14 August 2013

Around the Pyramids -- Ethics In Brief

Then, there's the ethics angle. In today's world, ethics plays a far more important role in maintaining normal human relations in the faces of advances The ethics of a given individual determine more fundamental aspects of living in the contemporary West, such as social standing and reputation. On a business level, ethics determines a company's reputation and thus plays a direct role in determining profitability and growth (such as attractiveness to consumers and the ability to recruit and maintain "the best and brightest" in the job market).

On a business-wide level, there are needs for supervision and accountability; without these, a company has no way of ensuring the people who work for it are following ethical standards, obeying the relevant laws, doing the work safely, producing a quality work product, and honestly marketing the product to the general public. Even if the company puts an ethical code in its bylaws and bundles it with any sort of incorporation documentation, what good is it if there's no assurance that even the lowest man on the company totem-pole is going to adhere to it on pain of losing his job?

And on a personal level, there are even more issues that surface. For example, it's well-known that multi-level marketing schemes play on materialism, greed, and "ditching your boss" as enticements--after all, who wouldn't want to be making money hand-over-fist, going on several expensive vacations each year, and not having to submit to some cranky boss for performance reviews? Watch many of these videos and notice how the emphasis as to why you or I should "get in now while it's hot" with this "next big thing" revolves around making money and having a 'swanky' lifestyle and not on the merits of the goods and/or services that are to be sold to the public.

There is pressure to succeed--from the company itself, from people higher up in the plan, and even the unbridled greed that got the participant involved in the first place. So, someone might have initial success and manage to rise a bit. But in the process, they inevitably run into people who are going to be hard sells. As the compensation usually depends on bringing in not only a consistent amount of revenue, but often actual sales growth, the pressure to render sales and replicate that early growth only intensifies--and when it doesn't, there's always frustration lurking.

Naturally, the overwhelming vast majority of people want to avoid being branded as a failure or a reject, so each participant is ultimately faced with the dilemma of compromising whatever personal code of ethics they may have in a bid to succeed and "get rich" versus admitting that they made a poor decision and must "throw in the towel" before things get worse. Indeed, both options have personal, professional, and ethical consequences that inextricably attach to them, and the resolution to the dilemma lies within that person's conscience.

Some decide that their declining participation is a lost cause and chalk it up to an exercise in bad judgement.

Others will cling to that "dream" of an expensive lifestyle and will stop at nothing to get it, including badgering friends, family, and neighbors even after being rebuffed previously. Some will "mark up" the provided marketing materials and "trump up" things in a bid to make the plan seem even more irresistible. Still more will attempt to slander perceived competition and other "nay-sayers," similar to what some Amway reps had done about 20 years ago in claiming that Procter & Gamble (the makers of cleaning products and thus a direct competitor to Amway) was affiliated with the Church of Satan. Invariably, some will ditch old friends, neighbors, and relatives in favor of individuals who are involved with the program--and in the process seem to bring an almost cult-like aura to the whole affair.

Indeed one could argue that to such individuals, getting that vacation or having rolls of money in their pockets means more to them than the friendships, family, personal codes of morality and ethics, and other interpersonal support that they'd previously took years to cultivate--in other words, it appears that many such individuals would seemingly sell out the things that previously mattered to them the most in order to "make a buck."  

In this age of social-media and individual "brand marketing" the risks are even more stark. The minute one involves their family and/or friends is the minute that they have to fully accept the risks of participation, both positive and negative.

And what I mean by that is this: suppose the "opportunity" goes south, or worse is found to be an illegal activity and the police/sheriff/FBI are aggressively pursuing everyone who was remotely involved. Are you going to be willing to seriously shoulder the responsibility of getting those you love and care about the most involved? Are you willing to accept the risks that you might have to concede that you put them in a scenario where they've lost what little money they had--or worse, were sent to jail? Might they feel that they've been lied to, if not outrightly betrayed by someone that they had trusted? Might they seek to ensure that you pay dearly for your decisions?

Go to the Finale

Go Back to Fundamental Problems

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