Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Ethical Mind

There's an interesting interview of Psychologist Howard Gardner in the latest issue of the Harvard Business Review, in which he gives a couple of perspectives on the ethical mind. Gardner sees the human mind as a set of cognitive capabilities that can be grouped in five classes he calls the five human minds (disciplined, synthesizing, creating, respectful and ethical). Here are a few interesting quotes from an article definitely worth reading:

"A person with an ethical mind asks herself, "What kind of a person, worker and citizen do I want to be? If all the workers in my profession adopted the mindset I have, or if everyone did what I don what would the world be like?"

"A study we published in 2004 found that although young professionals declared an understanding of an a desire to do good work, they felt that they had to succeed by whatever means; When they had made their mark, they told us, they would then become exemplary workers."

"We live in a time of intense pressure on individuals and organizations to cut corners, pursue their own interests, and forget about the effect of their behavior on others. Additionally many businesspeople have internalized Milton Friedman's belief that if we let people pursue their interests and allo the processes of the marketplace to operate freely, positive moral and ethical consequences will magically follow."

"When everything that matters can be bought and sold, when commitments can be broken because they are no longer to our advantage, when shopping becomes salvation and advertising slogans become our litany, when our worth is measured by how much we earn and spend, then the market is destroying the very virtues on which in the long run it depends." - Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, Jonathan Sacks

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