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Worker Ownership Part I
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Q. Is there an ethical dimension to worker ownership? A. Many countries have laws which encourage companies to introduce some degree of employee ownership. In the US, for instance, employers can obtain tax breaks if they set up an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Spain has a highly-developed network of employee cooperatives, which are also […]
Worker Ownership Part II
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Q. Last week you wrote about the many ethical advantages of worker ownership. What does Jewish tradition tell us about this vehicle? A. One of the most prominent and consistent themes in Jewish ethics is the importance of freedom and the censure of servitude. This is clear in the narrative of the Torah itself, which […]
Blogging Ethics Part II
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Q. Blogs provide an open forum for readers’ comments. Is the blogger responsible for encouraging slander and other irresponsible contributions? A. Web logs are at the frontiers of ethical thought, since they are a relatively new medium which blur the boundaries between existing media such as newspapers, diaries, and so on. Yet in many ways […]
Not for Profit
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Q. Many executives at non-profit organizations are getting gigantic salaries. Is that ethical? A. In a previous column we wrote about excessive salaries for executives. The truth is that regarding virtually all questions of excessive compensation we should ask the same question: is this person being paid to create value or to divert value? In […]
Vindictive Vendor
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Q. I have a competitor who is intentionally sabotaging my business relationships. How can I get back at him? For instance, he misled one of his clients regarding his background; can I let the client know? A. It’s certainly regrettable that your competitor is sabotaging your business. While Jewish law acknowledges the right of firms […]
Clerical Criticism
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Q. You recently wrote that while blogs should protect the privacy of private individuals, they don’t need to block reasonable discussions of the qualifications of public figures. Does this include religious leaders? What are the boundaries? A. My recent column on blogging ethics generated a lot of interesting reader comment and, not surprisingly, a fair […]
New Year-Time for Spiritual Accounting
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Usually this column is devoted on taking messages from the world of Jewish tradition and applying them to the world of economic life. This Rosh Hashana I want to go in the opposite direction, and see what the world of business can teach us about our annual process of repentance and renewal. I can point […]
Caustic Critic
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Q. I write music reviews for a popular magazine. Sometimes I think a disk is really crummy. Can I write my honest opinion? A.This delicate question is faced not only by critics but at some time by virtually any columnist. The way to the ethical answer is to examine the job of the critic, and […]
Charity Begins at Home
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Q. My charity budget is somewhat limited. Can I give it to needy family members? A. The answer to your question seems obvious. Centuries before the English expression “Charity begins at home” was coined, the prophet Isaiah (58:7) admonished: “Shall you not break bread for the hungry, and bring broken paupers home; clothe the naked […]
Supplier Struggle
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Q. Recently a customer obtained a price quote, only to return a few days afterwards asking me to revise my quote to beat an even lower quote from a competitor. Is that ethical? How should I respond? A. This game of playing suppliers off against each other is hardly new. The most famous exponent of […]