About this blog

  • Thinking Ethics was a project launched in Geneva to foster the debate about ethics. A few friends, fed up with only reading about abuses in the media, decided to hold a forward-looking seminar on five subjects: ethics and performance, ethics and knowledge, ethics and consciousness, ethics and disobedience and ethics in real time. If moral has to do with right and wrong, then ethics is its application in society. We believe that people need to talk about the subject to determine the level of ethics they want. The book Thinking Ethics, a result of the seminar, is to start the discussion. This blog is a contribution to the conversation.


  • Andrea Spencer-Cooke
  • Pascal Marmier
  • Kelly Richdale
  • Stephen Whittle
  • Steve Bowbrick
  • Beth Krasna

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June 04, 2008


steven andresen

You said this,

"...Individual responsibilities have declined and society expects more from organisation, which has generated the whole move towards corporate social responsibility."

however, you did not indicate why we should think you are at all correct about these changes and expectations.

Maybe you think that the current media talk about being "green" and how much we hear about companies paying attention to our environment really means something. Actually, we hear a lot of talk, but we have seen no real evidence that these companies, or the ones that are quietly destroying the planet, are feeling any heat to be careful, not to pollute, to clean up after themselves, and so on. It's all talk as far as I can see.

No one has said they will pick up the little bomlets. No one will add new scrubbers. Where are the fuel efficient cars?

In fact, I think, if anything, we should expect less from both individuals and from organizations to do socially "good" things.

I think the general collapse of the economy and the complete discrediting of the political system will exacerbate the general policy of "what's mine is mine, and what's yours is negotiable."

This is what has happened in the past, and I suspect it will happen again. During the depression, we could see all over the rise of political movements that promoted authoritarian rule and wealth distribution from the poor to the rich.

We can read Naomi Klein's new book on "disaster capitalism" and hear her case that this process has been promoted even in times of relative prosperity.

No, one may hope and pray that organizations will be pressured to help the less fortunate, but, on the contrary, organizations will instead be pressured to help out those people who already have most of what there is.

The poor and the weak really cannot mount any kind of social pressure to work on their behalf.

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