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Click Fraud
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Q. I’d like to help out a struggling business. Can I click on his web ads in order to generate revenue for his site? A. Let’s give some background to this question. In traditional advertising, the advertiser would pay a media outlet a fixed fee for a particular advertising space, whether a newspaper ad, billboard, […]
Doubtful Diploma
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Q. A job applicant reported a college degree, but we couldn’t verify it with the college and the applicant gave some lame excuse. I know she is now applying for a job with a colleague. Should I tell him she’s a liar? A. Publicizing the misdeeds of others is a trying ethical decision because it […]
Saving for Your Children
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Q. I think it’s important to leave a legacy to my children. How much should I save towards this end? A. The sages of the Talmud had a nuanced view of bequests. On the one hand, they strongly encouraged a person to leave the bulk of his or her assets to their family, and not […]
Duty to Warn
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Q. Recently someone in our area started advertising a get-rich-quick scheme and is inviting interested people to an introductory meeting. Should I attend and try to debunk the scheme for the benefit of the gullible attendants? A. Quick money-making schemes never lose their allure. While we are all aware that earning a good income generally […]
Poaching Game
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Q. My firm would have trouble filling an open position with a simple ad asking for CV’s. But we know an existing worker at another firm who is suitable. Can we try to lure him away? A. Jewish law has a healthy respect for existing business relationships and negotiations, and educates us to be reluctant […]
Spending Your Kids Money
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Q. Relatives gave us presents for our new baby son. Some told us to put the money in a savings account for him, but we could really use the money right now. A. Jewish law, like secular law, recognizes strict limits on the property rights of minor children. For example, the mishna states that if […]
White Lies
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Q. When an important customer calls, it’s awkward for me to say I’m busy. So I tell my secretary to tell the caller I’m out or in a meeting. Is this an acceptable “white lie”? A. Our tradition has a seemingly conflicted view of so-called “white lies,” which are meant to smooth over social situations. […]
Keeping Down with the Joneses
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Q. My neighbors have an annoying way of trying to match or outdo us materially. I’m thinking of borrowing something or pretending to have it, just to goad him into wasting his money on this annoying habit. A. The urge to keep up with the Joneses (or to surpass them) is hardly new. The phenomenon […]
Discounts
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Q. I have a standard price list, but I’m pretty liberal about giving discounts when I need to make a sale. Is this a problem? A. Adam Smith noted that economic progress is dependent “a certain propensity in human nature,” namely “the propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another”. After all, Smith […]
Business with Friends
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Q. A friend suggested I join him in a business deal. When I suggested a contract, he explained that we’re good friends and a hand-shake is enough. Should I be suspicious? A. You don’t have to be suspicious of your friend, but you should certainly be prudent. It’s true that our sages tell us, “Always […]