Pilant's Business Ethics

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I’ve Been Gone for a While.

I have not written for ten days. I have felt a little burned out. Over the last two years I have written 1,602 posts. Sometimes you need to stop for a while. I felt I was becoming formulaic and boring. Certainly I was boring me.

One day in class, I noticed that I often present original ideas that I have developed from my extensive reading but I never seem to talk about my thinking. In my blogging, I have often simply responded to the thoughts of others. Response is not enough. I believe a writer, particularly a writer concerned with social justice, must of necessity present ideas about what can and should be done. It’s not enough to stand against things, you must also be for things.

Another thing I do at school is carry out my plan to remake the world. I preach endlessly the importance of not accepting my ideas as revealed truth but for my students to develop their own thinking processes so that they can consider and weigh facts to make good decisions based on their own experiences, observations and judgment. My faith in their ability to change themselves and then the world is not always apparent to readers of my blog, and it should be.

Sometimes the weight of the power of the 1 percent leads me to conclude in despair that nothing can be done. That is wrong. We have seen this kind of history with the power of the Robber Barons in the 1890’s and the early years of the 20th century. Their power, their money, their influence in the government were all reduced by the energy and faith of social movements drive by the need for change. That is happening again with Occupy Wall Street.

So, I return to writing the blog with some new ideas, a changed focus and a dedication to faith that change is possible and, in fact, inevitable.

James Pilant

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Not Soon! My Cable Company Says.

Original version of current corporate logo, us...

Image via Wikipedia

(This was originally published on 4/27/11.)

My cable is down. I am blogging from school which is not the same as blogging for four or five hours. They may not be able to repair it for some days.

So, it will be a while before I get back to blogging as much as I would like.

Now, many reading this post probably assume I am complaining about my cable company. Sometimes I do. But a huge area here has been badly flooded and the main thing I feel is sympathy for the Cox workers and service techs. This is a rough time for them. And while I don’t like not having my cable. This situation is beyond anyone’s control. So, I wait my turn.

James Pilant

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Dan Bodine Comments on My Last Post

Dan Bodine was kind enough to comment on my travails at moving to a new site. Here’s what he has to say –

Little confused over the “mechanics” of this and why you’re worried so much. Really enjoy you’re content, by the way. But I’m in the early design stage of doing something similar. Only instead of moving my blog, I’m continuing it and starting a new blog. The new blog will be just or political comment, which I feel is inappropriate for my present news and features blog. And of course that means moving some of my old stories and re-posting them in the new blog’s morgue. Is what you’re doing radically different than this? And I’m just an old fogey who still ain’t gotta clue as to how all these website really works?

I’m building a site with at least two sliders, a video feed and about three news feed with probably a half dozen RSS feeds from individual blogs I find important. I’m reading and watching videos from You-Tube on blogging. I’m fifty-five and this stuff does not come as easy as it does to the young.

I’ve been blogging off and on for the past three or four years. This new blog will encapsulate all the lessons I’ve learned in that time.

This is going to be combination of good content, powerful imaging, video content and heavy, heavy search engine optimization.

James Pilant

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Genetic Patents: Moral Concerns (via The Unfolding Drama)

If this isn’t just crazy, what is? You can patent nature itself? You could patent my genes and charge me for their use? Read on and gauge the full extent of the horror.

James Pilant

Genetic Patents: Moral Concerns Last week the Federal Circuit Court handed down what seemed to many a funny decision: that human genes are patentable. Myriad Genetics owns patents for two tumor suppressor genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2 (mutations of these genes are correlated with increased incidence of breast cancer, making them of great interest to doctors and scientists). Myriad was sued by doctors and researchers who claim that genes fall into the category of “products of nature,” … Read More

via The Unfolding Drama

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It is Time to Move the Blog.

I think I have grown as much as I can in terms of audience in the straitjacket of a free web hosting service. It has not been an unpleasant experience. I have learned a lot. But I can’t help but feel that if my blogging software offered more choices like pulling up relevant pictures, graphics, news articles and links automatically, my work would be more effective.

I have purchased a book on setting up my own web site and it will arrive on the 12th of August. Until it arrives I have studied the material available on the internet about setting up blogs. I have budgeted the money for a domain name and monthly services for a year from a paid hosting service. I plan to have everything for the move in place on September the 1st.

My big worries are that I won’t be able to arrange for hits to the site to roll over to the new one and that I could lose those people who have been kind enough to subscribe. Hopefully I can work those problems out.

I am open to any ideas. If you have any experience in these matters and would like to add your advice, please comment.

James Pilant

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Business Ethics (Friday, February 25, 2011)

No Irish Spring: Emerald Isle as Credit Crunch Microcosm (via The Big Picture)

Unemployment is now 13 percent in Ireland; it would be higher if 5 percent of the working-age population (principally the young and well-qualified) had not emigrated over the last two years.

Bankers Apoplectic Over Arizona’s Republican Dominated Senate Passing Chain of Title Bill, 28-2…by Martin Andelman (via ForeclosureBlues)

Frankly, I don’t know where to begin. There’s just so much to say. It’s like a cornucopia of… well, lots of stuff to say. Bankers everywhere must be walking in circles, muttering to themselves, perhaps breaking out in hives.

(Foreclosure Blues is just the best site for foreclosure news – If you want the best coverage of the foreclosure crisis, there’s no better place.)

Wall Street Cash Bonuses Fell in 2010; Average $128,530 (via Business Ethics, The Magazine of Corporate Responsibility)

Cash bonuses paid to New York City securities industry employees declined by nearly 8 percent to $20.8 billion in 2010, as Wall Street firms shifted toward more deferred compensation and higher base salaries, according to an estimate released by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

For the average Wall Street worker, however, that still translated into a 2010 cash bonus of $128,530, according to DiNapoli’s estimate.   And although cash bonuses were down, it’s estimated that total compensation on Wall Street rose 6 percent last year, DiNapoli said.

Only $128,530.

Democracy in the Workplace (via Richard D. Wolff)

Wolff has some very interesting idea and some sharp commentary.

Blogoversary and Why I Blog (via Compliance Building)

Mostly, I publish because the information is useful to me. This blog is a personal knowledge management tool. It’s all about trying to capture information that interest me and has relevance to my day-to-day work. I find that writing my thoughts adds some clarity to my thinking. By putting all of that information into the blog, it’s in a place where it is easy to find.

I promise you when I am tired – when my allergies are bothering me or just feeling a little out of it, I wonder why I blog. Compliance Building has a good handle on why it is important.

James Pilant

The Skuggi Report: Net Neutrality Made Simple (via Skuggi_Net)

This author has done a great job of breaking down a difficult subject into a straightforward narrative.

He wrote this little masterpiece of summary and I provide it to you.

Please visit his web site and thank him for his effort.

James Pilant

Net Neutrality is seen in two views of recent the first being a savior of the internet and the other it’s doom and to be honest depending on its implication it can be both.   The theory behind Net Neutrality is that it will keep the internet unrestricted, you pay for X level of service and you get that service with no services being blocked.   If one person on one ISP (Comcast, Adelphia, Verizon etc.) can get access to a type of content at the sp … Read More

via Skuggi_Net

What Do I Stand For?

What do I stand for?

First and foremost, I believe that a human being can be a businessman and still maintain that precious humanity. That would be my first principle.

I hope it is obvious that flowing from this basic belief is the second, that is, there are many, many reasons to do things and money is not the only one or the most important one.

Third, I am a firm advocate of leadership. Change does not happen naturally or inevitably, and many, many times in history, we have gone backwards. A successful effort toward human values is often destroyed or turned back by the forces of greed and evil. When someone plays that song from Les Misérable, “Do you hear the people sing?,” I always disgusted. No, they’re not. They aren’t reaching for anything. It’s like one of those empty disney films where one more time they tell us to be all we can be but not really. The people like everybody throughout history get tied up and focused on the mundane, the useless, the copying and pretending that passes for life. If people change, for there to be social change, someone has to lead; someone has to point out that change is possible.

We do not live in an era of leadership.

Fourth, I believe in capitalism. I like the idea of people developing and selling goods. I like the idea of competition. But history is clear, it is a lot easier, extremely easier to make money by theft, by lies, by monopoly, by adulterating goods and by bribing or gaining favors from the government. This is so obvious to me, so clear a lesson of history repeated over and over again ad nauseum, that when someone says all we have to do is unleash the power of the market place by getting rid of law and regulation I still find myself shocked.

I have lived during the age of Milton Friedman. I believe that the free market and capitalism are tools to be used in building a healthy society not ends in themselves and certainly not a principle to held with religious fervor. I do not believe in the utopia of communism. I do not believe in a utopia based on race, or education, or religion. And I absolutely reject the idea that all decisions will be made in the best way possible economically if we only let it function without interference. The idea that you can build an ideal society on the basis of greed because it will channel decision making into the best choices to make the most capital or money or value which will produce the best outcomes is no more practical than pure libertarianism where if we have no laws everyone will behave.

I am told that what I believe is called limited capitalism. That’s probably about right. I want to buy eggs at a reasonable or good price but I don’t want to risk death for the low price. I am willing to suffer an additional cost for the government to regulate eggs. (I know I went a little long on number four but it’s important to explain that particular issue.)

Fifth, I believe in personal freedom and privacy. I think those two items are linked. I am very opposed to the surveillance society, and the lack of secrecy and security for our internet communications. I believe an e-mail should be just as legally protected as a letter sent in the mail.

Sixth, I am a patriot. I believe America is a special place because of its people and its history. Because of that, I believe this vibrant, energetic and amazing people deserve government policies to protect jobs and insure economic security. I reject, fundamentally and utterly, the charge that Americans are lazy, over paid and unwilling to accept responsibility. There is constant refrain in the media about lazy, overweight, non-saving, etc. etc, Americans. Any examination of these issues will lead to the discovery that they are far more complex than any simple moral failing.

Those are the ideas I want to put in my columns. If you think I do please tell me and if you think I don’t I need to know that even more.

James Pilant

 

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Ethics Blog Roundup – 07/24/10

David Gebler writing on the blog, Business Ethics, discusses safety violations, codes of silence and what not to do when advancing safety practices.

Shel Horowitz begins his latest blog post (Principled Profit) with these words: As my Boomer generation ages, and as our parents move well into the elder category, I reflect often on something I learned as a young organizer with the Gray Panthers (1979-80): the idea that society had best learn how to incorporate people with disabilities into active daily life, because most of us were going to grow into that category sooner or later.

Horowitz writes that today, his entry is part of an event, Worldwide BloggersUnite, Empowering People with Disabilities. I’d give it a read and take a look at the idea behind the event.

I would like to call attention to two Chris MacDonald postings. A few days ago, Professor MacDonald posted an interview with the author of the “The Authenticity Hoax.” Since then the posting has had some comments (skip past mine) and they have been interesting. Chris gets pretty tough there in that last one. So, I recommend a read of the comments section.

The second MacDonald posting concerns British Petroleum’s faked photographs. MacDonald implies that he has been willing to give BP the benefit of the doubt in the past (I firmly believe this is true. I thought he was too fair) but he is increasingly doubtful of their motives and honesty.

A new business ethics blog has appeared. I give it a warm welcome and a hope of many postings!

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