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Four Ethics Links:
July 5, 2010

Four ethics links is a review of recent stories in applied ethics. This week: Business Ethics for Recent College Grads, Twitter and Corporate Ethics Agreements, The Ethics of Criticism, and Ethics in Chinese Science.

1. Workplace Ethics: The High Cost of Compromise

Kirk O. Hansen recently made some interesting observations about the ethical challenges that will face new college graduates. Facing the current, difficult economy, Hansen claims, will “make ethical decisions even tougher.”

Because it has been difficult this year to land any job, new graduates will be less likely to resist, less likely to put their new position at risk in order to do the right thing. And that threatens to undermine the ethical character of this year’s graduates at the outset of their careers.

John Constable: Detail from 'Seascape Study with Rain Cloud'
John Constable, Detail from Seascape Study with Rain Cloud (c.1824)

2. Tweeting Your Way Out of a Job

With Facebook and Twitter blurring the line between personal and private, companies have to deal with a new challenge for their ethics policies, including confidentiality, privacy policies, and reduced productivity. How much company information is it okay for someone to post on their Facebook status, if at all? Is discussing their daily work on a public forum considered a breach of confidentiality? And what if this includes a client name or a product in the making? Lawsuit written all over it?

Read more at CNBC.

3. The Ethics of Eating for Free

What ethical responsibilities do writers and critics have with regards the products that various companies give them for free, hoping for publicity?

Robert Sietsema, the Village Voice restaurant critic, published a scathing “open letter” Wednesday morning to the food writer Josh Ozersky for getting chefs to cook at his May 23 wedding and then telling readers in his column that that was a good way to cater your wedding.

Read more about it at the New York Times and The Atlantic.

4. China pushing the envelope on science, and sometimes ethics

Finally, the Washington Post has an interesting article about contemporary Chinese science, and particularly about the way that differing ethical and bureaucratic constraints feature into the practice of science globally. An characteristic quote from Duke neurobiologist Luo Minmin, returned to China to work:

If I had stayed in America, the chances of making a discovery would have been lower. Here, people are willing to take risks. They give you money, and essentially you can do whatever you want.

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PaulJul 5, 2010

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