Thursday, May 18, 2017

Other Peoples Skin in Your Game

medium |  Imagine working for a corporation that produces a (so far) hidden harm to the community, in concealing a cancer-causing property which kills the thousands but with an effect that is not (yet) fully visible. You can alert the public, but would automatically lose your job. There is a gamble that the company’s evil scientists would disprove you, causing additional humiliation. Or the news will come and go and you may end-up being ignored. You are familiar with the history of whistleblowers which shows that, even if you end up vindicated, it may take time for the truth to emerge over the noise created by corporate shills. Meanwhile you will pay the price. A smear campaign against you will destroy any hope of getting another job.

You have nine children, a sick parent, and as a result of the stand, the children’s future would be compromised. College hopes will evaporate –you may even have trouble feeding them properly. You are severely conflicted between your obligation to the collective and to your progeny. You feel part of the crime and unless you do something you are an agent: thousands are dying from the hidden poisoning by the corporation. Being ethical comes at a huge cost to others.

In the James Bond movie Specter, agent Bond found himself fighting –on his own, whistleblower style –a conspiracy of dark forces that took over the British service, including his supervisors. “Q” who built the new fancy car and other gadgets for him, when asked to help against the conspiracy, said “I have a mortgage and two cats” –in jest of course because he ended up risking the lives of his two cats to fight the bad guys.

Society likes saints and moral heroes to be celibate so they do not have family pressures and be forced into dilemmas of needing to compromise their sense of ethics to feed their children. The entire human race, something rather abstract, becomes their family. Some martyrs, such as Socrates, had young children (although he was in his seventies), and overcame the dilemma at their expense.[1] Many can’t.