Ethical System

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Our decisions in life determine the actions we take on a daily basis. However, arrival to the decisions on the other side is determined by our personal beliefs, intuitions, and analysis of a given scenario coupled with our ethical systems of decision making. The ethical system determines the premise of the final decision that can be arrived at by an individual (O’Fallon & Butterfield, 2005). However, the ethical application of a given system relies practically on the beliefs of an individual and the reasons behind making the decision. The virtue ethics system is my ethical decision-making system which highly relies on the character of a person and thinking about the consequences of the decision to others. On the other hand, it applies as the direct opposite of the ethical egoism system which focuses on the self-interest of an individual without taking into consideration the consequences of the decision on others. Therefore, the application of the virtue ethics leads to moral and ethical decision making which is contrary to ethical egoism.

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Ethical egoism focuses on the gain of benefits at the personal levels without having any empathy for the other people which will be affected by decisions an individual makes (Shaw, 2016). It ensures that we put ourselves first before everything or everybody else. For example, taking into consideration the case of Bernie Madoff in the Ponzi scheme, he decided to undertake fraudulent activities for financial gains without letting the investors realize they were involved in a fraud business. In the end, several organizations, middle-class clients, and philanthropic individuals lost their pension funds and life savings in the Ponzi scheme (Descartes, n.d). Bernie Madoff’s finances increased, but his clients lost their financial savings into the scheme. Therefore, the ethical egoism systems result in more harm to the others at the expense of self-interest.

On the other hand, decision making based on virtue ethics focuses on the others and including them in your decisions (Shaw, 2016). It makes an individual take actions that they would go with the other people to take in case they were in a similar position. The virtue ethics system for decision making focuses on arriving at the moral good and right through focusing on the virtues such as honesty, integrity, love, and friendliness. For example, in the case of Edward Snowden revealing the actions of the American government in spying on the American people through Verizon relied on his integrity and honesty (Greenwald, 2013). Since the government’s actions were against his personal beliefs and virtues, he decided to resign and ensure the American citizens obtained the truth.

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In conclusion, the application of the virtue ethics system highly appeals to me because in every aspect it allows me to be natural and see others as human thereby in everything I do or act on, I must ensure is right and good. Naturally, it difficult for humans to see their ethical failures and the consequences of their actions on the other people. For instance, the Bernie Madoff’s case he failed to see the effect of the Scheme on the investors. However, on my side, I believe in the moral good as the best course of action in every decision as it results in positive growth.

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  1. Descartes, R. Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme: Reliable Returns from a Trustworthy Financial Adviser.
  2. Greenwald, G. (2013). NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily. The Guardian.
  3. O’Fallon, M. J., & Butterfield, K. D. (2005). A review of the empirical ethical decision-making literature: 1996–2003. Journal of business ethics, 59(4), 375-413.
  4. Shaw, W. H. (2016). Business ethics: A textbook with cases. Nelson Education.
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