In October 1998, David Gill and I put out the first issue of the publication that would later be named Ethix. The motivation was the dot-com boom and our concern that technology was changing the face of business. The “threat” of Y2K was just around the corner. We saw a whole new set of ethical issues in business that needed critique. Few people knew about Enron except for those looking to invest in the hot, growing energy company.
This issue is number 50. David has gone on to do other things, and the publication is now a part of the Center for Integrity in Business at Seattle Pacific University. The nature and challenges of the business ethics agenda continue to evolve with new regulations, new opportunities, and a “flatter” world, where globalization adds to the other challenges.
We are grateful to our readers and many contributors who have made these first 50 issues possible.
Special Issue on Central Africa
We dedicate this special issue to the people of the Central African Republic (CAR), and those like them who are not benefiting from the globalization transformation of the world. These are people caught “outside the system,” in a web of poverty, corruption, and challenge that many of us know little about. We offer a small fraction of shorter profiles and pictures we gathered providing different perspectives on this difficult scene.
I was in Africa with a research team in June supporting Integrated Community Development International (ICDI), a nonprofit NGO (non-governmental organization) trying to address fundamental needs in this very difficult part of the world. My colleague from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF), John Terril, and I led a small team consisting of Ilka Montrose (recent Vanderbuilt MBA grad), Susan Teng (recent Harvard MBA grad), and Francis Friend (our French speaker from IVCF who handled all of the translation). Ilka and Susan are now business professionals in New York. We conducted 27 interviews of 140 people in CAR over two weeks and created a report for ICDI with recommendations for an approach to micro-economic development. The profiles in this issue were developed by the entire team.
Since the majority of our readers are Western business people, why should they care about what is happening in CAR? We concluded that the world is not as flat as Tom Friedman believes it to be. There are unique challenges in the Central African Republic that reflect challenges of all people who are left behind by the market forces. What role could and should business have in addressing these people? This is a question for all of us.
Let us know what you think. We have done this special issue in full color to capture more accurately the images of Africa. Next issue we will return to our two-color format and our more traditional issues and features in Ethix.
You may respond to the needs in the Central African Republic by supporting the work of Integrated Community Development International (ICDI). You can go to their Web site (www.icdinternational.org) and find out how to support a child, help to drill or repair a well, or provide other kinds of support.