mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Yes, I have no ethics...

I'm taking two MBA-level classes this semester. One is Operations Managment, and the other is ethics. I hate the ethics class, because it keeps pointing out what a horribly evil person I am, at least by the standards of business ethics classes.

For example, we keep talking about the Ford Pinto case, and how Ford is evil for not recalling the Pinto and for using cost benefit analysis that assumed 180 fewer people would die with safer gas tanks, but that the cost of an $11 change applied to 13 million cars would be way more than the cost of 180 deaths.

From a business perspective, I'll agree that the Pinto decision was bad, since Ford lost a ton of money. I have trouble seeing their decision as horribly unethical, however. Cars can always be made safer, but that costs money and intrudes on things that people want. You could reduce accidents by putting a 55mph speed governor on a car, or a NASCAR style roll cage, or surrounding the whole thing with the stuff they make Nerf footballs out of - but I don't think it's unethical that companies don't do those things. And good luck selling your Nerf-car when other companies are selling better looking cars that are made out of steel.

One of our short cases in class yesterday was software piracy, where several students expressed how bad software piracy was. Mad Anthony, meanwhile, was sitting in front of his Powerbook, with it's pirated copy of Panther, not to mention the two pirated copies of Windows installed in Virtual PC, while his Windows XP machine in his apartment was at that moment downloading gigs of pirated movies and TV shows off of eMule and his iPod full of illegal MP3's sat in his bookbag, ready for the drive home.

I don't think I'm a bad person. After all, several women have told me what a nice guy I am - but of course, that was always followed with a "but your not my type".

Seriously, though, I don't really see the point of grad-level business ethics. Despite what they say,I doubt that ethics change much for 20 or 30 somethings, and I find it hard to believe that it's going to be 14 weeks of class that changes ones worldview after not responding to culture, enviroment, religion, and the like. I wonder if some of my clasmates are as ethical as they like to say they are in class, if their responses to questions are really identical to what they would do in that situations. Maybe everyone's a jerk, but I'm the only one who admits it.

(For another interesting look at "corporate social responsibility", which always seems to go hand in hand with business ethics, check out this OpinionJournal column- if only to see Angelina Jolie rendered as a Wall Street Journal line drawing.


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