On eagles wings: Our recovery from Coronavirus (XVII). Moral Values expressed in Ethical codes.
I wish you a beautiful weekend. It is Friday and we are heading towards mid of June 2020. Before proceeding further, you know more than me, that I don´t have an editor yet. With that in mind, my language as a Latina representative is Spanish. Sometimes I make grammar mistakes. So sorry for posting the word Minessota wrongly on my last publication. I have corrected it properly to Minnesota. But there are some American states and cities that are difficult for me to spell accurately right away (don´t ask me why?): Minnesota is one of them, Massachusetts is another one. Tallahassee. Kissimmee and Skaneateles. Punxsutawney, as a native American name is another one. Je suis desolé!.
As I already mentioned. I will continue showing you some examples of past common sets of core values, that have helped communities of people to act consistently, morally righteous, and aligned for a purpose. Eco-cities is a proposal to mingle the legacy from our ancestors, adopting the modernity of the new technologies, but with equilibrium and balance, not as we were smashing technologies into everything before the pandemic of COVID19. Let´s begin.
The most important piece of the puzzle has been dismissed. Professor Eric Orts from Wharton has recently written an article “Earth Day 2020: COVID-19 Reminds Us Why Science Matters”, and I recommend all of you to read it. His views are interesting, but to my point of view, there is a piece of the puzzle still missing. One of his paragraphs states: “COVID-19 again reminds us of the importance of science. The foundation of the strength of the United States, as well as our modern global civilizations, depends on three pillars: democratic government, free enterprise, and modern science”. Of course, I agree with Professor Orts main details about his beliefs in relation to the three main foundations of global civilizations, but there is a piece of the puzzle that is missing. The most relevant portion of it is absent. Guess which component has been dismissed? Well, an ethical code or our rail moral guideline. Our moral values. Those ethical values expressed in principles, norms, or ultimately in an ethical code are the guideline for success in everything we do. And these are not included in our business strategy frameworks for business modeling. Without moral values untouchable rail guideline, and a clear alignment between the democracy institutional public entities’ values, the integral free-enterprise values, and ecological modern science values, we end up being lost in our intent. Moral values expressed in ethical codes are key not just for incredible leaders dealing with colossus issues that arise in our life journey. At the moment the goliath is about how to deal and solve the COVID19 crisis on a global basis, but each generation has had its behemoth crisis. Be sure that other types of problems (and new ones that we will cause because of the wrong usage of science and technology) will continue in the future. Regardless if we want them or not. The Corona-times (as hard and tough as it is for all of us) is simply a wake-up call to remind us that we, simple human mortals are so vulnerable. The Coronavirus is just one tiny example of the many more vulnerable situations that will arise inevitably in the future for us and the next generations to come.
Our mindset needs a reset. And that reset must happen in the families first, and then organically in schools and universities. In addition to the several layers of society. If we wish a generation that puts moral values at the core of its existence, its previous coevals of parents and professors must change their brains first. Since kids learn much better by following role models or adult examples, that is why Generation X and Millennials must change first. This is unavoidable. If we want a generation Z and kids who have not been born yet with an integral moral 360 degrees motivation, their parents, professors, and social-business-government role models must change to do a characterization of a life driven by moral values, so their actions will matter, and kids will see and learn by the example. The change is not automatic, it takes years and years to change at that level. And the transformation is of huge proportions. We must start by defining our most relevant moral values first, before the economic, political, technological, or scientific values.
Ethics is our compass in everything we undertake or sort out to do. In life, each of us figures out what to do. Some of us get it by chance, others by long years of education, and others by accident or by heritage. But we don´t live in a bubble. There are external events that come beyond our human control. These events are what the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has tagged as vulnerabilities. “Vulnerabilities threaten human development and if these are not tackled in a systematic manner through the transformation of the social norms and public policies, human progress civilization won´t be equitable nor sustainable for the long run (UNDP)”. According to the UNDP, humans have always confronted, are encountering and will face off the following vulnerabilities:
- Environmental and Natural catastrophes (climatic, meteorological, hydrological, geophysical, biological)
- The economic and financial disasters
- Social Inequality
- Health Emergencies (as pandemics)
- Food Insecurity (alimentary crisis)
- Political Wars and internal violent conflicts
Eleonora Escalante Strategy wouldn´t hesitate to add a 7th vulnerability type called the NAIQI (Nanotech-Artificial Intelligence-Quantum-Internet Supremacy) technological imbalance that is forcing to immerse the newest coming human structural vulnerabilities linked to people’s inability to figure out what to do with the economic destruction of the new digital business models wrong implementation.
Eleonora Escalante Strategy has discovered the nature of the puzzle piece that is missing. Until here Eleonora Escalante Strategy agrees with the UNDP thought rational speech. Thanks to God, the United Nations Development Program has evolved to build its famous Human Development Index with 17 social development goals (SDGs), clearly measured through key performance indicators and an SDG global ranking. The SDG system is now classified per country, and it has been so successful that it has been extrapolated and adopted by many private-sector corporations.
Ethics (Moral values), goals, and law are different concepts. Many economic development gurus may declare or even assert that United Nations SDGs could be the ethical rail needed to fix the societies. But the issue is that we can´t confuse SDGs with an ethical code or a set of moral values. Goals are one thing. Moral Values are another. We are confusing pears with apples. Not good. The same applies to the confusion between ethics and law. Ethics and law are different, and I will explain it with a basic example: People must not pee or spit in public places. If your moral or ethical personal set of values includes the value of respect to others, consciously you won´t pee in the corner of a street, or you won´t spit phlegm in the sidewalk. But what happens when people ethics decay or you don´t have the moral value of respect to others in your mind?. Usually, if the municipality mayor office has to clean your pee and spits, then a government law or regulation emerges to fill the gap of your lack of ethics: a high substantial punishment or fine is given to those who pee or spit where you don´t have to. Incredible, isn´t it? The lack of ethical values triggers regulation by the law only when societies lack of ethical values, or incur a necessary-high cost to fix your wrongdoings.
Examples of Moral codes. In this section, I will simply share 5 examples of moral codes (or codes of ethics) that Doctor Rushworth M. Kidder has cited in his book “How good people make tough choices”(if you wish to read more about these examples, please visit his book on page 80). I have added the Danish Council of Ethics example because Copenhagen is one of the top eco-cities in the world.
- The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17).
- The Boy Scout Law: A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind. Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave. Clean and Reverent
- The West Point Honor Code: “A cadet does not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do”.
- The Rotary Four-Way Test Code:
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
- Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?
- The Minnesota Principles: Proposed by the Minnesota Center for Corporate Responsibility in 1992. Minnesota has built his “fame” reputation as one of the top eco-cities in the world because 28 years ago, they started with the basics: Designing a General Principles statement for businesses setting forth 4 core moral values:
- Fairness: Business activities must be characterized by fairness (Fairness include equitable treatment and equality of opportunity for all participants in the marketplace)
- Honesty: Business activities must be characterized by honesty (honesty include candor, truthfulness, and promise-keeping)
- Respect for Human Dignity: Business activities must be characterized by respect for human dignity (Should show a special concern for the less powerful and the disadvantaged)
- Respect for the Environment: Business activities must be characterized by respect for the environment ( promote sustainable development and prevent environmental degradation and waste of resources)
- The Danish Council of Ethics: The Danish Council of Ethics was set up to deal with ethical issues arising from research and development in health and biotechnology. Historically, the issues that made it clear that an Ethical Council was needed were those of genetic engineering, assisted reproduction, and fetal examination. The Council is guided by respect for the integrity and dignity of the human being and future generations, as well as respect for nature and the environment.
Next week Eleonora Escalante Strategy will continue explaining to you why a code of ethics is crucial when it comes to recuperating our purpose after a crisis of such enormous size (as the Coronavirus global pandemic). Ethics must be in all our endeavors. Next week, I will share with you some slides of class material that a former colleague of mine, Professor Everardo Rivera, and myself prepared for this specific topic when we were teaching business ethics to junior undergraduate university students in one private reputable university from hometown.
A final reflection for the weekend: Life without ethics is disgraceful. It triggers the newest and more structural vulnerabilities to humans and the planet, not just in business and economics, but in politics, social and environmental domains. All our endeavors must put ethics or moral values at the core, otherwise, humans fail (and that includes all our inventions and technologies). Blessings.
Source of other authors cited in this article:
Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY. Nevertheless, the majority of the pictures, images, or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.
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