Question 1

Required Reading:
Harvard University Commencement Speech by (then) Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan

Please focus on these four paragraphs:

[1]”I do not deny that many appear to have succeeded in a material way by cutting corners and manipulating associates, both in their professional and in their personal lives. But material success is possible in this world and far more satisfying when it comes without exploiting others. The true measure of a career is to be able to be content, even proud, that you succeeded . . . without leaving a trail of casualties in your wake.”

[2]”I cannot speak for others whose psyches I may not be able to comprehend, but, in my working life, I have found no greater satisfaction than achieving success through honest dealings and strict adherence to the view that for you to gain, those you deal with should gain as well. Human relations–be they personal or professional–should not be zero-sum games.”

[3]”And beyond the personal sense of satisfaction, having a reputation for fair dealing is a profoundly practical virtue. We call it ‘good will’ in business and add it to our balance sheets.”

[4]”Trust is at the root of any economic system based on mutually beneficial exchange. In virtually all transactions, we rely on the word of those with whom we do business. Were this not the case, exchange of goods and services could not take place on any reasonable scale. Our commercial codes and contract law presume that only a tiny fraction of contracts, at most, need to be adjudicated. If a significant number of businesspeople violated the trust upon which our interactions are based, our court system and our economy would be swamped into immobility.”


[a] Do you think Greenspan is being realistic about the possibility of business ethics? Cite specific language from his speech (in quotation marks) and explain your reasoning.

[b] Identify the core ethical values you plan to follow in your career.

Identify the author in your answer, either in the sentence (e.g., “Abraham Lincoln said, …”) or at the end of the sentence in parenthesis.
Use quotation marks or block indentation when you incorporate any language from any source, including all seminar readings. Cite the source immediately thereafter. Also, even if you don’t use a direct quotation, immediately identify the source if you use an author’s core ideas or phraseology. Just mention the author’s name when you do so (for example, “As Greenspan suggested . . . “)

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