ethics is much more acceptable. I don’t see how one can conform to the idea Carr proposes. What he believes to be true about business is like saying everyone else does drugs, so it must be ok for me to do them as well. The problem with most businesses today is greed. They all are out to protect their own back pocket

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  8. I don’t believe that these so called business practices have a moral justification The effects of a companies manufactured good on the economy should also be made available to the general public. I feel it is a right to know what we as the public are investing in, as well as the potential consequences I feel as though business is like a game., and put practices in place in their companies to assure they are working in the best interests of their employees, shareholders, and the public at large.
    i mean thats what i think is a good ideal as far as moral justication the companies need to be more understandingThe positive sense of justification, on the other hand, involves bringing others to see our actions as reasonable. In this sense, a course of action is justified if there are better reasons in favour of it than there are against it. Preferably, these reasons should be ones that other people could agree are good ones. It is this sense of justification that is important for morality. Moral justification, then, means showing that there are more or better moral reasons weighing for a course of action than against it.

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  9. Posted by Ashley Whitford on 2011/07/28 at 5:42 PM

    I do not believe that these common business practices have any moral justification. In Carr’s article he writes that if another company produces a deception; your company should produce the same deception because if you do not, you will be at a disadvantage. I believe this to be a false statement. Just because everyone else is doing it does not mean that you should do it too. If every company goes around and decieves the public, which I believe to be morally unjust, then we the public are at a disadvatage, which Gillespie writes in his essay. We are the ones that are suffering from the immoral deception of the compaines. We are subject to paying higher prices for products that may not be as good of a standard as we realize. Another reason why I think there is no moral justification behind these practices is that although the company may start off producing small, common deceptions, if the company starts to sink, they may be tempted to produce larger deceptions that all together may lead to a disaster in the company. A good example of this is the Phar-Mor scandal. At first they had just produced small deceptions that they had perceived to be common and fixable, then their company began to sink into a deeper and deeper hole, to the point where they never recovered. This makes me believe that even though some companies say that they only deceive the public as much as the next person, you never know just where the deception ends and how many people will get hurt in the process.

    AWhitford

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  10. It is never morally justifable for a business to be deceptive. Even if they know it’s possible to get a way with it. Many times this ends up hurting the consumer financially and emotionally. I have a big problem with this. To many times I have bought toys for my child that were advertisted on television to do certain things and when I bring them home, my daughter cries because, they never do what is promised . Not to mention the toys are extremely expensive. So you end up spending a fortune on a toy thats a piece of junk. Business should be held accountable for this. Tjohnson

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  11. Posted by Walter Bell on 2011/07/31 at 6:32 PM

    Although Carr is right on many points in the business world including offers that other businesmen will take advantage of if you don’t and if it’s not illegal than they have a clearance to pollute or whatever the case may be. However, just because this is the way things are, I believe it shouldn’t be morally justified. Just because the business world comes down to the bottom line, does not mean that morals can just be tossed out. Although business practice has leeway on certain activities, I believe a business should put their humanitarian and environmental interests above business. You can’t put business and money above the right thing for people and the environment. We all live in this world and taking care of each other and the planet should be higher priority than what is allowed legally for pollution and other matters.

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  12. Posted by Kayla Torres on 2011/08/03 at 3:38 PM

    It is not justifiable to be immoral because the other guy is doing it. If everyone in this world followed that same path, we would not have the morality to even know the difference. Business is a slippery slope and many find it easy to cut corners to save a buck, but the better businessman is not necessarily the most frugal. In the days of “going green” more and more businesses are seeing the advantages of being environmentally and socially responsible.

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  13. Posted by Kimberly Bertmeyer on 2011/08/04 at 3:38 AM

    Just because acts like pollution and deceptive packaging are common practices among businesses, does not make them morally justified. Just because everyone else is doing something does not make it moral. If everyone was to start committing murders tomorrow, would that make it morally acceptable for us to do it too? Of course not. It is common for businesses to engage in these moral acts because businesses only care about profit and are greedy. If they think they can get away with certain things to make more money, then they will. Then every once in a while they will make some big donation or start some volunteer project to make themselves look good. Companies that are responsible for large amounts of pollution will start a volunteer project that involves clean up of such pollution. This would not be necessary if they simply did not pollute to begin with. I realize that businesses want to make money because that is essentially their purpose. I don’t think that businesses need to be deceptive in order to that. If businesses were more honest, people would still buy their products and perhaps even more people would buy their products. People and customers value honesty. Its very hard to come across these days. I agree with Gillespie. Businesses have a duty not to deceive the customers because they invest a portion of their lives into goods and services. By no means is it morally justifiable for businesses to engage in these practices simply because they are common.

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  14. Posted by Dominic DeRose on 2011/08/04 at 6:56 PM

    No they are not moral or justifiable. Just because everyone is doing one thing does not make it moral. Also just because they are polluting up to the legal limit does not also make it moral. Carr may think that business is a game that should only be followed to the letter of the law, but I agree more with Gillespie and think that business professions should have to follow the same moral standards that ordinary people follow. Common practices like deceptive packaging is fraud by any other term for example.

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  15. Posted by Hilary Carr on 2011/08/04 at 6:56 PM

    I do not believe these practices are morally justified, however I have to agree that if they are legally permitted to do it, then there’s really not much argument against them.
    I agree with the poker game analogy to some extent, because business really is a like a game, but just because the practices are accepted doesn’t mean the people doing them should feel moral.
    I’m not saying that the “everybody’s doing it” excuse makes it any more moral, I just think that these practices are an integral part of the business world and it is probably hard to find a business who doesn’t take part in them.
    I would hope that the people in charge are trying their best to make moral decisions, but when it all comes down to it, they have to keep their business afloat.

    P.S. I understand the “deceptive packaging” and how it is misleading in some cases, however, in response to the much brought up potato chip example, if there wasn’t all that air keeping the bag puffed out, your chips would be crushed and no one wants that…

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  16. Posted by Nicole Zarzycki on 2011/08/06 at 10:46 PM

    Throughout life we all have to do things we may not like or agree with. But in this world if we want to get ahead we cannot just sit back and let the other person make his move. Carr states ” if a businessman does not take advantage of a legal opportunity, others will surely do so” (pg. 73). If a man or woman in a business wants to get ahead sometimes he or she will have to do things they may not agree with. But if you want to get ahead you will have to put those ideal aside, at least in the office, and make the move. As to answer the question of wether the businessman is morally justified I would have to say yes because Carr says ” in this competition, the rules are different from what they are in ordinary social dealings…it is not unethical or immoral to abide by the current rules of business.” (pg. 73).

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  17. Posted by Natalie Haynam on 2011/08/07 at 3:05 PM

    I do not believe a moral justification can be provided for those in business to behave in these matters. Gillespie rejects Carr’s claim that business creates a context with a special morality of its own. The fact that businesses are participating in practices such as: deceptive packaging and pollution up to the limits permitted by law do not give them a special privilege to be the exception to what is morally right or wrong. The deceptive acts businesses do on a daily basis can in no way be morally justifiable. The term “business is business” as our book words it, can be found among many corporations and businesses today. Just because individuals are part of a business does not excuse them from the moral rules and principles everyone else who is not part of that business follows. When you become part of a business or create a business, it should be run in a way that is morally justified, and does not go as far to deceive others. Employees of that business may be forced into deceiving clients, or other departments within the business at any given time, but by doing so they are refraining from the truth and misleading others in order to get a job done and profit off of it. This may cause an individual or group of people to get hurt or become betrayed, and the actions of these consequences cannot be morally justifiable. In the end, deceiving and misleading others to obtain a better outcome for your business is morally wrong and one cannot provide a moral justification to it.

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    • Posted by mnortey on 2011/08/07 at 6:40 PM

      Most common business practices do in fact provide a moral justification, in fact if all other business’s are doing so and it is not against the law it seems to be understood every other practice neighboring will follow suit. that is not morally justifiable in any matter but such things do happen especially when money is involved and there are ways to cheat the system in order to make more money. but as a businessman it is a duty to compete with others in order for your business to prosper which in the field of business makes it ok and morally justifiable. which still doesn’t make sense in my mind but the game of a business man is very different than the ordinary social lifestyle.

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  18. I believe there is a large moral gap between businesses conducting morally justified activities versus activities that are allowed by law. As Gillespie explains, there is more at stake than money. This goes for the consumers buying the product and even for consumers that don’t buy a specific companies product. A company may be under the pollution levels, however, it is affecting all of the people and animals in the general environment. Businesses should understand the harm they could be doing, and ought to try to fix the problem. Deceptive packaging is a very common practice, and consumers are lied to everyday. It is not right to deceive your customers since they are investing in your company. The company needs to realize that it is their image at stake and could potentially harm someone if their product assumes a different purpose. So instead of businesses adopting an ‘everyone is doing it’ purpose, the business needs to realize the consequences that some of their activities could entail. For a company to be recognized as ethical and morally cautious is a great way to increase their customer base and increase profits, while ensuring a safe environment for their employee’s and the general consumer.

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  19. Posted by Michelle Green on 2011/08/09 at 1:53 AM

    Common practices in business that harm the environment is not morally justified. Just because its common place and acceptable in the business world does not make it morally ok. Everyone leaves on this planet and everyone is affected by the environment. Pollutions cause people to get sick and animals to die all the time. Ask them if they feel pollution morally justified.

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  20. Posted by Molly Jones on 2011/08/09 at 6:01 PM

    In my opinion I think that there is always a better solution to a problem no matter what. So even though I believe that if companies/ businesses are deceptiving their packaging or causing pollution up to the limits permitted by the law I believe that they are morally justified to do so. For example, a cereal box; the company who packages that cereal probably knows that there is a better way of packaging it than having the cereal in a plastic bag and then the bag inside a box to limit pollution. However if they just used the plastic bag are cereal would have more crums and if they only used the box are cereal probably wouldn’t be as fresh tasting. Even though there is probably another, better way of packaging cereal this business does it this way because the bag keeps the cereal fresh and the box keeps it from having more crums, also the box acts like an advertisment with the games and prizes that can be won; therefore it is in higher demand than other cereals.
    Aside from all this, even though there is a better way to package the cereal it is the way that it works out for the customer and for the business, everyone is happy and I don’t believe that just because there is a better way to do something that it is not morally justified because they are keeping their limits still.

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  21. Posted by Marc Kosec on 2011/08/09 at 11:32 PM

    In my opinion, business operations that are within the law are simply that, within the law. Although the law is not what decides a moral bound, it is a voted on agreement of the people of what is assumed to be, legally acceptable. This vote put in front of the people and chosen on by the people may not provide a moral line, however it does provide a legal sense of morality. The example given of a business polluting to the legal limit cannot be judged from a person as a moral decision. The government, which is supposed to be a voice of the people, it giving this business a limit saying “it is okay to pollute this much.” This is, in a sense, your own voice giving the okay to that business to pollute that much.
    All in all, I cannot say that I would comfortable judging the morality of a business’ actions as long as it is within the realm of the law.

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  22. I believe that it doesn’t give these businesses a moral justification to act this way. Businesses are acting on their own set of morals separate from ordinary moral agents. The poker game is in fact how business is done, but it doesn’t mean that business ought to be done in this fashion. According to Gillespie’s views he shows that business isn’t a game and people’s lives are being affected by the deception of businesses. Just because the others are doing things such as polluting doesn’t justify them morally to do it. One may critique this and say if the cost of doing the right thing is too high on the business then they should make an exception. The considerations in determining ones duties in such circumstances doesn’t constitute a special set of factors are relevant only in business. Though these situations ought to be different it will require the combined efforts of many people to change it. Just using ordinary moral rules in these situations is inadequate. There ought to be a better solution.

    MTobin

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  23. Posted by Michael Sammartino on 2011/08/10 at 8:06 PM

    I believe that the above being “common practices” does not morally justify businesses acting in this way. However, I believe that because it is a business, the only thing in their mind is profit which makes the above necessary. In my opinion the restrictions such as air pollution limits make it nearly impossible for business to earn profit. For example, power plants in Ohio actually make more money paying EPA fines for air pollution than incur the costs of running scrubber systems to make the air cleaner. It turns out this way because of… standards. Spend hundred’s of thousands to clean the air and lose money, or spend thousands to pollute and make money? Simple decision.

    -msammartino

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  24. Posted by Leah Richards on 2011/08/11 at 3:29 PM

    Gillespie said it best by stating that a business has certain responsibilities to be honest to their consumers and to the public. I do not think or agree that businesses should practice such deceiving acts. Just because other businesses say it is a good idea to lie, it shouldn’t provide every business a moral justification to behave in untrustworthy ways. The public should be treated with respect and honesty, not with lies and deception.

    -LRichards

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  25. Posted by Philip Ciprian on 2011/08/11 at 6:39 PM

    In today’s world, it seems that it has just become generally acceptable to be deceptive in advertising. I don’t believe it is morally acceptable to practice this, however, it has become so commonplace that most people just seem to deal with it. Any advertisement you see wherever always has fine print. It is difficult to invest in anything today without asking yourself “What’s the catch?” Even little things. The fact is that most, if not all, companies do practice this and society has just become so used to it that it is not noticed and just subconsciously accepted. With that being said, it would take a strong movement to change the way any of these companies behave.

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  26. Posted by JScacchetti on 2011/08/11 at 11:17 PM

    I do not believe that it provides a moral justification. For example, I recently toured a ‘dirty coal’ power plant earlier this summer. They talked how they spent millions on scrubbers to clean the chemical byproducts that burning the coal produces. The guy giving me the tour then added that they rarely ever use it nowadays because it costs 200 dollars per ton of air to clean, and only 10 dollars to buy the ‘green credit’ that allows them to release the pollutants into the air without doing any extra cleaning that is mandated by the government. They are skipping on the optional cleaning in order to make the extra money. In my eyes that is not morally permissible, however so many companies follow those procedures that it’s taboo to pay the extra to clean.

    It’s not morally permissible because the right thing to do is to better all people around you, not just your shareholders.

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