One of the weird quirks to capitalism is that we have created a separate and NOT equal world of ethics inside of business.
So that we walk into work and we do things that we would NOT do in our personal lives. Things that would be rude or mean or just morally wrong to us in our personal lives are considered OK if it’s in business because the basics of Business Ethics is – make money and do whatever it takes to make money. We may add in “as long as it isn’t illegal” but ONLY because illegal acts add a cost on it that makes it not profitable.
We think it’s fine to suspend our morals (what we think is right or wrong) when we walk into business because there’s a different code of ethics (rules of conduct) inside those walls.
No one thinks particularly about it. It’s just how it is. Many people have made Capitalism into greater moral authority than their particular God. And they do it without even thinking about it. Because it is so very prevalent in society. It’s the Capitalism Exemption.
I think that eventually humans will have to face the vile hypocrisy that we all pretend is not a problem. But it is. It’s deeply embedded into some of the biggest problems this world faces, including climate, war, discrimination and poverty.
It’s also something every single one of us sees happening and does everyday in ways we don’t even notice until the big ugly thing happens. Then everyone is sort of weirded out but they nod their heads knowingly – Its Business. Its OK.
But it’s NOT OK! If something is morally and ethically wrong – it’s wrong in all parts of this world. Business is not a parallel universe in which morality can be temporarily suspended so that we can apply Business Ethics to the situation. The morality of an issue remains the same, even when we ignore it in the name of profit.
I say these things as an non-believer, whose moral compass is somehow managing to ping louder over the moral outrages that are perpetrated inside of business than many of the people who claim a strong belief in a deity. If those folks wish to continue to hold what they consider to be the high moral ground they need to stop working the Capitalism Exemption.
Indeed, we all need to stop working the Capitalism Exemption.