1) If you think in the manner that sociological imagination suggests, can you better your personal well being?
Answer: As suggested in class, Mills did not write this book as a self help book, but there are certainly benefits if one were to have sociological imagination. If an individual meets obstacles in their life, thinking in this way can connect why these obstacles occur and how they connect to the other individuals and society as a whole. An individual can see how their actions can impact their social environment and those around them. More simply, thinking with your sociological imagination can lead to an understanding of how everyone’s actions cause a reaction in society as a whole. Mills certainly is not suggesting that one person having sociological imagination will change the social and cultural norms of the world, but perhaps if everyone possesses this imagination and understands the connectivity between an individual and society, then norms can change.
2) Who draws the line between what is ethical and what is not?
Answer: I found it peculiar that the authors of Managing Business Ethics began their book by using Enron as an example of poor ethics. No one in the world thinks that Jeff Skilling, Andy Fastow, or the other Enron executives acted ethically. In fact, they not only lacked ethics, but they acted illegally and went to jail for it. Using this example to begin the conversation on ethics suggests that government and laws draw the line between ethical and not ethical behavior. It suggests that ethics lines up with legality. Obviously, as the reading continues, the authors use the financial crisis as an example where legal behavior and ethical behavior do not overlap as perfectly. This example suggests more of a gray area rather than a distinct line of ethics. The authors also suggest that ethics can be taught. Does this imply that teachers are the individuals who choose where to draw that distinction? Or perhaps textbooks and novels are? In the end, I believe there is no common line agreed upon and no one person specifically decides. It is fully up to the individual to decide what is ethical or not, and how uncomfortable they are crossing it.
3) Is lobbying ethical?
Answer: After researching the idea of ethics in lobbying, I found that the “All American League of Lobbyists” actually has a code of ethics. Unfortunately this code of ethics is only concerned with individual lobbyists rather than the idea of them as a whole. For example, Article 1 one of the code reads, “A lobbyist should conduct lobbying activates with honesty and integrity.” This however does not answer the question of whether or not these individuals should be conducting these activities in the first place. Many defend lobbying by arguing that it pushes society’s best interests through to politicians. Yet I would argue that a tobacco company probably does not have society’s best interests in mind when lobbying. An article from The Center on Congress at Indiana University, does not debate whether or not lobbying is ethical, but puts the responsibility on the politicians being lobbied. Even further than that, the article calls on the public to decide to vote or not for the politician again if they feel like they were too influenced by lobbyists. In the end, there is not a tremendous national conversation on whether lobbying is ethical. It seems that at least for now lobbying is a social norm and is accepted as ethical.