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Paper Topic:

Business Law Exam Question

BUSINESS LAW AND ETHICS : HOW DIFFERENT ARE THEY

When talking about business and ethics , many would necessarily assume that they do not go hand in hand . After all , the business world has most often been described as ruthless , fiercely competitive and will always yield to profit-oriented interests . As noted by James A . Nortz businesses operate in a marketplace in which behavior is governed by fierce competition , only the fittest survive , and fewer still thrive . He explained that , in such a world , the demands of short-term survival tend to drive behavior , even if

this strategy threatens long-term health Just as hungry lions will risk death to take down larger prey corporations often sacrifice long-term interests to meet Wall Street 's quarterly expectations . As a consequence of these forces , history has shown that , absent substantial government regulation and enforcement companies behave according to the laws of the corporate jungle . They form anticompetitive monopolies or alliances , choke the environment with unbridled pollution , falsify financial results , bribe government officials , and treat their employees like dispensable objects (Nortz 2004

In contrast , ethics is defined as that branch of philosophy that defines what is good for the individual and for society and establishes the nature of obligations , or duties , that people owe themselves and one another . The word ethics is derived from the Greek word ethos , which means "character " and from the Latin word mores , which means "customs In modern society , it defines how individuals , business professionals and corporations choose to interact with one another (Answers .com 2006

To place it quite simply , ethics connotes moral conscience and leans more towards the fulfillment of the divine law . That which does not feel right is not right . Business law , on the other , is dependent on statues or that which has been deemed legal by man . In other words , even if it sometimes does not feel right , as long as the law allows it , an act becomes permissible in business law

The website of Answers .com explained the point succinctly when it noted that making ethical decisions in business is often difficult because business ethics is not simply an extension of an individual 's personal ethics or a society 's standards of right and wrong . Just being a good person with high ethical standards may not be enough to handle the tough choices that frequently arise in the workplace

Laws also permit many actions that will not bear ethical scrutiny . In other words , what the law permits or requires is not necessarily what is ethically right . For instance , laws allow disloyalty toward friends , the breaking of promises that do not have the stature of legal contracts and a variety of deceptions

Since ethics is focused into uplifting that which is good for the majority , business interests tend to favor only the powerful and the rich . But is that really the case ? Is there really no intersecting line between business law and ethics ? I believe that when one makes a little effort in analyzing the relationship of business law...

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