Archive for the ‘ethics’ Category

Moneyball and Business Ethics

I’m finally getting around to reading Moneyball, Michael Lewis’s best-selling ode to the study of baseball statistics (and the source material for the new Brad Pitt movie of the same name). It’s one of the most engaging books I’ve read in a long time — something that won’t surprise those of you who happen to have read The Big Short, Lewis’s lively account of the 2008-2009 financial collapse.

What did surprise me as that Moneyball isn’t really a book about baseball. It’s fundamentally about epistemology. Epistemology is the critical study of knowledge itself — how we get it and how we use it. And though Lewis doesn’t (as far as I can recall) use that word, Moneyball is all about epistemology: the epistemology of baseball, yes, but much more than that. It’s fundamentally about how managers should use information to achieve better outcomes.

Moneyball holds important lessons for business managers generally, but in particular it holds lessons about business ethics. But the messages aren’t the obvious ones you’d expect from a book on baseball — they aren’t about the ethics of labour negotiations, for example, or the incomplete alignment of the twin goals of satisfying your fans and making money.

Three key lessons of the book, as far as I can see, are as follows:

1) The numbers matter. So, don’t guess — measure. In baseball, this means scouts need to look closely at a player’s stats, rather than relying on the fact that he’s got a “nice swing” or a “body made for baseball.” In business, it means measuring actual performance — not just bottom-line financial performance, but social and environmental performance, too, rather than just relying on the vague feeling that your company is “doing OK.”

2) The numbers don’t come out of thin air. The numbers you have available to you aren’t just a feature of the universe around you. The numbers represent what happens to have been measured. The “bottom line” (net income) is no more a natural feature of business than “Earned Run Average” is a natural feature of baseball. Both are artefacts of a particular system, one with a particular history and its own set of biases.

3) Numbers can lead you astray. Managing based on the numbers someone else more-or-less arbitrarily decided to keep track of can result in disaster. This is especially the case when those decisions are rooted in idiosyncratic interests or biases. Lewis points out, for instance, that early baseball stats didn’t bother to record the number of walks a batter earned — mostly because one of the early promoters of baseball stats, a journalist named Henry Chadwick, happened to be a fan of cricket, a sport where there’s just no such thing as a ‘walk.’ Chadwick decided not to keep track of how many walks a batter achieved. The result was that there was no way to track which batters had the good judgment to watch a high-and-inside fastball sail past instead of swinging at it. It matters to their performance, but for a time there was no way for coaches to include it in their management strategies. The exact same point can be made about various elements of social and environmental reporting.

The overarching lesson, here, is about the need for (pardon the pun) a measured approach to the use of numbers in business. Numbers matter, and they matter a lot. The old saw that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” is surely a vast overgeneralization, but one that contains a kernel of truth. But what matters even more than the numbers is knowing what the numbers mean, and what they can and cannot tell you.

Greed, Capitalism, and the Occupy Movement

What’s wrong with greed, anyway? No, don’t worry, this isn’t going to be one of those ill-conceived “greed is what makes capitalism work” diatribes. After all — with apologies to Gordon Gekko — that’s nonsense. Greed isn’t what makes capitalism work. Self-interest and ambition, maybe. But not greed.

Greed, after all, is the unseemly and excessive love of money, a desire for more than your share. And that is neither necessary nor sufficient for the operation of our economic system. None the less, there are many who believe that greed is not just an enemy, but the enemy.

Canadian pundit Rex Murphy recently argued that if greed is the enemy, then the Occupy movement should forget Wall Street, and instead Occupy Hollywood. After all, he argued, if you’re looking for greed, the best examples aren’t bankers, but rather the actors and producers and miscellaneous talentless celebrities who gleefully rake in millions in La La Land for doing next to nothing.

It’s hard to know what to make of Murphy’s argument. The simplest interpretation is that it’s a grenade lobbed over the wall of the culture war. Stop bothering the hard-working bankers, you Occupiers! Go pester the makers of low-brow entertainment.

More likely is that Murphy is doing something one step cleverer than that. By taking aim at celebrities, he’s telling “the 99%” to rue the wealth of the monsters they themselves have created. Kim Kardashian, after all, is astonishingly wealthy only because an astonishing number of people have paid to see her hijinks. But — and this, I think, must be Murphy’s unstated punchline — the same generally goes for the wealthy on Wall Street. They got wealthy because a whole lot of people each found a little bit of use for their services. And a whole lot, multiplied by a little bit, can be billions of dollars. True, some on Wall Street have multiplied their earnings through corrupt means. But the basic mechanism of wealth aggregation is the same, whether on Wall Street or in the Hollywood Hills.

OK, back to greed. Where Murphy goes astray is in his focus on that particular vice. Vast wealth is a feature of the stories of both Hollywood and Wall Street, but the role of greed in generating such wealth is very much in question. After all, being handed a million dollars doesn’t make you greedy. Even asking for a million dollars doesn’t make you greedy, when the pile on the table is much larger than that and when everyone in a similar situation is asking for a similar amount.

No, greed isn’t the problem. Greed isn’t what makes capitalism work, but nor is it typically the culprit when capitalism goes astray. The real problem isn’t greed, but rather institutional structures that reward antisocial behaviour. Which structures? Well, that depends on which particular antisocial behaviour you’re talking about. And that’s precisely where the Occupy movement faces its greatest challenge. You can’t plausibly take aim at a hundred different social ills and presume to find the cause of them all in the single word “greed.”

Ice Cream, OxyContin, and the 3 Big Questions of Business Ethics

Sometimes it takes a really minor story to illuminate the basic issues at stake in business ethics. Like, for instance, a recent story about a guy selling both ice cream and serious street drugs out of his New York city ice cream truck. Here’s the story, by Jonathan Allen for Reuters: Ice cream vendor gets prison for selling drugs with treats.

That story highlights nicely one of three really fundamental questions that must be asked by anyone seriously interested in business ethics.

The three big questions of business ethics are as follows:

  • 1) What may I do, and what may I not do, in attempting to make a living?
  • 2) In what ways do my obligations change when I act on behalf of others, including employers, shareholders, etc.?
  • 3) What should I do when I see inappropriate business practices that don’t directly affect me?

Each of these “big” questions can of course be subdivided into an entire category of questions. Question 1, for instance, implies a whole range of more specific questions — not just questions about the basic ethics of commerce (Can I lie, cheat or steal? No. Can I exaggerate, or put important details in fine print? Not so clear!) but also questions about Corporate Social Responsibility and corporate philanthropy. The second question covers all the issues that crop up once businesses are staffed by more than a single individual. And the third concerns third-party critique, the work of consumer advocates, and government regulation.

The news story cited above illustrates beautifully Question 1, the question of what you can and cannot do to make a dollar. Louis Scala was, after all, just trying to make a living. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. The catch was the method he chose.

Scala chose to sell two products. One was soft-serve ice cream, a dessert treat sold primarily to kids, who just can’t get enough of the stuff. The other was OxyContin, a highly-addictive narcotic, sold primarily to adults who just can’t get enough of the stuff. Selling the former is considered a reputable way to make a living. Selling the latter (out of the back of a truck!) is what earned Mr. Scala three and a half years in jail. But then, neither of those products is uncontroversial. Ice cream isn’t exactly healthfood, and child obesity rates are on the rise. But on the other hand, it’s a harmless treat, when consumed in moderation. But on the other hand, it’s not always consumed in moderation. But on the other hand…you get the point.

Figuring out what constitutes a legitimate way to make a living — taking into consideration all reasonable details — is far from straightforward. But realizing that the questions we want to ask about business ethics all fall under one or another of the fundamental headings listed above is, I think, a useful bit of mental bookkeeping, which is increasingly important in a world where criticisms, and defences, of business practices are becoming more and more diverse.

Which Oil is the More Ethical Oil?

It’s a clever marketing strategy. But is there really such a thing as ethical oil?

In today’s National Post, the Fraser Institute‘s Mark Milke argues that there is, and that “the ethical oil tag is useful shorthand for why Canada’s oil is preferable to that extracted elsewhere.” But “preferable” is a pretty grand, global conclusion. It implies that, all told, Canada’s oil is better, ethically. And that may well be, but it’s certainly not obvious. Don’t get me wrong — I’m a patriotic Canadian, proud of my country and its accomplishments. But I’m also a critical thinker, and a critical thinker can’t accept unreflectively a conclusion that happens to coincide with his own biases. Indeed, the fact that Milke’s conclusion conforms so neatly to my own biases is a strong reason for me to look at his argument more closely.

His argument is basically that Canada’s oil is ethically preferable to the oil produced in other places, considering especially places with serious histories of violating human rights.

OK, so let’s try it out. Let’s look at a rough sketch of the perceived negative ethical implications of oil from the top 10 countries listed by oil production….

Russia — widespread political & economic corruption;
Saudi Arabia — oppressive regime; human rights abuses;
United States — capital punishment; crazy war on drugs; irresponsible financial institutions;
Iran — human rights violations; insane political leaders;
China — human rights violations;
Canada — environmental degradation; poor treatment of indigenous peoples;
Mexico — widespread corruption; ongoing drug war;
United Arab Emirates — undemocratic;
Brazil — crushing poverty; immense social inequality;
Kuwait — undemocratic; human trafficking and abuse of migrant workers.

Feel free to add your own potential points of criticism to the list. And, of course, you can add significant environmental concerns to the worries for all oil-producing nations. That goes with the turf.

Now we absolutely must not make the mistake of treating this like a checklist, or treating all of the ethical “bads” listed above as equally bad. They’re not. And the other problem with this list is that it presumes that the only alternatives are various countries’ oil. Presumably much of the criticism of tar-sand oil isn’t that it’s so environmentally-evil that it’s ethically worse than, say, Saudi oil. Rather, the criticism has to be that tar-sand oil is worse than renewable energy sources that we ought to be developing, like solar and wind and geothermal.

So while I think the “ethical oil” label is rather, well, crude, I think the people promoting that label are at least doing us the unintentional service of reminding us that it’s far from clear what counts as an ethical source of energy. (If you use slave labour to build a wind turbine, is that an ethical source of energy?) As my friend Andrew Crane points out there are many dimensions along which to evaluate the ethics of any product — including not just the intrinsic properties of the product but also things like the process of production and nation of origin. That certainly applies to oil. I just wish I could believe that the people pushing the “ethical oil” label for my country’s oil were doing it to advance the debate, rather than to score points in it.

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Update: Take a hew poll on this topic, here: Oil Poll: Human Rights or Environment?

Ethics, Ethics Everywhere: A Day in the Life of a Business Magazine

As a professor, I always make a point of emphasizing to my students that ethics, far from being a niche topic, is actually pervasive in business. Ethics is what differentiates commerce from crime, but commerce also raises lots of interesting and complex ethical controversies. Really, most of the interesting stuff about business has an ethical element.

One way to illustrate that point is to look at the contents of business magazines. More specifically, let’s look at a recent issue of Canadian Business. As I’ve noted before, Canadian Business does more than most biz magazines to feature ethical issues on its website. But what I’m interested in today is the stories covered in the print version of the magazine. So here’s a quick look at the ethical issues — not necessarily labelled as such — in a single issue (the September 26, 2011 issue) of Canadian Business.

In the magazine’s 78 pages, you’ll find the following ethics-related stories:

On p.4, interim Editor-in-Chief, James Cowan, has an editorial responding to criticism of the cover of the magazine’s Sept. 12 issue, which featured an attractive woman in a tight red dress. Was this particular way of portraying a successful business woman exploitative, as one letter-writer suggested?

On pp. 12-13, there’s a piece by my colleague Richard Leblanc on governance standards and the recent scandal at Canadian company Sino-Forest. (And as I’ve argued before, corporate governance just is about ethics.)

On p. 14, there’s a short piece by Marina Adshade on adultery among executives. (For why that’s a business-ethics issue, see what I wrote about Eliot Spitzer three years ago.)

Then on pp. 14-15, there’s a piece by yours truly on a South African winery’s attempt to come to grips with its slave-holding past. The key question I contemplate is whether owning up to that past is a matter of basic ethics, or a more complex issue of social responsibility.

On pp. 19-21, Michael McCullough has an article on Warren Buffett’s argument for why wealthy Americans like him should pay more taxes — which raises fundamental questions about not distributive justice, freedom, and property rights.

On pp. 22-26, there’s a lengthy article by Robert Thompson on a Canadian drug company’s attempt to develop a sexual-dysfunction drug for women. The obvious comparison is with Viagra, a drug nominally intended to treat real dysfunction, but widely recognized, and criticized, as being more commonly used as a so-called “lifestyle drug.”

On pp. 28-31, you’ll find an article, by Jasmine Budak, on how companies deal with — and why some of the resent having to deal with — maternity leave. That topic raises all sorts of questions about fair treatment of employees, and about what sorts of employee benefits are just too burdensome to be fair to businesses and co-workers.

Finally, Angelina Chapin’s article (pp.50-52) about lingerie sales in conservative Islamic countries isn’t exactly about ethics, but it certainly raises questions about conflicts, and perceived conflicts, between various value sets.

All in all, I have to conclude, with some modesty, that if you’re a magazine reader interested in ethical issues in business, you certainly don’t have to head straight to the article by the ethics professor to scratch that itch.

And there really is a deep point about business, here. Ethical standards are inherent to the very idea of doing business. Those standards apply, contextually, to a thousand tiny details about how business gets done, to a thousand questions that need to be answered in the course of doing business. Different people will have different ideas about what those standards should be, not least because different people will have different stakes in the outcome. One result is that “ethics stories” are actually all over the place, in the business press, and they’re relatively seldom labeled that way.

Philip Morris: Endangering Kids and Academic Ethics

Tobacco giant Philip Morris is doing its best to get its hands on research about teen smoking, and encouraging some UK academics to violate ethical standards along the way.

Here’s the story, by Andrew Hough for the Telegraph: Philip Morris: tobacco firm using FOI laws to access secret academic data

Philip Morris International has tried to force the University of Stirling to hand over secret data into teenage smoking and cigarette packaging gathered over more than a decade.

The manufacturers behind the popular Marlboro brand, have used Freedom of Information laws to [attempt to] gain access [to] about 6000 confidential interviews undertaken with teenagers as young as 13, which discuss their views on smoking and tobacco….

The researchers are rightly fighting the request.

It’s a shocking move on Philip Morris’s part, even just from a PR point of view. To be seen seeking information that the company clearly hopes to use in marketing to children will do nothing to improve anyone’s opinion of the firm or the industry.

But there’s a second wrong, here, and that lies in the attempt to get the researchers in question to violate their obligations to the research subjects — the children and their parents — who participated in the research in question.

When university-based researchers conduct any kind of research on human beings, they are required to adhere to pretty strict standards for research ethics. The most fundamental of those standards has to do with obtaining informed consent from research subjects. Such consent may be obtained only after research subjects are fully informed about the goals of the research, as well as about what sorts of privacy protections they can expect. In the case described here, it is almost certainly the case that the children interviewed, and their parents, would have been assured that while the researchers would of course eventually make public the aggregate results of their research, the raw data — the interview transcripts that Philip Morris seems to be seeking — would of course be kept confidential.

So Philip Morris is asking these researchers to break their promise and to breach the trust placed in them by research subjects. The company is attempting to get the researchers to violate their duty. This puts the company’s behaviour into the same moral category as suborning perjury or intentionally putting another party into a conflict of interest. It’s a bad thing when a company violates its own duties; but it is especially corrosive to work so hard at encouraging other people to violate theirs.

Business Ethics Around the Globe: Zimbabwe and Russia

Flags of Zimbabwe and RussiaIf you have an interest in business ethics, it’s worth keeping an eye on the international scene for commentary about the role that ethics plays in developing economies. Here are a couple of recent examples.

First, by Manson Mnaba, for the Zimbabwean publication NewsDay: “Corporate Zimbabwe should embrace business ethics”
Two things are worth remarking. The first has to do with Mnaba’s description of the state of his country’s economy:

We are a nation emerging from the woods and doldrums. The past decade was particularly painful, strange and unique in every aspect. Conventional economics failed. Strait-jacket business principles failed to offer corporate direction.

Executives had to think outside the box through creativity and innovation. But Creativity and innovation devoid of human conscience is disastrous….

Note that this sounds a lot like how many Americans would describe the US economy. The difference, of course, is that Zimbabwe is actually poor, with a per person GDP that is one one hundredth that of the US.

The other thing worth noting is that Mnaba sees clearly — perhaps painfully clearly — the necessity of ethics in building an economy:

A business landscape where there are no ethics is a gangster’s paradise. Business ethics and corporate governance workshops would help us to sharpen our business intelligence quotient.

Next, to Russia. Russia isn’t a developing nation like Zimbabwe, but it is an economy in transition, still struggling to come to grips with the mechanisms and traditions necessary to sustain a free market, after generations of suffering under oppressive government and a command economy.

See this story, by Andrew E Kramer for the NYT: At 35,000 Feet, a Russian Image Problem. The story recounts the trouble that Russian airline manufacturers, in particular, have faced in trying to build jets for the Western market. Just one stumbling block:

…Russian television station NTV reported that 70 engineers at the plant making the Superjet had obtained fake engineering diplomas by bribing a local technical college; Sukhoi said those employees were not directly involved in assembling the planes….

Unfortunately, this isn’t all that surprising, for a country that scores near the bottom of Transparency International’s corruption perception index. Not surprising, but unfortunate. As I’ve pointed out before, trust — and hence ethics — is absolutely essential to commerce. And if Russia wants to expand its market, and hence its economy, it’s going to need to figure out more consistent business ethics.

Highest Standards Aren’t Always Best in Ethics

No one wants low ethical standards, but it’s also a mistake to aim at the highest possible standards — at least it can be, depending on what you mean by “highest.”

See, for example, this useful piece on defence contractors, by Noah Shachtman for Wired: Pentagon Probe Will Review Every Darpa Contract

Since Regina Dugan became the director of Darpa [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency], the Pentagon’s top research division has signed millions of dollars’ worth of contracts with her family firm, which in turn owes her at least a quarter-million dollars. It’s an arrangement that has raised eyebrows in the research community, and has now drawn the attention of the Defense Department’s internal auditors and investigators…

The story usefully points out that aiming for the highest possible standards of integrity can also cause trouble:

[A former director’s] bright ethical guidelines had unintended consequences. If a company allowed an employee to take a sabbatical to join Darpa, the firm was essentially blocking itself from millions of dollars in agency research projects.

The result, of course, is that under the old rules the agency risked cutting off useful sources of expertise. That’s not to say that the old rules were worse. It’s just to point out that there’s a legitimate trade-off here.

There’s a very general lesson to be drawn from this. When thinking about ethics, the goal isn’t always to be squeaky-clean. The goal is to find standards that are high enough to merit the trust of relevant stakeholders, and to do so without sacrificing other, possibly-equally important, values.

Consider this graphic, which illustrates the challenge of choosing experts to make decisions. On one hand, we want people with real expertise. On the other hand, we want to avoid conflict of interest. That is, we want maximum expertise and minimal risk of bias. So the upper-left quadrant of this graphic is the sweet spot:

conflict of interest: bias and expertise

Note that what we’re looking for here is not the “highest possible” standard of integrity (i.e., the standard that implies the lowest possible risk of bias among decision-makers), but a system that makes the optimal tradeoff between risk of bias, on one hand, and relevant expertise, on the other. The point here is not that we’re trading off ethics and expediency. The point is that we’re trading off competing, ethically-significant values.

The point in thinking about ethics is not to aim at the highest standards, but at the best standards. We do enormous damage both to the functioning of organizations and to people’s willingness to talk openly about ethics when we talk about “high standards” in a way that comes off as unthinkingly pious.

Academic Business Ethics and the Corporation as Political Actor

I’m returning home today after spending the weekend at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Business Ethics, the world’s foremost association for academics engaged in the study and teaching of issues related to business ethics, corporate social responsibility, and so on. (It was a fantastic meeting and anyone with a professional interest in these issues should consider joining SBE.)

One of the dominant themes of this year’s meeting was the role of the corporation in the political realm. It’s an old topic, one revitalized by the US Supreme Court’s decision last year in the Citizens United case. Corporate involvement in the political sphere takes many forms (from lobbying to campaign donations to participation in collaborative approaches to regulation). Such involvement is probably inevitable, but definitely controversial, and so there’s lots to sort out regarding how we should understand corporations in the political realm, and what rights and responsibilities they should have in that world. Among several dozen scholars presenting their research at the SBE meeting, a striking proportion of them presented work related to this set of topics.

David Ronnegard and Craig Smith, for example, presented work that elucidated the connection between competing theories of business ethics, on one hand, and competing theories from political philosophy, on the other.

Anselm Schneider and Andreas Scherer presented their work on the changes in corporate governance necessitated by (what I would call) the quasi-governmental responsibilities that corporations sometimes take on in the international sphere.

Pierre-Yves Néron presented work arguing that the way we think of corporations in the public sphere ought to be strongly influenced by thinking about the kinds of corporate behaviours (including regulatory lobbying, for example) that can either improve or frustrate market efficiency.

Waheed Hussain presented his work on what it might look like to “civilize” the corporation to make its participation in the political realm less worrisome — essentially, by fostering among corporations a “public interest” ethos, and insisting that lobbying etc be framed in terms of the public good.

Wayne Norman encouraged his fellow business ethicists to pay more attention to regulation, rather than focusing (as the typically do) on the corporate ethical obligations that go “beyond mere compliance”.

I myself presented some of my current thinking on the various ways we might think of corporations in their interactions with government. In particular, I argued that while, in some cases, it makes sense to conceptualize the corporation as an agent in its own right, there are other cases (perhaps many more cases) in which it makes sense to think of the corporation as a tool or technology used by citizens to advance their goals. (This is something I’ve touched on before, informally, in a blog entry.)

Although I don’t want to speak for my colleagues, it seems safe to say that the scholars whose work is noted above share an interest in better understanding what it means, and what it should mean, for corporations to be political agents. They are part of a trend — I don’t yet want to say movement — that sees scholars attempting to take seriously the complexity of the practical and philosophical problems raised by having limited-liability, joint-stock corporations participate in a realm that is generally thought of as being rightfully the place of flesh-and-blood citizens.

Two Problems With CSR

There’s plenty of confusion about what CSR is. Indeed most of the definitions you’ll find online don’t even read like definitions. They’ll tell you what CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is “about,” or what it “relates to,” but they won’t tell you what it is. Any definition worth its salt ought to take the words in the term seriously, and note that the term “CSR” refers to some kind of responsibility, and then explain just what kind of responsibility it is. But good luck finding such a definition. And this failure of definition isn’t just a matter of semantics. It’s critically important, because a sloppy understanding of the term gives the appearance of unifying under a single banner people who actually hold vastly different views of what a corporation’s responsibilities are.

Various definitions out there seem to coalesce around the idea that business should be “giving back” to the community — and typically not via antiquated methods like corporate philanthropy. The goal, generally, is to make sure that a company’s net impact on society is positive. Let’s take that as our point of departure.

The following two problems form the Scylla and Charybdis of CSR. If you avoid one, you run right into the other. Both spell doom.

Problem #1: CSR is too easy, if taken literally. If all that’s at stake is making sure your net impact is positive, wow, that’s pretty easy: just sell a decent product that people want, and don’t hurt any bystanders. It’s a fundamental principle of commerce. Start with individual transactions. Those, if voluntary and well-informed, always have a positive impact. A customer gives you $1.00, and you give them a pound of bananas. They’re happy, and you’re happy. Don’t step on any bystanders’ toes, and there you go: positive net impact. In fact, as long as your customers are happy enough, you can afford to hurt people along the way (e.g., by mistreating employee) and your net impact will still be positive. (And of course, claiming to adhere to CSR is even easier if you use a mushier definition, one that only asks that you “manage” your social impact, rather than aiming at any particular objective.)

Problem #2: On the other hand, CSR is unfairly burdensome, if really taken to heart — that is, if you really think that the pursuit of social contribution ought to take over a manager’s entire way of thinking. It means that a company that makes a good product, treats employees well, deals fairly with suppliers, etc., still has to ask itself, “yes, but how are we giving back to the community?” Look in the mirror. What’s your net impact on society? What good are you — other than the fact that you put in an honest day’s work, take care of your kids, and given a few bucks to charity now and then? (Hint: that’s a rhetorical question.) The joint-stock corporation, on the other hand, is arguably one of the most welfare-enhancing inventions of all time. For such organizations, failure to have a positive impact is the exception, rather than the rule. Asking one to risk its productivity by obsessing over something it’s already doing is silly.

Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the idea that companies are responsible for their behaviour (and that the individuals who work for companies are responsible for their behaviour, too). And for some people, that’s all that CSR means. That’s just fine. In fact, such responsibility is absolutely morally fundamental. Companies should try to make an honest living, just like individuals like you do. They should avoid hurting people, just like you do. They should clean up their messes, just like you do. That’s basic ethics. And if they’re doing those things, calling it something as mushy as “CSR” adds absolutely nothing to the equation.

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