Professional Ethics

10396 WordsJun 14, 201242 Pages
Journal of Accounting, Ethics & Public Policy Volume 3, Number 1 (Winter 2003), pp. 1‐26 Ayn Rand and Contemporary Business Ethics Stephen R. C. Hicks Introduction: business and the free society Advocates of the free society think of business as an integral part of the dynamic, progressive society they advocate. In the West, the rise of a culture hospitable to business has unleashed incalculable productive energies. Business professionals have taken the products of science and revolutionized the fields of agriculture, transportation, and medicine. Business professionals have taken the products of art and dramatically increased our access to them. We have more food, we are more mobile, we have more health care, we have…show more content…
Business exists and flourishes to the extent individuals in the business world are productive and cooperative, so the major part of business ethics should be about what principles enable individuals to function productively and cooperatively. But because of the problems that can be created by irresponsible, irrational, and uncooperative individuals, part of business ethics deals with how productive individuals should solve the problems caused by the irresponsible. This thesis, however, implies a recasting of current business ethics, since the currently dominant models hold the reverse—that business is, in principle, amoral or immoral, and that ethical behavior is the exception. My thesis is that the core of business is moral just as the core of any valid profession is moral: education, science, art. The profession of education creates value: the transmission of knowledge from one generation to theJournal of Accounting, Ethics & Public Policy Volume 3, Number 1 (Winter 2003) 3 next. The profession of science creates value: the discovery of new knowledge. The profession of art creates value: objects that express and evoke important human themes. In each profession, some individuals act unethically. But such individuals are quite rightly not taken as representative of the nature of education, science, art. Business, however, is placed by most ethicists in a special, problematic category. In doing so, most

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