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.



3 responses »

  1. laf024 says:

    When reading the first article, I also thought on the same path as your question 1. It seems somewhat simple, that if everyone were to have a similar imagination, wouldn’t society then work itself out? But I think the problem is, how do you get this concept across to mass population? And then, how do you monitor if people are actually acting upon it? I think in a perfect world, people would try and monitor their actions based on a cause and effect idea that connects us with society. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. In this day and age where personal achievement is so valued, people will continue to only think about themselves and their own gain.
    So I agree that your thought has merit, but it seems there needs to be an entire society mind-shift in order for it to work out.

    • lwt003 says:

      In class, and now in blog posts, we have talked about what needs to happen to have people start thinking with their “sociological imagination”. Now after reading your response, I am beginning to ask if using sociological imagination is actually beneficial at all. As you mentioned, nowadays people continue to look after themselves and strive for personal achievements. Sociological imagination may lead to understanding how society affects our lives, but in the end it is our responsibility to overcome any obstacles that society may put in our paths. Using sociological imagination may lead us to understand why something happens to us, but it does not tell us what to do after it happens. Sociological imagination may be too abstract to be practically applied to individuals and society.

  2. wmw014 says:

    In regards to your second question and answer I agree that it is most likely up to the individual to decide what is ethical and what is not. However, as we discussed in class, there are certain societal norms that people for the most part uphold. Although some societal norms differ from place to place, I think one could make the argument that a common code of ethics has been universally created. If one were to look for this code of ethics they would not find it, but as I have experienced, although two people may be from two distinctly different cultures, they have a common perception of what ethical behavior is.

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