In Changing Perspective
The word 'Ethics' may be defined as moral principle or code of behaviour, i.e., it deals with what is good and what is bad. Business Ethics is the collection of ethical codes for practice during business transaction. According to Mahatma Gandhi ji, "I must confess that I do not draw a sharp line or any distinction between economics and ethics. Economics that hurt the moral well being of an individual or a nation are immoral and therefore sinful. Thus, the economics that permit one country to pray upon another are immoral".
Barnard (1958) has outlined the moral behaviour as 'Governed by beliefs or feelings of what is right or wrong regardless of self-interest or immediate consequences of a decision to do or not to do specific things under particular conditions'.
Riesman (1950) has categorised men into three types according to their source of moral direction. First, the tradition directed type, includes the person who follow the social and cultural order in which he/she took births and lives. They almost blindly follow the customs of the society because it is considered wrong to break the tradition. Second, the inner-directed type, includes such persons who get their source of direction early in their life from their elders. Third, the other directed type, includes such persons who took their inspiration from their contemporaries and change their concepts accordingly.
Theory Of Ethics:
Gupta (1995) observed that there are three basic types of moral theories in the field of ethics. First theory may be known as Utilitarian theory, which suggests that plans and actions should be evaluated by their consequences. The second theory which is based on rights, holds that all people have basic rights such as the right to freedom of conscience, free speech, due process and so on. The third theory, which is based on justice, demands that fairness and equity as well as impartiality guide decision-makers.
Gandhian Thoughts And Business Ethics
We generally consider Mahatma Gandhi ji as a freedom fighter while he was a social reformer too. His revolutionary thoughts are relevant, even for the third millennium. He always opposed consumerism. According to him, consumerism persuades both the rich and the poor to adopt unethical means. The richer group wants to consume mote and more needlessly while poor may adopt unfair means to satisfy their desires. He mentioned that consumerism and unethicalness are closely related to each other. Once Mahatma Gandhi ji mentioned "In the new millennium also, there will be enough for everybody's need – but not for everybody's greed."
Mahatma Gandhi ji always pointed out that morality and ethics should guide our conduct in business, management, industry, finance and life.
Mahatma Gandhi ji totally discarded the concept of capitalism by saying that free market without ethical and moral principle lead to the exploitation. Under capitalist system, the rich become richer and the poor become poorer. The gap between the rich and the poor continues to increase. The wealth centralised into few hands and rest lives on hands to mouth. For solving this situation of capitalism, he propounded a theory of trusteeship. He often said that his theory of trusteeship would finish capitalism without finishing the capitalist. He suggested the capitalists to voluntarily renounce their property and become trustees of their property. According to him, this is the only way of bringing socialism by peaceful and non-violent means.
Competition And Morality
There is a concept that state should own every property and all business should be directly governed by the government while the least opportunities should be given to the public. This system is also known as communistic system. In this type of state, there is no scope of competition, so there is a lesser chance for progress, as it is said, competition is the basis of progress.
Another concept says that the role of the market forces in a competitive environment should be supreme. Under this system it is demanded that every thing should be left on the market forces while the government should work as an organiser only. Under this system, a cutthroat competition is being found, and government do not have any right to check it. In this stream, only big fishes can swim. The least morality is being found under this system, because every one wants to over take others and government does nothing. This system is known as capitalistic economy.
The system of Mixed Economy is being developed by analysis the merits and demerits of communist and capitalist economies. Under this system both government and market forces play vital roles. In this system, government may have monopoly in few fields but private sector is not allowed to have monopoly otherwise they may exploit the opportunities and the ultimate losers would be the general public. Under this system, the production and distribution of essential products must be concentrated in the hands of government, private sector may have a helping hands in this, as in the case of Public Distribution System (PDS).
Causes Of Unethicalness
In the present world situation, every one is very much causes about fundamental rights for human beings. There are many Human Rights Commissions for the purpose. Beside this, no one bother about human duties. Majority is even not aware about fundamental duties but they start agitation if there is any violation of fundamental rights. If every one start fulfilling there will not be any such problem and some department, like consumer forum will become worthless.
Dharma: The Ultimate Precaution And Cure
We Indians are blindly adopting the western footsteps for development, this is the main reason of today's increasing unethicalness in the society. The westernisation has changed the meaning of Dharma as Religion, while it is a narrow view of Dharma. The actual sense of Dharma is the moral duties for human beings. The term Dharma incorporate all moral and ethical codes of conduct for individuals while religion means code of conduct for religious purpose only. Dharma of all individuals remains same in all walks of life and conditions while the code of conduct for religion keeps on changing the religion.
The Manusmrti (in II.1) gives the following general definition of Dharma, 'Know Dharma to be that which is practiced by the learned that lead a moral life, that are free from hatred and partiality, and that is accepted by their hearts (i.e., consciences)'
Majority of the human beings is just following the religious code of conduct, which are different for different religions. Only a few one try to abide by the Dharma of human being, we can quote a name Mahatma Gandhi who followed the Dharma instead of Religion.
Adoption of Dharma is the only way of bringing morality and ethicalness into business. For this purpose, we need a total revolution in the society, right from the grass root level, as it is said, "Nations like trees grow from their roots". Our education system should incorporate moral and ethical education since 1st standard to spread healthy code of conduct. This will help in improving business ethics in future.
These all are possible in case we get selfless ideal leaders, i.e., the political front of the country must be working for the ultimate welfare of the society.
Barnard, C.I. (1958), "Elementary Conditions of Business Morals", California Management Review, Vol. 1, p.4.
Gupta, A.D. (1995), "Economic Management and Ethics: The Vedantic Answer", Indian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 41(3), p.307-315.
Riesman, David (1950), "The Lonely Crowed", Yale University Press.