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Natasha Tharwani Business Ethics – Synopsis Paper What is the economy?

The economy is a dynamic system based upon relationships amongst the consumers, the money that they earn, and the products they purchase with that money. The money that we put in to buy a certain product changes to being the paycheck for the employee of the company, and that paycheck then goes towards buying more products. Thus, the economy is made up of relationships that create a cycle, and are repeated over and over again. Our lives however are not focused around the economy. As humans, we also search to find things that make us happy. Along with our economic relationships, we have social relationships with our friends, families, and other loved ones that make us happy. The economy focuses on values such as profits, efficiency, and production, and it is seen as a means to reach happiness. Economists claim that the economy allocates its resources effectively; in other words, that it is a just and fair system. I however, disagree with that statement, and believe that the economy is an unethical system. We currently live in an obedient society. As it was shown in Milgram's Experiment, the teachers (test subjects) shocked the learner ever time the learner answered a question incorrectly. The experiment was based upon the principle to punish, and teachers were obeying that principle when participating in the experiment. A principle is the origin and ordering of action. All of the actions that we do are based on some sort of principle which is objectively based. In the experiment, the test subjects obeyed on the principle of punishment. Businesses act on the principle of profit. “Stumbling into Bad Behavior” talked about ethical fading, which is where the individuals are committed to the principle, and thus are blinded when they act on that principle. When they are motivated by this blindness, there is a greater chance for them to do something immoral, and not question themselves when they do so. It's ridiculous that these individuals are not held accountable for the unintentional ethical decisions that they make. The economy is filled with businesses who all act on this principle – and will do whatever necessary, whether or not it is ethical – to ensure that the profit is earned. Economists believe that wants originate within the consumer, and then the economy appears to satisfy those wants. If that was the case, then advertising would not

exist since there would be no need to promote products if consumers already knew that they needed the product. In reality, the central function of advertising is to create these wants/desires within the consumer by creating a world of glamour. This world allows the consumer to step into a different life, and makes them feel that the current life they are living in is inadequate. Thus, consumers are envious of the glamour life, and want to inhabit the world that the product creates. Bam! Just like that, the business makes a profit. They invest a lot of money for the consumers to believe that they are purchasing the glamour world, but it just one big scam. Advertisers are subordinating the real to the imaginary to make the economy work. In order for us to understand, we need to step out of the cave that Plato describes to us. In this cave, we are all prisoners, and see things presented to us on the wall in front of us and think that is our reality. However, these images on the wall are nothing but shadows. In order to see the light and realize that the world has been fabricated, we have to be physically dragged out of the cave. As consumers, we interpret and experience the real world through what the advertisers fabricate for us. Basically, advertisers are allowing us, the consumers, to believe that this glamour world can be attainable if we purchase x, y, and z. In reality however, there is no way we are going to be able to live in that glamour world because quite frankly, it doesn’t exist. Hobbes, Smith, Locke, and Marx all developed theories that describes the economy as a whole, or subsets of the economy such as labor, competition, etc. Hobbes believed that we live in a civilization based on war – and that we will do whatever necessary to ensure our employment and survival. Smith argues that there are two types of labor – productive and unproductive labor. Productive labor is one that produces a product that can be exchanged for other labor. However, as Waring points out, this does not take into account women put into in the household. Since that labor is seen as unproductive, it is invisible in the economic system because that labor doesn’t have an equivalent monetary value. I don’t think the economy can be seen as just if it completely disregards the countless number of hours women put towards raising children and taking care of the home. Locke discussed the idea of the appropriation of land, and viewed it as necessary. In an economic standpoint, empty land is seen as waste. In Locke’s opinion, as dominions of the Earth, if land isn’t being used by humans, it is our job to go and take it

and use it to good use, and get some sort of value, or make a profit, off of it. Locke doesn’t take into account that although “empty” land may not be inhabited by humans, other creatures do live there, so by taking that land, you’re just ruining the homes of animals and jeopardizing their survival. Marx talked about capitalism, and how that system is purely driven by competition. The only way they can make profits while competing and still lower their prices, is if they lower their input costs. Employers aren’t concerned that by decreasing the wages, laborers are bringing home less money to secure their families, and in turn, the future labor force. They are just concerned about still being able to make profits, and growing the economy, not making it more fair or just. Money plays a huge role in our economy; it gives us the ability to exchange the money for goods or services. Money, at one point, used to be backed by gold. Now, it is backed by a mere IOU. Banks loan out money, and expect the loanees to pay that principal back along with an additional amount that is determined by the interest rate. The money that they are charging for interest however is money that doesn’t even exist in the physical money supply; so one individual paying back interest means that another individual is defaulting on his/her loan. In this system the lenders are the ones who are continuing to profit over and over because of the interest charged on the loans. Banks are just like any other sort of business, and want to grow the economy/make profits. Thus, they will charge an individual interest so one can give them money that doesn’t even exist just so they can pocket it. If that’s not unethical, then I don’t know what is. Stone’s article explained the four arguments (promissory, agents, role, and polestar) that agents give when explaining why corporations are devoted to their obligation in making profit more than their moral/social good obligation. Terrible acts such as systematic rape occur in the world so corporations can get the materials needed to create the products that consumers purchase. Consumers, including myself, are living a life of ignorance, and don’t understand that our actions have consequences much greater than what we imagine. A little boy locked up in a closet suffers for our happiness - a false happiness that we perceive as true happiness because the economy has told us that if we purchase this item, we will be initiated into the glamour world, and be happy. How can one be happy and even be worried by not being in this glamour world when we are on a

verge of ecological bankruptcy? When animals are dying due to the photodegradation of plastic that humans consume? When there is a huge mound of trash sitting in the ocean? The life that I have been living is just based on a bunch of lies. Things will not make me happy, contrary to what the commercials are trying to tell me. Things will just force the economy to grow, will cause competition, will lower my paycheck and thus lower my standard of living. That will force me to borrow money, and pay the loaners money back that didn’t even exist. On top of all that, the things that I consume causes hardship to Earth and those that inhabit it, whether it be other humans or animals. Corporations, which make up the economy, don’t care about the consequences of it’s actions. All they still care about is making money. Now you tell me – is the economy really a just and fair system or is it really just out to get us?