Ethiques d’entreprises et mondialisation

Philippe d’Iribarne, in Dictionnaire d’éthique et philosophie morale, sous la direction de Monique Canto Serber, 3e édition, PUF, 2001.

A first type of ethics concerns the ideal of the good man. Whether one follows a law promulgated by a great religious founder, obeys a code of honour, or respects principles reputedly consistent with universal reason, one must show oneself to be pure, worthy and obeisant of the requirements of a transcendent ideal. Correspondingly, duty binds us to others irrespective of the relationship we have with them, to man in general, to strangers, to enemies even. Underpinned by a transcendent authority (God, the gods, reason), its prescriptions are guaranteed to function even in the absence of external supervision. Conversely, in a second type of ethics, the prime concern is loyalty to the groups one belongs to, be it a family, clan, brotherhood or network of interests. If an individual neglects his duty, the risk is not that he will feel unworthy in the presence of a transcendent authority, but that he will suffer the vengeance of the group he has betrayed. In the first type of ethics it is logical to refuse, in the name of professional duty, the temptations of corruptors offering one the benefit of resources that would help those one has a duty to support. These kinds of behavior become much more questionable when the predominant ethic is loyalty to one’s own.

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