ZeePedia buy college essays online


Business Ethics

<<< Previous ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:Medal of Freedom Next >>>
 
img
Business Ethics ­MGT610
VU
LESSON 42
This is a pretty good measure of how far we have come in America in our understanding of
freedom from that of the founders: Bill Clinton awarded the "Medal of Freedom" to John
Kenneth Galbraith on August 9, 2000, despite the fact that Galbraith has been a stalwart
champion of the very opposite idea of freedom from that laid out by those founders.
Galbraith, a professor emeritus at the department of economics at Harvard University, although
a fine writer and charming human being-- so much so that William F. Buckley, Jr., has been his
long time friend despite their political differences--has been a socialist for nearly all of his
career. He has been a relentless critic of capitalism and the market system, based on his
essentially elitist and paternalistic idea of what governments must do for the people they serve.
This was to make them all abide by tenets of "fairness" or, at least, his socialist version of that
ideal.
Galbraith, though an avowed statist--not of the Marxist-Leninist but more of the democratic
socialist variety--has been one of the most fervent bashers of the "rich" in contemporary
American culture. While not an explicit Marxist, he accepted the Marxian idea that capitalists
create nothing and take a great deal that they should not be allowed to have. In his most popular
book, The Affluent Society, he laid out a case for a powerful welfare state. He has written in
some of the most prestigious publications of our society, including The New York Review of
Books, The New York Times, American Prospect, Dissent, The Nation and so on.
One of his most well known and widely studied legacies was created from a section of his book
dealing with advertising. Galbraith asserted that advertising is a device by which business
creates desires in consumers which must be acted on and thus produce what he called "the
dependency effect." In other words, consumers become dependent on corporations because the
latter create desires in them for the goods and services they offer for sale. By this means,
corporations become wealthy, make huge profits, while resources are taken away from far more
important projects, you guessed it, those the government wants to provide for us. The public
sector is diminished and the private sector unfairly benefits.
This famous section of The Affluent Society is reprinted in nearly all business ethics readers
serving as text books for business school students across the world. Far fewer of these volumes
offer the decisive rebuttal to Galbraith's position, penned by the great economists, the late F. A.
Hayek. Hayek noted that Galbraith's claim is true but not just for business and advertisers but
also of all human creative endeavors.
The difference is that unlike Galbraith, Hayek did not believe that the desires that people might
cultivate for what is presented to them must be acted on. Instead, we have the freedom to
choose whether to try to fulfill our desires, however they might be created. Advertising appeals
to us but cannot make us do anything. It is a promotional project by which producers call out to
us hoping we would consider what they have to offer and to purchase it. But there is no
guarantee at all that we will act as the advertisers wishes we would.
In what sense does Galbraith deserve a medal of freedom? Only in the sense that a certain
conception of freedom does underlie his thinking. This is what is called "positive" freedom. It
means a condition whereby people are provided by government, and at the expense of other
102
img
Business Ethics ­MGT610
VU
people, with what they could use to advance their lot. Such provisions would "free" them to
move forward.
The freedom of the American founders is quite different, mainly backed by a different idea of
human nature. It is that people in communities require first and foremost not to be thwarted in
their efforts to make headway in life.
Others may not be conscripted into involuntary servitude to provide them with what they might
need because if they are not thwarted by them, they will be able to do this on their own. Not
equally rapidly, not to the same extent, perhaps, but if they only apply themselves, they will
flourish without coercing others.
Galbraith has never championed this kind of "negative" freedom. So his views are alien to the
American political tradition. It is not surprising, then, that he receives the medal of freedom
from President Bill Clinton, someone who has done nothing at all to further freedom in this
truly American sense.
To Galbraith's minor credit, however, he did, a few years ago, finally admit that capitalism is a
far better economic system than socialism. He did this only in the wake of the collapse of the
Soviet Empire. And even then with great reservations and regret.
He was asked, in an interview published in Alitalia's October 1996 "in flight" magazine: "You
spoke of the failure of socialism. Do you see this as a total failure, a counterproductive
alternative?" He replies this way: "I'd make a distinction here. What failed was the
entrepreneurial state, but it had some beneficial effect. I do not believe that there are any radical
alternatives, but there are correctives. The only alternative socialism, that is the alternative to
the market economy, has failed. The market system is here to stay."
103
Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION:Business Issues
  2. INTRODUCTION (CONTD.)
  3. THEORY OF ETHICAL RELATIVISM
  4. MORAL DEVELOPMENTS AND MORAL REASONING
  5. MORAL REASONING:Arguments For and Against Business Ethics
  6. MORAL RESPONSIBILITY AND BLAME
  7. UTILITARIANISM:Utilitarianism: Weighing Social Costs and Benefits
  8. UTILITARIANISM (CONTD.):rule utilitarianism, Rights and Duties
  9. UNIVERSALIZABILITY & REVERSIBILITY:Justice and Fairness
  10. EGALITARIANS’ VIEW
  11. JOHN RAWLS' THEORY OF JUSTICE:The Ethics of Care
  12. THE ETHICS OF CARE:Integrating Utility, Rights, Justice, and Caring
  13. THE ETHICS OF CARE (CONTD.):Morality in International Contexts
  14. MORALITY IN INTERNATIONAL CONTEXTS:Free Markets and Rights: John Locke
  15. FREE MARKET & PLANNED ECONOMY:FREE TRADE THEORIES
  16. LAW OF NATURE:Theory of Absolute Advantage, Comparative Advantage
  17. FREE MARKETS AND UTILITY: ADAM SMITH:Free Trade and Utility: David Ricardo
  18. RICARDO & GLOBALIZATION:Ricardo’s Assumptions, Conclusion
  19. FREE MARKET ECONOMY:Mixed Economy, Bottom Line for Business
  20. COMPETITION AND THE MARKET:Perfect Competition
  21. PERFECT COMPETITION
  22. MONOPOLY COMPETITION:Oligopolistic Competition
  23. OLIGOPOLISTIC COMPETITION:Crowded and Mature Market
  24. OLIGOPOLIES AND PUBLIC POLICY:Ethic & Environment, Ozone depletion
  25. WORLDWATCH FIGURES:Population Year, Agriculture, Food and Land Use
  26. FORESTS AND BIODIVERSITY:The Ethics of Pollution Control
  27. THE ETHICS OF POLLUTION CONTROL:Toxic Chemicals in Teflon
  28. THE ETHICS OF POLLUTION CONTROL
  29. THE ETHICS OF POLLUTION CONTROL:Recommendations to Managers
  30. COST AND BENEFITS:Basis of social audit, Objectives of social audit
  31. COST AND BENEFITS:The Ethics of Conserving Depletable Resources
  32. COST AND BENEFITS:The Club of Rome
  33. THE ETHICS OF CONSUMER PRODUCTION AND MARKETING:DSA Comments
  34. THE ETHICS OF CONSUMER PRODUCTION AND MARKETING:Should Consumers Bear More Responsibility?
  35. THE CONTRACT VIEW OF BUSINESS' DUTIES TO CONSUMERS
  36. THE CONTRACT VIEW OF BUSINESS' DUTIES TO CONSUMERS:The Due Care Theory
  37. THE SOCIAL COSTS VIEW OF THE MANUFACTURER’S DUTIES
  38. ADVERTISING ETHICS:The Benefits of Advertising, The harm done by advertising
  39. ADVERTISING ETHICS:Basic Principles, Evidence, Remedies, Puffery
  40. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:Psychological tricks
  41. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:Criticism of Galbraith's Work
  42. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:Medal of Freedom
  43. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:GENERAL RULES, Substantiation
  44. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:Consumer Privacy, Accuracy
  45. THE ETHICS OF JOB DISCRIMINATION:Job Discrimination: Its Nature