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Is Business Bluffing Ethical? By Albert Z. Carr. What is Carr’s central claim? “Business…is a game that demands both special strategy and an understanding.

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Presentation on theme: "Is Business Bluffing Ethical? By Albert Z. Carr. What is Carr’s central claim? “Business…is a game that demands both special strategy and an understanding."— Presentation transcript:

1 Is Business Bluffing Ethical? By Albert Z. Carr

2 What is Carr’s central claim? “Business…is a game that demands both special strategy and an understanding of its special ethics.” (p. 60) –One of these strategies involves calculated lying in the form of bluffing. –These special ethics are different from “church ethics” such as honesty, integrity, and decency.

3 Two important definitions. Game (n.) = (1) An activity providing entertainment or amusement; a pastime. (2) A competitive activity or sport in which players contend with each other according to a set of rules. [The root word means to leap merrily.] Bluff (vt.) = (1) To mislead or seek to mislead a person by a false, bold front. (2) In poker, to try to mislead other players by betting more on a hand than it is worth. [The root word means either to boast or to baffle.]

4 Two points about the definitions. The fact that an activity is a game does NOT determine the acceptable strategies. –“The Game of Science,” in which absolute truthfulness is needed for long-term success. –Golf, in which absolute honesty is expected. Bluffing is NOT identical with lying. –Some bluffs are not lies (poker vs. “liars poker”). –Many business lies cannot be considered bluffs.

5 What is Carr’s Argument? – Part 1 “Falsehood ceases to be falsehood when it is understood on all sides that the truth is not expected to be spoken.” (p. 59) –Is business a game in which the players do NOT expect truth to be spoken anywhere? –So, where do the ‘rules of the game’ require truth to be spoken?

6 What is Carr’s argument? – Part 2 Poker and business share a particular brand of ethics. –Poker not only rewards cunning deception (that is, bluffing), but it also celebrates it. –Is this true of business? No one thinks the worse of poker players for taking advantage of people by bluffing. –But what of the other examples of taking advantage that Carr lists on p. 61?

7 But what is Carr’s final word? He says -- –There ARE rules in business that define right and wrong – laws, regulations, and court decisions. –There are strategies in business that are NOT prudent to use, at least in the long term – ones that generate hostility because of their deception, unfairness, greed, etc. How is this a game in which “ethics,” that is, clear attention to matters of right and wrong, is irrelevant?


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