Economic reform should go hand in hand with ethical reform

The jargon of economic reform can very easily blind us from our duty toward ourselves as human beings who can’t be bought, who have souls and needs that go beyond the material world.

The problem with economists – and business-world figures in general – is their total focus on economic gain, with some shallow attention given to “good” activities such as CSR (corporate social responsibility). This, in many cases, is exercised as a form of reputation-building, and marketing/PR stunts – void of any real intention to actually help the underprivileged and the poor.

Economic-building without attention to ethics is why capitalism is “suffering,” as many would like to say.

In Syria, the market is opening up. In addition to severe professional challenges facing the private-sector (from its back, since private-sector leaders don’t see the challenge yet; it will dawn on them once Dubai-minded businesspeople swamped the market), Corporate Codes of Ethics are also non existent.

There are institutions outside Syria that have codes of ethics that they breech every day of the month; I have worked in an institution that says it does one thing, and practically does another.

But in Syria, people are sincere… to an extent.

Although exploitation of employees can be the norm in some institutions but the seeds for something better, genuine, and “institutionally” ethical, are there. The problem is with the fact the ethics area is a bit hazy at times, unorganized, lack the form, and the person to monitor them is missing.

Accountability is missing

When the priorities for an institution, ethically-speaking, are “wrong,” you would expect all kinds of little misconducts to take place here and there . What is the most important ethic that matters to you with your employees? If you like apple-polishing a lot, then odds are, as a leader, you will stand by the person who apple-polishes his way to your heart, regardless of their wrong doing.

The person who gets away with their ethically corrupt behavior, therefore, gets used to feeling unaccountable for his actions, since you, as a leader, have allowed them on several occasions to twist logic around, lie, cheat, and maim people’s reputations, while giving you the ego massage you need to keep them under your wing.

A lot of people in high posts have an ego problem that blinds them from carrying out justice, and from making the “right” decisions. This ego also tells them it is OK to break a few ethical codes to get to the goal they want to get to.

Because apple-polishing is so important they surround themselves with a flock of unaccountable people who will one day bring down the institution due to their practices and ethical fiber.

Ethics are not a nice human invention that decorates and beautifies. Ethics have a real weight in the world, and in the hidden dynamics that control the fate of everything.

Without believing that ethics are actually an intricate part of economic progress, human gatherings (in the form of institutions and companies) will fail to live long. They will one day fall, nose dive and collapse. quote

I just spotted a good quote related to this post, taken from

Democracy for such a society is a luxury. Competitiveness, ingenuity, creativity and daring are shunned at as unnecessary antics while unsportsmanlike rivalry, cheating, corruption and rudeness are adopted as acceptable rules of the game. Religion of course is the arbiter and as long as we sneak our way through its antiquated laws and prejudiced misconceptions our actions are socially correct and morally sound.

Thank you, this explains a lot!

About 50% Syrian

What is identity? I was raised Arab (of varying origins), with a Syrian mother, and Moroccan, Lebanese and Tunisian great grandfathers and grandmothers. I always felt 50% Syrian, and this percentage mattered to me more than anything else. Love of my life, my late Sufi grandmother, is Syrian... all her bedtime stories were about her life in Damascus. Damascus is where the heart dwells.
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2 Responses to Economic reform should go hand in hand with ethical reform

  1. abufares says:

    Thank you for taking the trouble of reading and quoting me.
    You’ve inspired me to whole new venues with your last 2 posts and soon enough I will have something to say about it on my blog.

  2. 50% Syrian says:

    Looking forward to reading the posts you intend to write, Abufares. “Generations” stayed with me the whole day; it made me see things that puzzled me. Thank you for writing.

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