Recent history has demonstrated how the ethical lapse of a few can bring critical scrutiny on the whole of business. In order to confront these generalized opinions, a heightened sensitivity to keeping public trust is necessary. The road to that trust is paved with what we refer to as Ethics. If we follow basic ethical rules of honesty and integrity, then we receive the trust of the public, those with whom we do business and those who have a stake in the business for which we are responsible. The origin of the rules may differ between individuals, depending upon our educational background, family experience, culture and discipline. For this reason, limits may differ depending upon the underlying principles on which we base them. Consequently, their validity may vary. Therefore, it is worth our time to identify our rules, seek out their origin and examine whether we should follow, deny or compromise those rules. Ethics apply to all aspects of life, whether business, family, social or governmental. Thus, the premise under which we operate affects all aspects of life.
Malcolm F. Marsh is a Judge on the United States District Court