Instructions for the Oral Presentations

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The Future of Global Ethics


Questions and Answers

My Reaction

Suggestions and Recommendations

Reference Source


Thumbs up! Thumbs down!


Questions and Answers

My Reaction

Suggestions and Recommendations

Reference Source


The Future of Global Ethics


"...because we will not survive the 21st century with the 20th century ethics," is how the page is started under the heading of why ethics matter. It is a strong statement, made by the owners of this website, the Institute for Global Ethics. With the press of a button modern technology allows us the immense power of decision making. The finger that presses the button is held responsible for catastrophe or success. The Institute agrees that a good decision can benefit millions, while an unethical one can cripple the future.

Catastrophe? Isn't that an extreme accusation? The Institute disagrees and thinks that catastrophe might even be downplaying the events that have already happened due to poor choices. In this century poor ethical judgement has lead us to disasters such as the grounding of the Exxon Valdez. Other examples include the meltdown of reactor #4 at Chernobyl, and the failure of Barings Bank.

The Institute feels that technology empowers many people of many levels around the world and if these people do not have good judgement devastations may occur. Many citizens of the 21st century are unaware that ethics has consequences, and their actions may have terrible reactions. They are afraid the people who push those buttons will not make decisions based on the highest moral values and on self-interest instead. The Institute feels we need to start thinking on a global mentality and act ethically on the behalf of not only ourselves, but our families, our environment, and our government.

After reading the first portion and exploring parts of the webpage you cannot help but feel like the world is literally upon your shoulders. One touch of a button by you can may affect millions of people you may never know. The responsibility of upholding a code of the highest moral principles seems very logical when your actions can devastate so many. But, how many people have a sense of good decision making based on others and not themselves? How many people even know what ethics is?

The webpage offers an interesting approach to that question. On the corner of the first page is Moral Barometer Poll. I clicked on it and it took me through a series of three intriging questions and I highly suggest taking a look at it. After the three questions the poll displays the results. In the last 50 years, 79% of the pollers felt the Moral Barometer was falling, 21% voted rising. In the last 6 months, 74% felt the Moral Barometer was falling and 26% rising. This means that there has been a change in the last six months and 5% reversed their answers from the last 50 years? What could have caused this change of heart? I was puzzled since I voted falling for both and thought it was falling at a faster rate in the last 6 months.

The next step is how do you teach ethics and morals? Is it teachable to adults after practicing a different set of ethics all their lives? It's a hard question to answer. Many people are not even aware of their own set of ethics and morals and might not feel they need changing at all. Does a common set of moral codes for the world mean there is no freedom of choice? That means as a citizen of the planet Earth we are obligated to follow the set of rules that were set up by others. Who is to say what is correct morals and what is incorrect morals?

So what is this Institute you keep reading about? "The Institute is an independant, nonprofit, nonsectarian, and nonpartisan organization dedicated to elevating public awareness and promoting the discussion of ethics in a global context. As an international, membership-based think tank, we focus on ethical activities in education, the corporate sector, and public policy." The Institute has set up this webpage as a forum and medium for open discussion about ethics and the future of it.

The Institute of Global Ethics is two main offices located in the U.S. and the U.K. Addresses and email is posted on the webpage for surfers to utilize. The mission of the Institute is as follows:

They have an international board of directors, an international advisory council, a network of nationwide and global connections, and a membership base of more than a thousand individuals in the United States and around the world. Members range widely in age, profession, and geographic location. Funding is derived from private foundations, members, ethics training seminars, lectures, sales of publications, and consulting.

The webpage is done quite well in my opinion and is very comprehensive. The layout is easy and simple for any user of any skill level. Some points I'd like to recommend taking a look at is the statistics portion. I found the education and business statistics very interesting. Here is a preview:

"In a recent survey of 1,000 Americans, 25% ranked "teaching children values and disciplines" as most important to address in education today. It was listed ahead of all other issues."

"Fifty-seven percent of public-school parents said in a survey that courses on values and ethical behavior should be taught in schools, while 34% felt that values and ethical behavior should be left to parents or churches and 9% said it should be taught by both. Sixty percent of people believe that teaching values and ethics would be very effective in reducing violent behavior; 27% felt it would be somewhat effective."

"In the 1996 Who's Who Among American High School Students survey, three of four students admitted to having cheated. Ninety-four percent ssaid they were never caught and five of six caught were not punished."

In a Reader's Digest survey, "Eight out of 10 high-school students admitted to cheating; furthermore, they say that their teachers often make it easy."

The webpage also contains a list of publications that you may purchase to read. Finally, there is a membership page if anyone is interested in joining and students get a discounted membership price (for those who need extra incentive to join).

Ethics, morals, poor decision making is a big issue and should not be treated lightly. I agree with the webpage that effects can be detrimental but, do we have to put more pressure on ourselves to adhere to high ethical principles 24 hours a day? Not to be a cynic, but is that possible? We would be doing ourselves a injustice to push this under the carpet but I feel the webpage has a frightening undertone and actually scared me. I suggest for future visitors to look at the site with one eye closed. Try not to take the issue of global ethics overly serious because it will make your heart heavy. Keep one eye open because the webpage has a lot to say and most of it is relevant to today's society.

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Questions and Answers

Corey Egami: How do cultural differences hurt or help global ethics? Who are we to decide what global ethics is?

I do not think the Institute is concerned with our differences but more with our similiarities. We all are striving to better ourselves and the planet and want everyone to make the right decisions. Cultural differences is very miniscule when we are looking at the bigger picture. The differences should not keep us apart but keep us aware of our own individuality.

Who is to decide what global ethics is? If you're referring to who decides what set of rules should be adapted I can't answer that. I asked the same question. I think it is ethnocentric for a one group to decide. It should be a world decision but can the world come to an agreement? Not only that, but an agreement quickly before it is too late.

Russ Muramatsu: What does poor ethical decision have to do with the Exxon oil spill?

I vaguely remember the incident since I was so young, but according to Dr. James, the sailor manning the tanker was drunk. This person had the crew's life and contents in his hands. He chose to intoxicate himself and it lead to a disastrous spill. According to the Institute, if he had a high set of moral principles he would not have chose to consume alcohol knowing that it affects his judgement and perception.

Valerie Iinuma and Albert Ne and Kyle Michibata: How does global ethics relate to Psychology 409?

In my personal opinion I think the Internet should have a set of unwritten but commonly understood and practiced guidelines. The issue of respect and honesty has come into our class discussions many times and Dr. James has expressed his opinion on the matter. Although, it seems that the rest of the class does not share his opinion. Perhaps we grew up in a different generation. There are locks on every door and people have to carry mace in their pockets. A long time ago no one had to lock their doors. People walked around in safety. In the late 20th century that changed and with the eruption of the Internet this paranoia became widely practiced on the net. Fake email addresses, alias, the Internet promotes anonymity. What does anonymity do? It gives us a sense of safety to say or do what we want with little or no consequences. Safety? That means we feel we are in danger somehow when on the net. Many people feel unsafe on the net due to the unknown. A lot has changed in the last 50 years and the Internet is always telling us to be careful of who is out there. So global ethics, or a set of unwritten rules, would relate to Internet because if we all followed these rules there would be no need for alias, nicknames, or fake email addresses. Everyone would operate the Internet with honesty, integrity, and respect each other.

Sheri Lieberman & Dr. James: What are some of the global ethics issues that are discussed?

The webpage focuses on three main areas of where ethics has the greatest impact on.

1. Corporate sector

2. Education

3. Public policy

To learn more about those three sectors you can visit the website for more information. It is extensive and covers a lot of grounds.

Craig Kawamura: What do you feel is the top moral issue (for yourself)? Why do you feel this?

The top moral issue for myself has to be doing what is right. It's not easy to refrain when you see a lot of people cheating and taking shortcuts to reach a goal. I try to do the right thing even when people tell me I'm doing it the hard way. For example, I had a chance to take my friend's term paper and turn it in as my work. Time was creeping up and I had not read the book but in the end I couldn't bring myself to turning in something that wasn't my own words.

I think it is important to do what is right because it is taking responsiblity for your own actions. There are a lot of ways of doing things but shortcuts take us there the fastest. But, shortcuts go around the problem and not through it. In retrospect you have learned nothing and got to the goal faster but with the same amount of knowledge you started with. What would the world be like if everyone took the easy way out and no one did what is right? We have to set examples for the future generations to be honest have integrity.

George Pederson: What is the purpose of this site? Who is it designed to appeal to? How many members are enrolled?

The purpose of this site is to bring global ethics to the eyes of the regular people. Everyday millions of people surf the net so the Institute thought it would post the issue of global ethics for everyone to see. With a touch of the finger you can be researching on the progression or regression of ethics.

The website seems to appeal to a more educated audience but the tone appears to address everyone. Ethics should appeal to everyone and not the upper class nor the lower class. Class, race, religion, sex, age is not the issue. The Institute is aimed at educating us about ethics and morals and its impact on the world.

There are currently over a thousand individuals in the United States and around the world enrolled. They come from various professions, range widely in age, and geographic location.

Hyechin Kim: Are they a religious organization? How is the organization structured?

No, although it may sound like it is affliated with a religion, it is not. The Institute has an international board of directors, an international advisory council, a network of nationwide and global connections, and its members from around the globe.

Leon Mosher: What are the major ethical questions in regards to the future of the Internet?

The website does not address ethical concerns for the Internet but in my opinion I feel it is honesty. People are not being honest on the Internet. Many users feel they can hide behind a keyboard and monitor and say or do as they please. They are not aware their actions and affect others. The typical user has become selfish and is only concerned for themselves. The Internet should be looked at as a place for open discussions. Modems bring people closer when oceans separate them and the net is the room where everyone sits and enjoys each other's company. Instead the net is looked as a place of lurking, hiding, and a place with no restrictions, rules, or consequences. If we are to value the Internet as a tool of communication then we have to change our mentality to rid the net of its stigma.

Jocelyn Manibusan & Dr. James: How does one judge whether the moral & ethics of a society is declining or increasing when people have different morals and values? How can a country maintain high morals & ethics among its people?

What a great question Jocelyn but I am not sure how to answer that. I work with "youth-at-risk" at a local shelter so when I answered moral barometer poll I took a look at the answers our clients were giving. The youth were giving younger ages of when they first had sex. The youth also had less respect for adults and even their peers. Reading the paper you see a lot of violence by kids against other kids. Teachers are fearing for their lives when all they want to do is educate. Like I mentioned earlier, we are making sure our doors and cars are locked and carrying mace in our pockets. From my observations I felt I could decide the moral barometer was falling. Of course, it is your opinion and not everyone shares the same one.

A country sets its example through the figure head. England has its Queen, we have our President (no snickering please!). The "leader of the country" is the one that sets the tone for the citizens of the country thus should have a high set of moral principles at all times. Athletes, heroes, and parents also play a role and therefore should uphold high morals and ethics.

Carolyn Agmata & Dr. James: Would you be a member of the Institute?

As much as I feel high morals and principles are important I do not think I would join the organization. I think they take ethics too seriously and at a fast pace. Due to school and other activities on my plate I do not feel I can dedicate the time needed to my membership.

Evelyn Moss: Who do you think should teach children ethics?

I think parents are responsible for teaching children about morals and ethics. Many believe it is the school's job but in reality the teacher only sees the child six to eight hours a day and has other students to tend to. Parents see their kids for the rest of the day and are more 1-on-1 based. Thus, parents are ultimately responsible for passing on their own code of ethics to their children, not the school.

Dr. James: What is the difference between "ethics" and "morality"? What is the relationship between ethics, morality, and religion?

Ethics is a set of moral principles whereas morality relates to what is right and wrong. You need to have a good grasp of morality to have ethics. Ethics is based on morality and morality is decided by you and society. Religion passes onto its worshippers their set of moral principles. Religion likes to think their set of guidelines on how to live are right and the followers should adhere to them. Some things are unclear and religion claims to be able to clear it up. There is little to no room for you to decide when religion addresses ethics and morality.

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My Reaction

The question and answer period after my presentation was brief. Many were unsure how it related to Psychology and morals and ethics is a touchy subject. Each person has their own set of beliefs and we have to learn to respect them. The class remained silent but I could tell it was on their minds from the questions that were written down. The class asked very relevant questions to the presentation and some were really fun to answer.

In my presentation I aimed to be short and concise. The issue of morals is not the most interesting topic and promotes a lot of thinking, more thinking than a 8 minute presentation. I highlighted the important sections of the website and spoke about the history to give the class an idea of what the Institution is all about. Although it will probably not be on the Top 10 list of favorite websites for many of my classmates at least I have brought the discussion of moral principles on the Internet to our attention. The Internet is fast becoming a place for us to come together and discuss large issues like this.

I took a look at various webpages of my classmates and found Sheri Lieberman's webpage to be what I wanted to pattern my Oral.html after. She is straight-to-the point in her approach makes her report easy to read and also enjoyable. I would like to thank her for providing me an outline upon which my report is based on.

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Suggestions and Recommendations

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Reference Source


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