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Exorbitant Execs
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Q. Is it ethical for top executives to be getting the kind of obscene salaries which have become commonplace? A. There are certain ethical problems with executive salaries, as we will discuss. But we should clarify that Jewish tradition definitely does not validate begrudging these individuals their lavish salaries. This kind of attitude is foreign […]
Why the World Needs a Jewish State
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Q. Why is there any religious importance to having a Jewish state? How does this contribute to the Jewish ideal of “ethical monotheism”? A. This is one of the most common questions asked of the Jewish Ethicist. In answering this question, there is no need to dwell on any “justification” for the modern state of […]
Distant Danger
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Q. Some of the cosmetics I sell contain ingredients that are now suspected of increasing the risk of disease. Can I continue to sell these products? A. It is certainly unethical to sell clearly dangerous merchandise to an unsuspecting customer. But nowadays the situation is not always so simple. Scientists are constantly discovering new and […]
Costly Competition
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Q. We found a way to attain an overwhelming cost advantage over our competitors. Is it ethical for us to lower prices so much that they are left with almost no business? A: The issue of fair business competition is an ancient one, which is extensively discussed in the Jewish sources. The most prominent insight […]
Malicious Merchants
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Q. A merchant in our area is known for his support of unsavory causes. Is it proper to prefer other establishments? A: The main reason for choosing a particular merchant is generally the quality and price of his merchandise, and it is certainly valid for you to make these considerations uppermost. But market relationships are […]
Fresh or Free
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Q. A store in our neighborhood advertises: “It’s fresh or it’s free” — if a customer finds food that is not fresh, the store will give it to him. Is it ethical to make a special search for these items? A. Let’s examine the essence of this generous and unusual store policy. It is certainly […]
A Room With A View
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Q. Is a landlord required to make sure that a rented apartment is livable? A. Nowadays, the law generally holds the landlord to an “implied warranty of habitability.” In other words, by the very fact of offering a property for rent he is assuring the tenant that the apartment meets generally accepted standards for dwelling. […]
Revolving Door
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Q. When leading public servants such as regulators leave their jobs, they often go to work for the same companies they used to supervise. Is this ethical? A. There’s no question that there is a severe problem when public servants face a conflict of interest. Yet before we analyze this problem, we should acknowledge that […]
Spam Jam
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Q. My firm provides a unique product that could be of interest to many individuals. Someone has offered to make a pitch through a “spam” mailing to millions of individuals. Can we take advantage of this offer? A. In principle, Jewish tradition does not frown on promotion. It is legitimate for a seller to try […]
Confidential Ex-Con Part I
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Q. If I know that a job applicant has a criminal record, should I inform the proprietor? A. The case of a former criminal can be related to on two levels. At one level, he is the same as any individual: He deserves protection from slander, but at the same time others deserve protection from […]