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How Much Is It Worth?


How Much Is It Worth?

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Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item How Much Is It Worth?

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Japie Botma
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Sometimes you have to get on the ship to steer it in the right direction.

5ilverFox

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If you're a private company, then you have no obligations; however, if you have stock holders, you are obligated to maximize the amount of money that you earn. Wouldn't it be a fair statement to say if it's not illegal, then it's okay otherwise there would be a law against it. For example, there are embargoes on some countries like Cuba, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, and Yemen. There are others and you can see the entire list here:

http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/embargoed_countries/index.html
sturner
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It is a noble goal to not to do business with an evil entity but it can be very difficult if not impossible to monitor or verify this. Even governments with "peaceful" charters make poor decisions regarding which entities to do business with or give money to. All too often financial aid given to help victims ends up in the hands of dictators and tyrants (what, me worry? we can always just print more money to give away right?? :-P)

In this day and age it is impossible to know for sure which side you are on and who the "good" guys are so why should businesses somehow be any better at knowing this?

Business are better off staying out of politics or deciding who is worthy and who is not. Public Corporations have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders: to make good business decisions and be profitable NOT make political statements. Private business has more leeway in what they can and can't do but they would be smart to stay out of picking winners ad losers or good guys and bad.

The probability of survival is inversely proportional to the angle of arrival.
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I don't see how simply having stockholders obligates you to maximize the money you earn without restrictions. I believe we are all still bound to act responsibly and morally. I can agree that morality might vary to a degree and what is acceptable in one location may not work elsewhere. For example if someone asks for a job and I were to say "no way you aren't nearly good looking enough and we don't hire ugly people" I haven't broken the law but my actions are rude and unacceptable. What if I partner with the brother of a known dictator (not on the list) and funnel thousands (millions) of dollars in bribes knowing this person is detaining and torturing innocent people. By giving this person money I am aiding this activity. It may not be illegal but it is immoral. I think most shareholders would not be happy if they knew what waas happening. But often shareholders don't even read reports and aren't aware of such details. It is management's job to maximize profits in a fair and morally acceptable way; not simply to maximize profits.



Francis
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There's a couple of problems here. No government truly has clean hands, though some are obviously much worse than others. And there are a number of governments that will ranked differently depending on who you talk to: a government might be considered abusive by one group but doing what it needs to survive by another.

But it gets more sticky. Under US law (crazy as it sounds), it is illegal for US businesses to 'boycott' countries unless those are on State department's list. So while you may not want to deal with some countries, your business (and possibly you) may be subject to prosecution. Of course you can always just 'not bother to pursue' certain markets, but if Uncle Sam decides you have other motivations, you can still be in trouble.

...

-- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --
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I agree that a corporation has no obligation other than to increase shareholder value - bound only by existing law. Any ethical conduct by a corporation is taken either for PR purposes or because some influential individual within the corporation determines that this conduct is worthwhile from an ethical standpoint. To expect anything else from a corporation is to be disappointed.
However, for an individual - even one within a corporation - it is insufficient to rely solely on legal constraints to determine the ethical nature of one's actions. Many laws themselves are unethical.
There is a reason why the subject of ethics is not a simple one. There are several schools of thought on even the most fundamental tenets of ethics. Some take the position that certain acts are unethical by their very nature (such as killing another human being) while others take the stance that the outcome of the act is what determines whether it is ethical or not (killing Hitler to save millions of lives would be ok).
I'm of the latter school in that ethics is determined by the effects of one's actions and whether they are beneficial for not only oneself, but for increasingly wide spheres of influence (one's family, groups, mankind, all life, etc).
RML51
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"Business are better off staying out of politics or deciding who is worthy and who is not. Public Corporations have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders: to make good business decisions and be profitable NOT make political statements. Private business has more leeway in what they can and can't do but they would be smart to stay out of picking winners ad losers or good guys and bad. "

I wish this was true. Unfortunately, we all know too well just how far business has their arms up the rear ends of the political parties.



Eric M Russell
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I think there is a difference between conducting a simple business transaction with a suspect individual or government (ex: I give you 1,000 licenses of MS Office and you pay me $500,000) versus facilitating whatever unethical behaviour the suspect is involved in (ex: I help build your gas chamber and you pay me $500,000).
Should a restraunt owner refuse to serve an order of eggs and bacon to a customer, because he is suspected of being a drug dealer? I think not.
Should a realestate investor back out of a deal, because he discovers one of the other partners launders money for drug dealers? I think that's prudent, and it's his perogative.


"The universe is complicated and for the most part beyond your control, but your life is only as complicated as you choose it to be."
sturner
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RML51 (7/5/2011)
"Business are better off staying out of politics or deciding who is worthy and who is not. Public Corporations have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders: to make good business decisions and be profitable NOT make political statements. Private business has more leeway in what they can and can't do but they would be smart to stay out of picking winners ad losers or good guys and bad. "

I wish this was true. Unfortunately, we all know too well just how far business has their arms up the rear ends of the political parties.



And politicians LOVE and ENCOURAGE every bit of it. The answer to it all is: TERM LIMITS.

The probability of survival is inversely proportional to the angle of arrival.
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