Advanced Accounting Ethical Accounting

Utilitarianism — this view takes as its main concern the creation of the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. When applied to business,…

Utilitarianism — this view takes as its main concern the creation of the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. When applied to business, it means weighing up the costs and benefits of decisions and actions — what will cost the least and create the maximum benefits? This leads us to think about efficiency in business. While this is an attractive way of doing things there are problems.

Think about and discuss the problems in terms of individual rights and finding a measure of value.

Deontology — you may believe in respecting human rights, but have you ever thought about what their moral basis is? Immanuel Kant (1724 — 1804) offers a powerful account of duties and rights in which it is argued that people are rational, worthy of dignity and respect. In deontology it is a person’s motive that counts — what matters is that as autonomous (free) people, we should do the right thigg because it’s right, not for some other reason. But what does ‘duty’ require of us? To unden-•and his we must refer to the ‘Categorical Imperative’. There are two things to remember about the categorical imperative: first is to act on principles that you can apply all the time without contradicting yourself and the second is to treat people as ends in themselves — that is to act in such a way that you do not use other people.

How might deontology be applied to thinking about the ethics of lying?

Did Bill Clinton lie about having sex with Monica Lewinski?

Is it wrong to lie to save a life?

Is it wrong to lie to save a business? Libertarianism — according to Sandel (2009, pp. 59-60) this raises the question whether we ‘own’ ourselves? ‘Do we have the right to whatever we want with the things we own providing we respect other people’s right to do the same?’ In a market economy people make voluntary exchanges of good and services and in doing so make everyone better off. Markets rule! This idea is extended by John Rawls (1921-2002) who introduced the idea of fairness in that he argues that to achieve fairness in a free society we should make choices based on an original position of equality.

Can freedom and fairness go together?

Does self rule compromise to common good?

Are transactions in a market always voluntary?

What about ‘higher goods’?

Is education just a commodity?

Virtue ethics — what virtues are worthy of honor and reward? What ways of life will create a good society? These are questions that make us think about the purpose (telos) of business. Tackling these questions require us to focus on the common good and in doing so find the right way to value things. Our decisions as business people will then be guided by these ideas. According to Sandel (2009) doing this well is like learning to play the guitar. You can’t do this by reading a book or listening to a lecture – you have to practice and listen to good musicians to hear how they play. So virtues are things we learn by doing – to learn the right habits. We develop ‘practical wisdom’.

What does business honour and reward? Can these be considered ‘virtues’? What are the alternatives?

In the next class we will be examining the purpose (telos) of business.

Assignment requirements :-

— Review at least one episode of a podcast (it’s up to you what podcast you choose to review, but it must be readily accessible and free to download so your tutor can also listen to it);

— record your review as a mini audio feature (it is up to you what software you use to record and edit, but you must save your review as an NAP3);

— only record your own voice – do not interview anyone or include the voices of other talent/actors, and no location sound is to be recorded and included;

— use royalty free or creative commons music and sound effects

– and be certain you read the terms and conditions and check you are allowed to use the music/SFX for podcasts specifically, or create your music yourself;

— at the end of your audio you will need to include “credits,” and in these credits you will note the writer of the review (you), the editor (you), and you will note that the soundtrack is royalty free and/or creative commons, and where appropriate you will provide the name of the artist and title of songs, as well as any other additional information you see fit (listen to an example podcast for further guidance);

— note: you will be given instructions on vUWS about where to submit your assignment for grading. Also, we do not intend to make your review publicly accessible and it will not be published on the internet as part of this unit_ (We do not advise you to publish your review anywhere online, and if you do you are legally and ethically responsible yourself.)

What you have to do:

Describe the podcasti/episode.

You need to summarise what the podcast is about. You need to offer just the right amount of detail: enough so your listener understands, but not so much that you are giving too much away – and your listener would have no reason to listen to the podcast you’re reviewing. Your description needs to be engaging and engrossing; it also needs to demonstrate that you understand the content and (to a reasonable degree) the subject matter of the podcast – if it doesn’t do these things it will sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

2.Critique: offer a credible opinion.
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