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Suspect Suspicions
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Q. I’m almost sure that a certain person stole from a classmate. Should I tell the teacher? A. Our last column on snitching received many interesting responses from readers. (See: EXAM SCAM.) Many were surprised at the ultra-cautious attitude Jewish tradition adopts towards informing on others. Your question will give us another opportunity to show […]
How Far is Wall Street from Las Vegas Boulevard
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Q. You’ve written in the past about the many ethical problems involved with gambling. Isn’t playing the stock market just another form of this same vice? A. It’s true that in 1935 the great English economist John Maynard Keynes looked at Wall Street and wrote that the capital development of the United States had become […]
Competitive Intelligence vs Intelligent Competition
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Q. I’m interested in finding out if I can effectively compete in a certain market. Can I do a surreptitious survey of the level of price and service by pretending to be a potential customer or investor? A. Competition for customers helps bring out the best in firms, motivating them to provide the best product […]
Selling Yourself Short
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Q. I’m really in need of money. I’m tempted to sell my blood plasma to a private company. Is this ethical? A. First let’s familiarize readers with this process. In many places it is possible for healthy individuals to augment their income by going twice a week to a center where blood is removed from […]
Smoke Screen
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Q. Now that my phone displays the caller ID, I often decide whether to answer based on who’s calling. Is this kind of screening ethical? A. This is just a high-tech version of a more ancient etiquette dilemma: when somebody knocks, you tiptoe to the door and peek through the peephole, then decide if you […]
Work Ethic
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Q. My business is in an extremely competitive industry. Is there anything wrong with demanding long hours and hard work from my employees? A. There’s no question that hard work is an admirable trait. While it is true that the decree made to the first man, “By the sweat of your brow shall you eat […]
Hidden Agenda
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Q. My publication has a major advertiser who buys space every week. For the coming week, he provided copy that reads like an objective public interest article, and asked me to copy-set it like a regular article. Is this ethical? A. The supposed “fire wall” between the editorial and marketing staffs in journalism has probably […]
Trip Trap
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Q. My company pays a generous travel allowance for business trips. Although the allowance is enough for a nice hotel and good restaurants, I prefer to economize and pocket the difference. Is this ethical? A. Some employers pay a fixed per-day travel allowance as an addition to salary, and do not request any accounting or […]
Gilt Guilt
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Q. I work at an interesting job that pays a fantastic salary. I guess I should be grateful, but really I feel guilty for getting paid so much when others are suffering from poverty. Is it wrong to enjoy wealth while others are impoverished? A. I’m sure many readers would like to experience your particular […]
Democratic Duty
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Q. Is voting an ethical obligation? A. While voting is not an absolute ethical obligation, Jewish tradition educates us in a number of ethical principles that we fulfill when we take part responsibly in participatory democracy. Participating in elections is a way of showing respect for the government and identification with it. If we look […]