As individuals trying to be good, we aim at being both loyal and honest, for example. But in working life, these two virtues are often in conflict; that is, we must be loyal at the expense of honesty or, conversely, honest at the expense of loyalty to our organization or fellow workers. Does this mean, as is so often concluded, that we can be “good” only in our private lives and that moral behavior must bend or break when we participate in the world’s work?
No, that demoralizing notion is nonsense. . . .
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Thank-you to Sheri for drawing “Extractive Sector Corporate Responsibility“ to attention.
The response applies also to the SNC Lavalin scandal. (? I don’t get it – – why would the Government confine “Corporate Responsibility” only to the “Extractive Sector”?) . . .
I took a bit of time to look into what you sent re the “Extractive Sector Corporate Responsibility . . . “ (thanks) – – the changeover from “counsellor” to “ombudsman”.
Please be aware that the Office reached the end of its mandate on May 18, 2018.
A power point presentation by the ombudsman
The elephant in the room for this “corporate responsibility” effort, which SNC Lavalin also illustrates: historically, over and over, citizens have had to rebel when Governments “partner” with the business sector of the society. People can figure it out: there is no integrity in the system.
The political class need money to run campaigns every 4 years; the business class want the easy money from resources which “the Government” is charged with being custodians of.
No surprise – the “partnership” works for the partners but not for the environment and not for the vast majority of citizens. Corruption is a characteristic of that system of governance. So is propaganda – – you need it to hold the system together. And when that doesn’t work, you need the military to hold it together. Gawd! It’s pretty simple.
I get frustrated by some of the CBC radio interviews on this subject and turn off the radio. Some of them are okay. The interviewees that rationalize – – “the ethics in Governance can’t be the same as the ethics of the individual” are not pushed to explain. Yes, the ethics in one realm can be (are) DIFFERENT from another (honesty versus loyalty, is the example below). HOWEVER, it doesn’t get the perpetrators of corruption off the hook. Nor does it explain anything – – WHY the corruption is happening.
(SNC is going to be followed by scandals over the $105 billion Canadians are to pay for warships. The players will be (are already, by my guess) Lockheed Martin, and the two shipyards, plus the Government. Maybe the deal began under the Liberals, it will be passed along without comment to the Conservatives. The “maybe” is this: “the deal” originates with the military-industrial-government complex (in which the Universities also now participate). The PMO, the PCO, the Ministers, the bureaucrats are just the Collaborators.)
The ethics of Business are different from the ethics of Government, which is fine and right. The ethics of the Individual are different from either. Why? Because the individual is tasked with looking after family and community. Business is tasked with “trading and producing”. Government operates in the realm of “organizing and managing territories”.
But alas! we have gotten ourselves to a point where there is no line between Business and Government. They’ve become one and the same. The environment gets raped, the rapers are greatly rewarded. The gap between rich and poor just keeps widening. Hostility continues to grow. Individuals might eventually realize that their fantasy life is not long-term and it’s not based on anything that’s true and real; the fantasy most certainly isn’t going to be there for their children.
All you have to do is to look at countries that have resources coveted by the Corporations. The Corporations usurp the Government. Heavy duty corruption. Citizens become impoverished one way and another. They rebel. The U.S. and Canada invade with military forces and call it “food aid”. UNLESS there is sufficient capacity for alternative media to compete with the propaganda. And unless people from many countries shout “FOUL”!
The power point of the Ombudsman identifies the results of the current system: they have a real problem with “TRUST”. Once you blow trust, it is VERY difficult to re-establish. I don’t think they (Government + Business) CAN re-establish trust, not if the “partnering” doesn’t come to an end. The problems are inherent in a system of governance that marries the Corporate with the Government functions.
The Ombudsman for “Extractive Sector Corporate Responsibility“ is a propaganda front. She will not, indeed cannot, achieve the mission. When that becomes apparent there will be a re-branding, just as happened when “counsellor” didn’t deliver the goods. The programme was re-launched as “ombudsman”. Next will come . . . ? . . . some wonderful orwellian new speak from the poets in “Communications” (reminds me of StatsCan’s “re-spendable” revenue“. I still have a good laugh over that absurdity!
From Jane Jacobs:
“As individuals trying to be good, we aim at being both loyal and honest, for example. But in working life, these two virtues are often in conflict; that is, we must be loyal at the expense of honesty or, conversely, honest at the expense of loyalty to our organization or fellow workers. Does this mean, as is so often concluded, that we can be “good” only in our private lives and that moral behavior must bend or break when we participate in the world’s work?
No, that demoralizing notion is nonsense. Clear rules – – if we heed them – – tell us when honesty takes precedence and when loyalty does if the two conflict. Understanding the reasons for contradictions in the two systems of morals and values throws light on many conundrums . . . (“Systems of Survival, A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations of Commerce and Politics” (1992) xi)
I have to re-read the book, a couple hundred pages.
. . . I (Jacobs) have not invented the two moral and value systems I shall expound. The human race has accomplished that feat during millennia of experience with trading and producing, on the one hand, and with organizing and managing territories, on the other hand. I have merely sorted out this material, analyzed the probable origins and continuing functional reasons for it, and identified types of functional and moral quagmires into which organizations and institutions sink when they confuse their own appropriate moral system with the other.
Intuitively, many of us already understand much of the material with which I shall deal, but often not with sufficient clarity. For one thing, many of us have taken on casts of mind so skewed toward one set of morals and values that we have little understanding of the other, and little if any appreciation of its integrity too. If you do not already recognize a bias you may have absorbed from education, experience, interests, or ambitions, perhaps you will discover it here. The precept “Know thyself” includes knowing the scales with which one weighs actions and attitudes in the great world of work outside oneself. . . .