Chapter 11 questions




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F o u r t h E d i t i o n

J o s e p h D e s J a r d i n s C o l l e g e o f S t . B e n e d i c t / S t . J o h n ’ s U n i v e r s i t y

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Published by McGraw-Hill, a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. Copyright © 2011 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Previous editions © 2009, 2006, and 2003. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written consent of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., including, but not limited to, in any network or other electronic storage or transmission, or broadcast for distance learning.

Some ancillaries, including electronic and print components, may not be available to customers outside the United States.

This book is printed on acid-free paper.

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ISBN: 978-0-07-353581-4 MHID: 0-07-353581-8

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

DesJardins, Joseph R. An introduction to business ethics / Joseph DesJardins.—4th ed. p. cm. ISBN-13: 978-0-07-353581-4 (pbk.) ISBN-10: 0-07-353581-8 (pbk.) 1. Business ethics. I. Title. HF5387.D392 2011 174’.4—dc22


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About the Author

Joe DesJardins is Associate Provost and Academic Dean, as well as Professor in the Department of Philosophy, at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University in Minnesota. His other books include Business Ethics: Decision Mak- ing for Personal Integrity and Social Responsibility (with Laura Hartman); Environ- mental Ethics: An Introduction to Environmental Philosophy; Environmental Ethics: Concepts, Policy, and Theory; Contemporary Issues in Business Ethics (co-editor with John McCall); and Business, Ethics, and the Environment. He is the former Execu- tive Director of the Society for Business Ethics, and has published and lectured extensively in the areas of business ethics, environmental ethics, and sustain- ability. He received his B.A. from Southern Connecticut State University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. He previously taught at Villanova University.

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To Linda

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Preface xii

Chapter One: Why Study Ethics? 1

Learning Objectives 1 Discussion Case: Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme 2 Discussion Questions 3 1.1 Why Study Business Ethics? 3 1.2 Values and Ethics: Doing Good and Doing Well 6 1.3 The Nature and Goals of Business Ethics 9 1.4 Business Ethics and the Law 11 1.5 Ethics and Ethos 13 1.6 Morality, Virtues, and Social Ethics 14 1.7 Ethical Perspectives: Managers and Other Stakeholders 15 1.8 A Model for Ethical Decision Making 16 Refl ections on the Chapter Discussion Case 17 Chapter Review Questions 18

Chapter Two: Ethical Theory and Business 20

Learning Objectives 20 Discussion Case: AIG Bonuses and Executive Salary Caps 21 Discussion Questions 22 2.1 Introduction 23 2.2 Ethical Relativism and Reasoning in Ethics 24 2.3 Modern Ethical Theory: Utilitarian Ethics 29 2.4 Challenges to Utilitarianism 33 2.5 Utilitarianism and Business Policy 35 2.6 Deontological Ethics 37 2.7 Virtue Ethics 41 2.8 Summary and Review 44 Refl ections on the Chapter Discussion Case 45 Chapter Review Questions 46

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viii Contents

Chapter Three: Corporate Social Responsibility 48

Learning Objectives 48 Discussion Case: Walmart: Socially Responsible and Green? 49 Discussion Questions 53 3.1 Introduction 54 3.2 The Economic Model of Corporate Social Responsibility 54 3.3 Critical Assessment of the Economic Model:

The Utilitarian Defense 56 3.4 Critical Assessment of the Economic Model:

The Private Property Defense 61 3.5 The Philanthropic Model of Corporate Social Responsibility 64 3.6 Modifi ed Version of the Economic Model: The Moral Minimum 66 3.7 The Stakeholder Model of Corporate Social Responsibility 68 3.8 Strategic Model of Corporate Social Responsibility:

Sustainability 72 3.9 Summary and Review 74 Refl ections on the Chapter Discussion Case 76 Chapter Review Questions 77

Chapter Four: Corporate Culture, Governance, and Ethical Leadership 80

Learning Objectives 80 Discussion Case: Is Steve Jobs Health a Private Matter? 81 Discussion Questions 82 4.1 Introduction 83 4.2 What is Corporate Culture? 83 4.3 Culture and Ethics 85 4.4 Ethical Leadership and Corporate Culture 87 4.5 Effective Leadership and Ethical Leadership 88 4.6 Building a Values-Based Corporate Culture 90 4.7 Mandating and Enforcing Ethical Culture:

The Federal Sentencing Guidelines 93 Refl ections on the Chapter Discussion Case 95 Chapter Review Questions 96

Chapter Five: The Meaning and Value of Work 99

Learning Objectives 99 Discussion Case: Social Enterprises and Social Entrepreneurs 100 Discussion Questions 102 5.1 Introduction 102 5.2 The Meanings of Work 104 5.3 The Value of Work 106 5.4 Conventional Views of Work 109 5.5 The Human Fulfi llment Model 111

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Contents ix

5.6 The Liberal Model of Work 114 5.7 Business’s Responsibility for Meaningful Work 116 Refl ections on the Chapter Discussion Case 118 Chapter Review Questions 118

Chapter Six: Moral Rights in the Workplace 121

Learning Objectives 121 Discussion Case: Electronic Privacy at Work 122 Discussion Questions 123 6.1 Introduction: Employee Rights 123 6.2 The Right to Work 125 6.3 Employment at Will 129 6.4 Due Process in the Workplace 130 6.5 Participation Rights 133 6.6 Employee Health and Safety 136 6.7 Privacy in the Workplace 141 Refl ections on the Chapter Discussion Case 144 Chapter Review Questions 145

Chapter Seven: Employee Responsibilities 147

Learning Objectives 147 Discussion Case: Confl icts of Interests in Subprime Mortgages

and at Enron 148 Discussion Questions 153 7.1 Introduction 154 7.2 The Narrow View of Employee Responsibilities:

Employees as Agents 155 7.3 Professional Ethics and the Gatekeeper Function 159 7.4 Managerial Responsibility and Confl icts of Interests 162 7.5 Trust and Loyalty in the Workplace 165 7.6 Responsibilities to Third Parties: Honesty, Whistle-blowing,

and Insider Trading 168 Refl ections on the Chapter Discussion Case 174 Chapter Review Questions 175

Chapter Eight: Marketing Ethics: Product Safety and Pricing 177

Learning Objectives 177 Discussion Case: Life Cycle Responsibility for Products 178 Discussion Questions 179 8.1 Introduction: Marketing and Ethics 180 8.2 Ethical Issues in Marketing: An Overview 181 8.3 Ethical Responsibility for Products: From

Caveat Emptor to Negligence 183

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x Contents

8.4 Strict Product Liability 188 8.5 Ethics and Pricing 191 Refl ections on the Chapter Discussion Case 195 Chapter Review Questions 196

Chapter Nine: Marketing Ethics: Advertising and Target Marketing 198

Learning Objectives 198 Discussion Case: Predatory Lending: Subprime Mortgages and Credit Cards 199 Discussion Questions 201 9.1 Introduction: Ethics of Sales, Advertising, and

Product Placement 201 9.2 Regulating Deceptive and Unfair Sales and Advertising 204 9.3 Marketing Ethics and Consumer Autonomy 207 9.4 Targeting the Vulnerable: Marketing and Sales 212 Refl ections on the Chapter Discussion Case 216 Chapter Review Questions 218

Chapter Ten: Business’s Environmental Responsibilities 220

Learning Objectives 220 Discussion Case: Sustainable Business 221 Discussion Questions 223 10.1 Corporate Social Responsibility and the Environment 223 10.2 Business’s Responsibility as Environmental Regulation 228 10.3 Business Ethics and Sustainable Economics 229 10.4 Business Ethics in the Age of Sustainable Development 233 10.5 The “Business Case” for Sustainability 237 Refl ections on the Chapter Discussion Case 238 Chapter Review Questions 239

Chapter Eleven: Diversity and Discrimination 241

Learning Objectives 241 Discussion Case: Reverse Discrimination? 242 Discussion Questions 243 11.1 Introduction: Diversity and Equality 243 11.2 Discrimination, Equal Opportunity, and Affi rmative Action 245 11.3 Preferential Treatment in Employment 251 11.4 Arguments Against Preferential Hiring 254 11.5 Arguments in Support of Preferential Hiring 258 11.6 Sexual Harassment in the Workplace 261 Refl ections on the Chapter Discussion Case 265 Chapter Review Questions 266

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Contents xi

Chapter Twelve: International Business and Globalization 268

Learning Objectives 268 Discussion Case: Google and Doing Business in China 269 Discussion Questions 271 12.1 Introduction 271 12.2 Ethical Relativism and Cross-Cultural Values 272 12.3 Cross-Cultural Values and International Rights 275 12.4 Globalization and International Business 277 12.5 Globalization and the Poor 279 12.6 “Race to the Bottom” 281 12.7 Democracy, Cultural Integrity, and Human Rights 283 Refl ections on the Chapter Discussion Case 286 Chapter Review Questions 287

Photo Credits 289 Index 291

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Preface to the Fourth Edition

My overarching goal in the fourth edition of this text remains what it was for the fi rst edition: “to provide a clear, concise, and reasonably comprehensive introductory survey of the ethical choices available to us in business.” This book arose from the challenges encountered in my own teaching of business ethics. Over the years I have taught business ethics in many settings and with many formats. I sometimes relied on an anthology of readings, other times I emphasized case studies. I taught business ethics as a lecture course and in a small seminar. Most recently, I taught business ethics exclusively to under- graduates in a liberal arts setting. It is diffi cult to imagine another discipline that is as multidisciplinary, taught in as many formats and as many contexts, by faculty with as many different backgrounds and with as many different aims, as business ethics.

Yet, although the students, format, pedagogy, and teaching goals change, the basic philosophical and conceptual structure for the fi eld remains relatively stable. There are a range of stakeholders with whom business interacts: em- ployees, customers, suppliers, governments, society. Each of these relationships creates ethical responsibilities and every adult unavoidably will interact with business in several of these roles. A course in business ethics, therefore, should ask students to examine this range of responsibilities from the perspective of employee, customer, and citizen as well as from the perspective of business manager or executive. Students should consider such issues in terms of both the type of lives they themselves wish to lead and the type of public policy for governing business they are willing to support.

My hope was that this book could provide a basic framework for examin- ing the range of ethical issues that arise in a business context. With this basic framework provided, individual instructors would then be free to develop their courses in various ways. I have been grateful to learn that this book is being used in a wide variety of settings. Many people have chosen to use it as a sup- plement to the instructor’s own lectures, an anthologized collection of readings, a series of case studies, or some combination of all three. Others have chosen to use this text to cover the ethics component of another course in such business- related disciplines as management, marketing, accounting, human resources. The book also has been used to provide coverage of business-related topics in

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Preface to the Fourth Edition xiii

more general courses in applied or professional ethics. I take this variety of uses as evidence that the fi rst edition was reasonably successful in achieving its goals.


In response to the advice of many friends and colleagues who have been using this book in their own classes, this fourth edition has made the following changes:

• Every chapter begins with a new, or significantly revised and updated, discussion case. All of these changes involve cases that have developed in the years since the previous edition, including cases on Bernard Madoff, AIG, subprime lending, predatory lending, Steve Jobs, and Google in China.

• Sustainability topics have been more widely integrated throughout the text, including a new sustainability section in chapter 5 on corporate social responsibility and a sustainability-focused discussion case on marketing in chapter 8.

• Many new cases include material and topics arising from the recent finan- cial meltdown, making this edition more timely and relevant.

• New sections include a model for ethical decision making, philanthropic CSR, and a business case for sustainability.

Another bit of advice that I received, as consistent as it was challenging, was to add this new material without making the book longer or more cumbersome. It has been gratifying to learn that readers have found the book clearly written and accessible to students unfamiliar with the fi eld. To achieve these goals, I have deleted some outdated cases and worked to improve the clarity of the more philosophical sections, especially within chapter 2’s discussion of ethical theory.

Readers of previous editions will fi nd a familiar format. Each chapter be- gins with a discussion case developed from actual events. The intent of these cases is to raise questions and get students thinking and talking about the ethi- cal issues that will be introduced in the chapter. The text of each chapter then tries to do three things:

• Identify and explain the ethical issues involved; • Direct students to an examination of these issues from the points of view

of various stakeholders; and • Lead students through some initial steps of a philosophical analysis of

these issues.

The emphasis remains on encouraging student thinking, reasoning, and decision making rather than on providing answers or promoting a specifi c set of conclusions. To this end, a new section on ethical decision making at the end of chapter 1 provides one model for decision making that might prove useful throughout the remainder of the text.

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xiv Preface to the Fourth Edition


As with previous editions, my greatest debt in writing this book is to those scholars engaged in the academic research of business ethics. I tried to acknowl- edge their work whenever I relied on it in this text, but in case I have missed anyone I hope this general acknowledgment can serve to repay my debt to the business ethics community. I also acknowledge three members of that commu- nity who deserve special mention and thanks. My own work in business eth- ics has, for over 20 years, benefi ted from the friendships of John McCall, Ron Duska, and Laura Hartman. They will no doubt fi nd much in this book that sounds familiar. Twenty years of friendship and collaboration tends to blur the lines of authorship, but it is fair to say that I have learned much more from John, Ron, and Laura than they from me.

Previous editions have also benefi ted from the advice of a number of peo- ple who read and commented on various chapters. In particular, I would like to thank Norman Bowie, Ernie Diedrich, Al Gini, Patrick Murphy, Denis Arnold, and Christopher Pynes.

I owe sincere thanks to the following teachers and scholars who were gracious enough to review previous editions of this book for McGraw-Hill: Dr. Edwin A. Coolbaugh—Johnson & Wales University; Jill Dieterlie—Eastern Michigan University; Glenn Moots—Northwood University; Jane Hammang- Buhl—Marygrove College; Ilona Motsif—Trinity College; Bonnie Fremgen— University of Notre Dame; Sheila Bradford—Tulsa Community College; Donald Skubik—California Baptist University; Sandra Powell—Weber State University; Gerald Williams—Seton Hall University; Leslie Connell—University of Cen- tral Florida; Brad K. Wilburn—Santa Clara University; Carlo Filice—SUNY, Genesco; Brian Barnes—University of Louisville; Marvin Brown—University of San Francisco; Patrice DiQuinzio—Muhlenberg College; Julian Friedland— Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado at Boulder; Derek S. Jeffreys— The University of Wisconsin, Green Bay; Albert B. Maggio Jr.—bicoastal-law. com; Andy Wible—Muskegon Community College.

The fourth edition benefi ted from the thorough and thoughtful reviews by:

• Christina L. Stamper, Western Michigan University • Charles R. Fenner, Jr., State University of New York at Canton • Sandra Obilade, Brescia University • Lisa Marie Plantamura, Centenary College • James E. Welch, Kentucky Wesleyan College • Adis M. Vila, Dickinson College • Chester Holloman, Shorter College • Jan Jordan, Paris Junior College • Jon Adam Matthews, Central Carolina Community College • Bruce Alan Kibler, University of Wisconsin-Superior

Joseph DesJardins

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After reading this chapter, you will be able to:

• Identify reasons why the study of ethics is important; • Explain the nature and meaning of business ethics; • Explain the difference between ethical values and other values; • Clarify the difference between ethics and the law; • Describe the distinction between ethics and ethos; • Distinguish between personal morality, virtues, and social ethics; • Identify ethical issues within a case description.

1 C H A P T E R Why Study Ethics?

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2 Chapter 1

DISCUSSION CASE: Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme

One of the largest fi nancial frauds in history came to an end late in 2008 when Bernard Madoff was arrested and charged with operating a major Ponzi scheme through his wealth management company. Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 counts of fi nancial fraud and theft in March 2009 and three months later was sentenced to 150 years in prison. Madoff’s fraud was thought to have cost clients more than $10 billion.

A Ponzi scheme is a fraud that attracts investors with a promise of high returns, which are initially paid out from the investments made by subsequent clients rather than from legitimate profi ts made from the initial investment. The success of these initial investments entices future investors, and in many cases reinvestment from the original investors. Because the returns are based on the ability to attract future investors into the scheme rather than on legitimate earn- ings, the scheme can last only as long as the perpetrator is able to attract an increasing number of investors, all of whom expect higher-than-normal returns. A Ponzi scheme is likened to a house of cards that is destined to collapse when- ever the fl ow of money into the scheme declines. The perpetrator benefi ts either by disappearing with the money before the system collapses or, as in the case of Madoff, living a wealthy lifestyle by skimming money from the signifi cant cash fl ow generated by the fraud.

The size of Madoff’s fraud was only one reason why this case attracted signifi cant media attention. Madoff and his family were also prominent public fi gures—Madoff was former chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange—and well-known as very generous philanthropists. The fraud also involved his fam- ily; Madoff’s wife, two sons, and brother were all implicated in the case. Many of his victims were also prominent people, many were personal friends, and several charitable organizations lost signifi cant money in the fraud.

Another aspect of this case involved the role, many would say the complete failure, of government regulators. Starting as early as 1992, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had received complaints and tips about Madoff’s investments. In most cases, the SEC either didn’t investigate or failed to follow through on a cursory investigation. A report issued by the SEC’s own inspector general in September 2009 concluded, “Despite numerous credible and detailed complaints, the SEC never properly examined or investigated Madoff’s trading and never took the necessary, but basic, steps to determine if Madoff was oper- ating a Ponzi scheme.” Coming as it did in the midst of the fi nancial meltdown and recession of 2008–2009, this failure of government regulators was another reminder of the limitations of legal regulations in providing suffi cient oversight to unethical business practices.

Madoff apologized at his sentencing, telling the judge: “I am responsible for a great deal of suffering and pain. I understand that. I live in a tormented state now knowing of all the pain and suffering that I have created. I have left a legacy of shame, as some of my victims have pointed out, to my family and my grandchildren. That’s something I will live with for the rest of my life. . . . That is a horrible guilt to live with. There is nothing I can do that will make anyone

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Why Study Ethics? 3

feel better for the pain and suffering I caused them, but I will live with this pain, with this torment for the rest of my life. I apologize to my victims. I will turn and face you. I am sorry. I know that doesn’t help you. Your Honor, thank you for listening to me.”


1. Identify what ethical issues and questions are involved in the Madoff case. 2. Identify all the people you think may have been harmed, and how they

were harmed, by the Madoff fraud. 3. Do you think that a scandal such as this is the result mostly of unethical

individuals, or are there organizational issues that allowed, encouraged, or were responsible for the harms? To what degree was this case mostly a failure of individuals, or organizational structure, or of government?

4. Can you imagine anything that would have prevented the Madoff fraud?


Why should anyone study business ethics? The short answer is that a class in business ethics should not aim simply to help you learn about ethics, but it should also aim to help you do ethics. That is, the goal of business ethics is more than just teaching and learning about what happens in business. The goal is also to help each of us become more ethical and to help us all create and promote ethical institutions. We can achieve these goals by developing three intellec- tual capacities: a better understanding of ethical issues, a more fi nely tuned set of analytical skills with which to evaluate ethical issues, and a refi ned sensitivity to appreciate the signifi cance of leading an ethical life.

But as recently as the mid-1990s, articles in such major publications as the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review, and U.S. News and World Report questioned the value of teaching classes in business ethics. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, this skeptical attitude was as common among business practitioners as it was among students. Few disciplines faced the amount of skepticism that commonly confronted courses in business ethics. Many stu- dents believed that, like “jumbo shrimp,” business ethics was an oxymoron. Many also viewed ethics as a mixture of sentimentality and personal opinion that would interfere with the effi cient functioning of business. After all, who’s to say what’s right or wrong?

Yet a great deal has changed since then. Beginning in 2001 with the col- lapse of Enron and Arthur Andersen hardly a month has gone by without a major corporate ethical scandal making headlines. In just the fi rst fi ve years of the twenty-fi rst century, a wave of ethical scandals swept though the corpo- rate world as fraudulent and dishonest practices were uncovered at such fi rms as WorldCom, Tyco, Aldelphia, Global Crossing, Health South, Qwest, Merrill

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4 Chapter 1

Lynch, Citigroup Salomon Smith Barney, Parmalat, Marsh and McClennen, Credit Suisse First Boston, and even the New York Stock Exchange itself. Since the last edition of this text was written in 2007, that list has grown to include such cases as AIG, Bernard Madoff, the fi nancial industry’s subprime lending practices, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Risky investment and lending practices that bordered on incompetence if not malfeasance led to the collapse of such fi rms as Lehman Brothers, Countrywide Financial, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, Washington Mutual, and Wachovia.

At the start of the second decade of the twenty-fi rst century, today’s ques- tions are less about why or should ethics be a part of business, than about which ethics should guide business decisions and how ethics can be integrated within business.1 Students unfamiliar with ethical issues will fi nd themselves as un- prepared for careers in business as students who are unfamiliar with account- ing and fi nance. Indeed, it is fair to say that students will not be fully prepared even within fi elds such as accounting, fi nance, human resource management, marketing, and management unless they are familiar with the ethical issues that arise specifi cally within those fi elds. You simply will not be prepared for a career in accounting, fi nance, or any area of business if you are unfamiliar with the ethical issues of these fi elds.

Why has this change come about? To answer this question, consider the phrase used to describe the potential collapse of AIG and other large fi nan- cial institutions: “too big to fail.” This phrase was used to justify the need for trillions of dollars of U.S. government guarantees and bailouts that were used to avoid a more signifi cant economic collapse in 2008–2009. It is not an exag- geration to say that ethical failures have been responsible for some of the most dramatic business failures in the last decade, and that these business failures in turn can jeopardize the economic well-being of the entire country.

On a smaller scale, consider the people who were harmed by the Madoff Ponzi scheme. Investors lost tens of billions of dollars. Hundreds of innocent employees lost their jobs, their retirement funds, and their health care benefi ts. Innocent charities suffered when they lost their endowments or were asked to return donations made by the Madoffs in a legal process to recover funds for his victims. The wider New York community was also hurt by the loss of a major community benefactor. Families of employees and investors were also hurt. Many of the individuals directly involved will themselves suffer criminal and civil punishment, including jail sentences for some. Indeed, it is hard to imagine anyone who was even loosely affi liated with Madoff who did not suffer harm as a result of his ethical failings. Multiply these harms by the dozens of other companies implicated in similar scandals and one gets an idea of why ethics is no longer dismissed as irrelevant. The consequences of …