Ethics: Responsibility

1265 Words6 Pages
Vince Trav

Paper #2
April 15, 2015
The Mix of Power and Responsibility “With great power comes great responsibility”, is an infamous line from the movie Spiderman, and even though it is cliché, I’ve always found that to be very true. Power and responsibility can be explored through Phillip Zimbardo’s “The Lucifer Effect”, and how his work is related to two major financial scandals of the 21st century, which involve Enron and Bernard Madoff. In both scandals, there were people in a position of power who carried a surmounting level of responsibility, but used their power in very manipulative ways for their own personal gain. The high level executives of Enron and Bernard Madoff were on a rampant quest for money, which was the
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In the Enron and Madoff scandals there are similarities seen with how there are people involved that basically conform to the system of the fraudulent activity, and this relates to the work of Phillip Zimbardo. Zimbardo is well known for “The Lucifer Effect” and his work in human nature. A part of that is how regular, ordinary people can act against their better judgment and moral compass. The case of Enron can be related to the Lucifer Effect because there was a human character transformation in employees due to outside forces. This includes being in a dominant system that has a social context that lacks responsibility and is run by power-hungry, immoral individuals. Forces such as employees not wanting to lose their job or to fit in with the culture also play an effect as to how they would act out of their character. Zimbardo uses the metaphor, “good apples, bad barrel” when describing how the Lucifer effect can relate to corporations. There may be people within the company that are not “bad” people, but because of outside forces are forced to conform. In “The Madoff Affair” one can see the power an individual had over a lot of people, and through his power he created a lack of responsibility on a large scale and everyone went along with it. The main forces involved in the Madoff scandal that caused a lack of responsibility
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