Dear Ethix – Issue 40

Good Ethics is Good Business?

I just read the article you wrote on the use of technology in China.

You asked why most of these jobs have been eliminated by technology in many parts of the world but not in China.

Cheap labor probably is one reason that the company does not want to install technology. However, the first four examples you gave are examples of government working positions. The government has been reluctant to accept new technology, partly due to the cost, but mainly due to the concern of employment. The officials don’t really want to replace jobs with machines.

On another question, Jimin Zhu said, “We have come to realize that if there is no business ethics, a company will not have a good future.”

But I have read that Target is in crisis due to the competition from Wal-Mart. We all know Target has a great business ethic, while I question whether Wal-Mart does. How do you see this issue?

Hua Jiang
Seattle, WA

Editor’s Note: There are many reasons why a company can get into a financial crisis. Sometimes it is too easy to blame an unfair practice of a competitor. Further, while Wal-Mart has a reputation, is this reputation justified in whole or in part? Yes, there are some practices Wal-Mart has that concern us.

Ethical Instruction?

Is it ethical to teach students to hack other computers and networks and to also instruct them on the use of the tools to do this? This goes on with the rational that a person needs to know how to do this in order to defend against it.

A student
Salt Lake City, UT

Editor’s Note: Without seeing the curriculum, it is impossible to answer this question. It does take very good understanding of potential hacker practices to develop the tools to stop them. But just like you don’t have to make counterfeit money to learn to detect it, I would think there are plenty of hacker incidents to explore without training students to be hackers.

More about Shougang

I read with interest, the article on the practices of Shougang in China. How might I find out more about this company?

Keith Henry
Detroit, MI

A few years ago, this might have been very difficult. However, a simple Google search using both Shougang and Jimin Zhu will turn up a great deal of material.

Appreciate Ethix

My industry magazine reading sometimes gets put off quite a bit. But Ethix is one of the magazines I read almost cover-to-cover. Keep up the good work.

Ken Stuczynski
West Seneca, NY

Wright is Right

I look forward to each issue of Ethix. I always find something of help personally, and love passing articles on to fellow employees. The Bob Wright conversation, “Courage in an Ethical Crisis” is outstanding. Thanks for the reminder to always do right by Wright. Thanks for the publication!

Jim Gwinn
President, CRISTA Ministries
Edmonds, WA

I just read the Bob Wright article on the IBTE website. Wow! What a perspective he gives on the Andersen situation. Shortly after I graduated from Boise State University, the entire Andersen situation blew up here in Boise. I had friends who had just received job offers in the Boise office and were not sure if they had a job. It is refreshing to read about such a high-ranking corporate partner who took very seriously his job and knew that he might sacrifice his own career in the process.

Janet Bean
Boise, ID

Great Forum

Your publication provides an important service to the community — that of cultivating a comfort zone for the discussion of ethical values. Each one of us should be our own well-informed expert. Our personal autonomy is eroded when we abandon ethics discussions to putative experts. Good work with the open forum.

Tracy Farwell
Seattle, WA