Ethics conversation questions

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Ethics is the branch of philosophy that examines concepts of right and wrong conduct.

Business ethics[edit]

There have been many cases recently of multinational companies resorting to financial engineering to avoid paying taxes in the countries in which they do business.

  • Do you know of any cases in your country?
  • Such companies are not actually breaking any law: they are simply being very creative in their interpretation of tax laws, and very often claim that their real contribution to society is creating employment. What is your opinion?
  • What do you think about the fact that there are cases in which the highest paid executives of a company, with no other income than the salary they are paid, actually pay more tax than the company they run?
  • Many multinationals actually get tax refunds (aka tax rebates)., i.e. the government has to return some, or all of the taxes paid by that company. How do you feel about that?
  • In some countries, the corporate tax rate is lower than the income tax rate for employees. What are your views on that?
  • Women are paid, on average, around 30% less than men for the same job. How do you feel about that? Do you know of any cases?

Ethics in politics[edit]

  • What are the differences, if any, between legal responsibility and political responsibility?
  • If political responsibility is necessary, at what level does the "buck" stop?
  • If criminal charges are brought against a politician, should that politician step down? Even if he is innocent and clearly the victim of a smear campaign?

Marketing ethics[edit]

  • Several studies show that over 75% of advertising is misleading, at best. Can you think of any particular advert that you considered misleading?
  • Of the above, around 70% use humour to disguise deceptive marketing practices. Can you think of any "funny" advert that doesn't actually tell you anything about the product?
  • How do you feel about the ethics of advertising?
  • Should advertisers, i.e. the professional advertising companies and their clients, be self-regulated or should they come under the control of an independent/government watchdog?

Whistle-blowing[edit]

  • Whistle-blowing refers to someone from inside an organisation making public illicit activities being carried out by that organisation. How do you feel about whistle-blowing?
  • Do you know of any cases in your country?
  • What do you think you would do if you were in such a situation?

See also[edit]