The Cost of Ethical Conduct

I have a simple question.

What is the cost to do something ethically?

It astounds me whenever I discover someone doing something less than ethical – particularly in their business conduct. Perhaps it is my naivete speaking, but I find it atrocious to condone something less than ethical (although, here I speak as if our sense of ethics are shared, when it is perhaps this differing sense of what is ethical and what’s not that drives all these grey areas – we’ll get to it later) just for the sake of monetary gains.

But then again, there’s always the question of what exactly is ethical, and on what ethical grounds are we judging something against.

Sometimes reading through the stories of the high and mighty falling makes me wonder – if this is the consequence of all the unethical conduct done by said person, why even bother? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to do things ethically and not suffer the consequences of this fall in the long run?

There’s always the concept of meritocracy in which I wholeheartedly agree to – that one should be rewarded on the basis of one’s own effort and ability, that what you reap is what you sow. Though sometimes it seems that playing ethically (not necessarily by the rules, because sometimes the rules itself are unethical) doesn’t necessarily lead to reaping rewards as one should.

Perhaps I have not sat myself in the big chair, hence I have not been in a situation where I may have to forgo ethics in order to get things done. I fiercely hope that if I am granted the opportunity, I will not stoop to such levels – though, once again, what constitutes to my sense of the ethically right may differ from that of another.

At least I know when I sleep at night, I don’t toss and turn from being haunted by the demons of my own doings.

EDIT: Alright, I digress. Ethics is personal. Maybe that’s why some people could sleep peacefully at night after doing grey-area stuff, because what they did barely make a mark on their conscience. I think I need to trade my conscience in for something harder.

About Tony the Octopus

I move from tanks to tanks, oceans to oceans, and am not related to Paul.
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