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Humanities Discussion Series Madrid “Don’t Be Evil”: When Is Profit Not Worth It

x [1]Student Hub
Thursday, December 3, 7:30-9:30 pm
Snacks and Refreshments Served Beforehand

The assumed wisdom is that large corporations will do virtually anything to make money, that their unstated motto is that “greed is good” and ethics subservient to profits. And, to be frank, given their responsibility to their shareholders and that they often operate in a myriad of legal jurisdictions of varying social customs, mores and ideals, it is not clear why corporations, as long as they function within the law, should have any concern beyond the profit motive?

On the other hand, these same corporations often present themselves as stakeholders within our communities, whose capacity to thrive depend on their reputations, the trust they engender and the sustained contribution they would make to our societies. And, we too would like to think of them in this way, rather than as psychopathic profit machines.

Hence, in our discussion, we ask where the limits to profit making should be set in the corporate world? From the recent example of Lego refusing to sell its products to a Chinese dissident for fear of angering the Chinese government, to the increasing take over of public functions by private corporations, leading to the emergence of a whole private prison system and mercenary armies in the United States to the perennial problem of arms dealers providing weapons and knowhow to dictators with the consent of our governments, the question of where to place the limits on the profit motive is one of the most contentious in our times.

Please come and voice your perspective on where you would daw the lines and what Google’s alternative motto, “Don’t be Evil”, would actually mean in the context of corporate decision-making.