BUSINESS ETHICS

by Hemant Kashinath Kolhapure, M.A. (Eco.), C.A.I.I.B.

Life Member of Indian Philosophical Congress, Chief Manager, Bank of India

 

Human being is an animal pretends to be rational or tries to be ethical. Story of culture and civilizations is the story of struggle of imbibing upon him normative moral guidelines externally which can govern his good behavior because it cannot be internally instinctually evolutionised. There is always a dualistic conflict between norms and his instincts/impulses resulted in creation and evolution of various forms of arts and literature to entertain, amuse but mainly to imbibe values upon him. Ethics are applied normative moral guidelines which govern good behavior which evolutionised since human existence. There is always inherent conflict between instincts /impulses of human beings and ethical behavior.

Business Ethics a wide subject it is very difficult to give it justice within limits of 1800 words. Therefore I have restricted it to the ethics of Rationality. Business is an economic activity where material or immaterial commodities are produced and sold for gratification of needs in exchange of equal valued goods or money. As per economic laws commodities value is decided by the forces of demand and supply. But if value determination is left to the vagaries of the market forces it leads to cycles of inflation, deflation, depression having multi dimensional adverse effects on human societies which is unethical. Land, Labor, capital and entrepreneur are the four major prerequisite factors of any business and their interrelationship depends upon socio-economic politic set up controlled by the legal and other systems, stemmed out through intrinsic cultural ethoses which are inherited through culture & civilisation and status of technological development. Balance is maintained by just remuneration of these business factors by way of land by rent, labor by wages or salary, capital by interest and profit to entrepreneur. Imbalance between their relationships creates problems to the structure of the society. According to Marx their relationship decides structural strata of any society like ownership of property and relationship of production and upper strata like Ethicon legal or religious system. Business is economic activity which is run by objective laws of Economic science can be numerated as mathematical laws called as econometrics but these laws are influenced by human impulses, desires and emotions which may be ethical or non ethical here it becomes subjective. But it is human centric and should be utilized for goodness of society that is why it should be ethical. Ethics is a relative term only rationality can synthesize all sorts of subjectivities and encompasses its  objectivity through universally accepted ethical norms of business ethics like – honesty and trust based on justice ,human rights for greatest common good based on principles of harm, fairness, autonomy, veracity etc. with synthesis of approaches of utilitarianism , deontologists’ , natural law , virtue ethics and ethics of caring. Since 1980 concept of business ethics got institutionalized U.N. Human Rights Council in 2005 chartered guideline principles like, “Protect, Respect and Remedy“ framework for multinationals and international business but have not enforcing mechanism which can be seen from Bhopal tragedy and British petroleum’s oil percolation on sea , immoral interventions in the sovereignty of nations for petrol and natural  resources, dumping of banned drugs pesticides etc. subsiding bioethics, geoethics, military ethics, internet ethics, political ethics, social ethics, economic ethics, cultural ethics etc.   

World economic forum “Devos Culture“ should implement cultural globalization through trade ,taking in view existence of  multiculturalism evolved through ages having multidimensional facets of  groups intertwined, intermingled  by  race, color, language, caste, creed, religion, region, and nation; evolutionised with science, technology, and modernization – through institutionalization by religion, education, legal, political economic and social systems. Ethnical identity and dogmatic ethnicity can be balanced only through RATIONALITY.     

Rationality is a prerequisite condition for the development of any society. For development of rationalistic attitude a society should be flexible, open and non-dogmatic. In a closed, rigid and dogmatic society no development is possible like present Mohammedian countries, and earlier communist countries.  In this world no society can remain isolated, and winds and waves of new thought, invention affects differently to each society due to each societies peculiarities of ethos are different, tenacity is different and interweaving structure of proactive or reactive forces are different. Ethnic regionalism, ethno culturalism remains under-boiled or sometimes erupts like volcano. A process of synthesis or  /and antithesis movements continues centuries together after settling somewhere giving rebirth for further thesis and antithesis because intrinsically potential of germination is inherited.

Human species development started from singular cell to a entity having self realization ,which forced him for necessity of another beings, then clan generation, then family, tribe -hunting, then discovery of farming, created surplus ,which necessitated villages, towns, trading and supportive services sector developed. Symmetry of ethos gave birth to nations. Birth of money gave scope for creation and accumulation of capital. Evolution of human mind, intelligence and concepts gave impetus to entrepreneurship. Capital and entrepreneurship and expanded markets gave rise to creation of business world.

According to each society’s ethos its value system gets evolved, which is reflected in its business world also. Interrelationship between factors of production & ownership patterns is maintained by the Suprastructure of polity, legal system, and bureaucracy socio-religious system.  Base structure of the society is of classes and masses which is a productive force as well as market force. These suprastructure and basestructure   are reflections& ramifications of the society’s ethos; formulates specific patterns of a culture & civilization which is transcendental & fluent like river, inventions necessitates changes in super & base, structure which happens through the process of modernization of traditions, world over it is observed.

I have tried to elaborate how country specific ethnicity develops ethos and mental setup and peculiar behavioristic patterns in developing a business mentality which is unique and acts against rationality, outward expression creates only dualism and pseudo value assertiveness which is contradictory to the Max Webers theory of ideal business organization which is based on the rationalization of Planning, inward and outward Rational attitude with cohesive behavior, use of scientific knowledge for maximisation of profits and development of a corporate world in contradiction with ethnic values of the countries like China, Japan, India and African American European countries. The reason is irrational, unempathatic, dogmatic ethos and his animal instincts. 

European business world is evolved from Pragmatic Protestant ethics, conglomerated with Renaissance, industrial revolution, World Wars etc. which took around 600 to 700 years period when Feudalistic structure was ripped culminating to its emancipation to give space for capitalism and modernization. Imperialism, colonization, slavery, exploitation, brutality, cultural aggressions were tools but their rule also opened these closed stagnant societies.

Japan“s economic development and corporate world evolved through cultural nationalism .anxiety of cultural identity, assertive national pride, internalization of discipline, with the help of military force, blamed foreignness adopted it as a national policy, regenerated and preservation cultural ethos culminated in pseudo -feudalistic business houses. Their business ethics is affected by value added quality goods impetus for quality development through technological innovations and developments. With cheaper prices are responsible for revolution in technological development of electronic goods, vehicles

China’s awakened after cultural revolution of Mao i.e. after 1925.After 1990 with Dualism of Marxism and capitalism state controlled and directed policies gave rise to peculiar corporate world which has threatened and astonished so called free and established Western and American corporate world. But it has thousands of year’s tradition of social ethos, as it is a Worlds one of the oldest Civilisations. China’s religious attitude is helpful for development of corporate world, cruel competition and aptitude for savings and worth became helpful, which also set aside defects of family kinships and illogical legal system. Rural -Urban dualism has been networked for production and marketing. Interaction between Political system and Economic gave rise to Hybrid forms of, “Hybrid Capitalism”, local knowledge is transformed in to resources. Resulted economic inequality, greed internally unethical business value of dumping cheep commodities weakening other nations financial set-up due to ambitious and aggressive policies of market capturing externally…

Africanethos are routed in their ethnicity which is based on “Ubantu” understanding ourselves in relation with the outer world like nature ,trees ,animals, rivers, natural happenings like earthquake, floods, eruptions of volcano’s fires of jungles, tornados, lightening, death-birth all happenings and un-happenings. They can’t emerge out of the clanships and the impacts of the exploitation of the European Governance. Unethical exploitation of these countries people and natural resources should be stopped immediately.

Indian Corporate world was dominated by the few houses from specific communities like Marwari’s, Gujrathies having their ethos in Vaishya Sect. Modern entrepreneurs have rational/objective attitude having undercurrents of caste, creed, linguistic, rationalistic, dogmatic ethos beurocrats and public sector corporates have also same ethos intrinsically inculcated. It got paradigm shift after a new class of entrepreneur like Narayan Murthy which shaded away region/varna orientation of corporations and paved way for knowledge orientation. Presuming that it will become pure rational will be self-deceiving. Because through thousands of years this society has digested thousands of  inner and outer attacks like Huns ,Kushanas, Greeks ,Mongols ,Sumerians ,inner socio-cultural upheavals like Mahavir, Buddha, Basaveshwara, Guru Nanak Tribal revolts ,revolts of lower castes and agrarians against economic and social exploitation got amalgamated in this absorptive society and became part of Indian ethos. science and Technology makes attitude rational but for Indian society it affected by the process of  MODERNISATION OF INDIAN TRADITIONS in many ways it can be felt in day to day social life, like in Information technology and telecommunication field software’s of Kundalies, Jotishya, screensavers of various GODS like blinking Ganesha, Mobile Ringtones of Atharva-shirsha or divine songs, instead of breaking castes, creeds, religiosity , Geographical space and speed have increased in many fold accumulating all human senses. Speed and dimension of under currented ethos have got diversified in many ways by making its roots more and more firm. That is why in this society casticism, religionism, regionalism, linguesticism, male-race-colour based chauvinism  takes form of rage, hatred ,competition in depressed forms in their deep roots of minds and outwardly it becomes biased but legally it is showed as rational, it can be called as PSEUDO RATIONALISM resulting exploitation through dogmatism.

Conclusion – Human being or Human society can’t become Pure Rational animal/rationalistic institution. Aurthor Cosler in his book “Evolution of Human Brain” have stated that in the process /struggle survival and after words for betterment of quality of life his capacity of imagination, conception, innovation, experimentation, execution , learning, retention ,recalling, got expanded resulting his intelligence level raised with un-imaginary capacity, that is why his upper and forefront side of Brain became bigger in size but his lower end backside of brain remained comparatively underdeveloped; living reminisces of animalistic behavior that is why many times uncontrolled emotions like anger, cruelty, hate, competition ,threat takes control of his mind and body which have basis in subconscious ethos like caste, creed, religion, language, region, colour, race, sex etc.

Emotions are not bad. For positive Rational behavior emotional intelligence is necessary. Business world based on rationality can be established for which purification and rectification of our ethos is necessary unhealthy and irrational ethos should be discarded and ethos based on ethics of empathy, love humanity should be retained, nurtured, cultivated or implanted, which will make business world rational / ethical and human race happy.