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MORAL VACUUMS and ETHICAL FITNESS. EPFP Presentation January 28, 2002. Critical World Changes. Power to create change is a global possession White nations bordering Atlantic no longer dominate world economies, political and military affairs

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moral vacuums and ethical fitness




January 28, 2002

critical world changes
Critical World Changes

Power to create change is a global possession

White nations bordering Atlantic no longer dominate world economies, political and military affairs

Asia, Africa, Middle East and others now have the power to alter the course of the world

critical world changes3
Critical World Changes

Technology and science redefining reality

Scientific knowledge is doubling at a rapid rate

Causing a redefinition of core “truths”—what is life and what is death

Natural boundaries (mountains, oceans, desserts, etc.) no longer serve to isolate peoples from one another

Within seconds, people can see what is occurring half a world away and then be there in hours

critical world changes4
Critical World Changes

Worldwide system of research, finance, production and trade

Change from local or national companies to global corporations

Technology can link global locations together in seconds

critical world changes5
Critical World Changes

Population growth

18 % of all people living in the last 2000 years

are living today

No longer is the concern to protect humans from the environment but protecting the environment from human excess

Management of cities more difficult that of many countries

critical world changes6
Critical World Changes

Changing role of western women

Women moving into leadership positions in corporations and government

Causing a change in corporate cultures from male vertical step by step thinking to more female thinking of care and relationship

impact of changes
Impact of Changes

Psychological and Spiritual Change

Struggle with the psychological concept of now being a member of a global community and no longer a member of a homogenous group

Collapse of long held foundation beliefs of what is reality and truth

Turning to religion, cults, ethic and separatist groups for true answers

impact of changes8
Impact of Changes

Countries Redefining Nationalism

Populations of countries are diverse with ever increasing numbers of cultures, religions, and ethic backgrounds as people move and resettle

impact of changes9
Impact of Changes

Worldwide Reach of Single Decisions

A single act or decision can have immediate and far reaching implications involving millions of people, countries, and ecosystems

impact of changes10
Impact of Changes

Imbalance between Information Rich and Information Poor

The division between wealthy technology rich countries and technology poor countries is growing

The division between wealthy technology rich and technology poor individuals within countries is also growing

unethical decisions
Unethical Decisions

Recent Right


Wrong Decisions

100 years ago an unethical decision by one individual had limited power and reach in affecting numbers of people and ecosystems.

Given today’s world, an individual or handful of individuals making an immoral or unethical decision can have far reaching and devastating effects for the world

1984 union carbide bhopal india
1984 - Union Carbide – Bhopal, India

Pesticide plant gas leak that killed 3,800 people, permanently disabled 2,720 and injured over 200,000 more

Union Carbide curtailed plant maintenance as a cost cutting measure—All safety systems off line

Broken Refrigeration Unit hadn’t been repaired

Alarm Systems not set properly—so no warning

Flare Tower to burn vapors not working

Scrubber to neutralize vapors not activated

No Union Carbide plan to notify and evacuate population in India even though the plant had 6 prior leaks and warning on sister plant in US (which had 28 leaks) was never send to India

Plant abandoned –Company refused to clean up extensive water and soil pollution / Paid $490 Million to date in civil settlements

1986 challenger explosion
1986 - Challenger Explosion

Political Pressure to Launch

President’s State of the Union

Vice President to view launch

Congress concerned that promise of frequent launches was not being met

European vehicle threatened to replace the shuttle

Management focused on proving action was “unsafe” vs. “safe”

Problems contained and resolved internally by management/ not forwarded to others needing to know

Overrode engineers’ opposition to the launch- belief that cold temperature and ice were not safe

1986 chernobyl nuclear disaster
1986 - Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

Flawed reactor design operated by inadequately trained personnel

Engineers disregarded safety, ran own test taking the core to melt down

30 deaths / 34 cases of radiation poisoning / 200,000 people exposed to large doses of radiation- Incidents of thyroid cancer and leukemia expected to increase

300,000 + people resettled

Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, and beyond contaminated

1989 exxon valdez oil spill
1989 - Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

Single hulled ship with Captain who had been drinking

11,000,000 gallons of crude oil spilled / only 14 % recovered – rest continues to damage ecosystem

Millions in fines assessed, Exxon has paid very little as they appeal each decision

Valdez still at sea carrying oil, barred from Alaskan waters

Captain is now a maritime insurance adjustor

1995 collapse of england s barings bank
1995 - Collapse of England’s Barings Bank

28 year old trader made 10% of Baring’s total 1993 profit– under a system of huge financial rewards

Huge 1994 losses -- concealed in 2 accounts by trader

Requested more bank funds to trade, hoping recover -- greater losses occurred

1995-Losses discovered causing England’s oldest bank to collapse

Trader now on the speaker circuit and a movie about him has been made – “The Rogue Trader”

1998 14 billion moral collapse of cendant
1998 --- $14 Billion Moral Collapse of Cendant

Merger of CUC International and Hospitality Franchise Systems (Ramada, Holiday Inn, Days Inn, Super 8 Motels, Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Travelodge) created Cendant

6 months after the merger

$500 million in accounting deception

$200 million in accounting errors

61% of CUC’s income was nonexistent

other 1999 and 2000 happenings
Other 1999 and 2000Happenings

“Florida Governor’s wife returning from Paris fails to declare $19,000 in clothing and jewelry”

Claims she did it to prevent husband from knowing how much she spent

Reporters admit bias

Reporters admit to biasing coverage to protect their corporate interests, according to new survey

2001 happenings
2001 Happenings

Three Scientists Vow to Continue Efforts to Clone Humans

Failure rates, ethical stigma, criticism from colleagues fail to dissuade them

Selected Michigan Schools Accused of Testing Irregularities on the MEAP Test

Tyson Foods Indicted on Charges of Smuggling Illegal Workers

Tyson recruited and smuggled illegal workers, providing them with fake ID papers, government charges

Love Bug Virus Crashes Computer Systems Around The World

ethics defined
Ethics Defined
  • Drawn from the traditions of moral philosophy
  • Is a standard of conduct
    • Goes beyond self interests
    • Goes beyond personal points of views
    • Based on principals that rest on a foundation of core values
    • Based on knowing right from wrong and what is right
    • Entails action

Source: Kidder, “How Good People Make Tough Choices”

core values
Core Values
  • Love (Compassion
  • Truth
  • Freedom
  • Fairness
  • Unity (Valuing Diversity)
  • Tolerance
  • Responsibility & Accountability
  • Respect for Life (Includes Environment)


importance of ethics why ethics are needed
Importance of Ethics(Why Ethics are Needed)
  • Business: Evidence of Right vs. Wrong Decisions
  • Technology: Moving Faster Than Ethics

“Smart people working in large systems making amoral decisions.” (Kidder)

  • Education: Incidences of Cheating

Not Knowing How to Lose


our hope for the future

1998 Random Survey of 10,069 U.S. Middle School Students and 10,760 U.S. High School Students

Found that 70% of the High School Students admitted to cheating on an exam in the last 12 months

1998 Survey of 953 U.S. Parents indicated they believe their teenagers lie to them: 

A lot 7%

Some of the time 47%Hardly Ever 40%

Never 6%

Don’t Know 1%

self interest vs universal good
Self Interest vs. Universal Good
  • There appears to be a breakdown in understanding the difference between:

“This is right to do.”


“I have a right to do this.”

do today s and future leaders
Do Today’s and Future Leaders
  • Have Ethical Commitment?
  • Have Ethical Consciousness?
  • Have Ethical Competency?


right vs right paradigm
Right vs. Right Paradigm
  • Truth vs. Loyalty

ex. Lying for a friend

  • Individual vs. Community
  • Short-term vs. Long-term
  • Justice vs. Mercy

Source: Kidder, “How Good People Make Tough Choices”

right vs right decision rules
Right vs. Right Decision Rules
  • Ends-Based
    • Greatest good for the greatest number
    • Ex. Cost benefit outlook, need to know future
  • Rule-Based
    • “If everybody did this.”
    • Ex. I should only do what I would want everyone else in the world to do if faced with the same situation.
  • Care-Based
    • Put yourself in the other person’s position.
    • Ex. A universal principal across all religions

Source: Kidder, “How Good People Make Tough Choices”


“In times of change

it is the learners who will inherit the earth

while the learned will find themselves

beautifully equipped for a world

that no longer exists.”

--Author Unknown