A New Depth Ethic

The investigation deepens by now looking into the topics of ethics and corporate social responsibility. Schools of business began adding these interrelated topics to their curriculum in the 1960s and have been tinkering with their contents ever since. Harvard Business School (HBS) spent big money in 2007 revamping its ethics programs and with the 2008 global economic collapse it had to re-design its programs to include what they had missed – systemic risk. Wikipedia defines systemic risk as the “risk of collapse of an entire financial system or entire market, as opposed to risk associated with any one individual entity, group or component of a system.” The focus at HBS was on the “financial system instability, potentially catastrophic, caused or exacerbated by idiosyncratic events or conditions in financial intermediaries… and is risks imposed by inter-linkages and inter-dependencies in a system or market, where the failure of a single entity or cluster of entities can cause a cascading failure, which could potentially bankrupt or bring down the entire system or market.”

A different view of systemic risk, is presented by David Harvey in the crises of capitalism, where he first reviews several approaches to explain the crisis before settling on a Marxist explanation calling for a “new economic social order that is more responsible, just, and humane.” Marxism is “a method of socio-economic inquiry based upon a materialist interpretation of historical development, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis of class-relations and conflict within society” and provides us with another investigative lens. We need to continue journaling about the contents in these links in order to frame the elementary lens being presented for our investigation into the mysteries of globalization.

Okay, even given updates to B-Schools’ ethics courses it did not stop Business Week from grading B-Schools C+ in ethics (Garden 2005, Sept. 5:110), which in graduate school is considered a near failing grade. Google, “business school teaching ethics”, to see other entries on B-school failures, like this Wall Street Journal article, Can Business Schools Really Teach Ethics?, which is a description similar to Concordia’s effort of including ethics in most courses and also having stand-alone courses. The rationale behind the C+ grade was arrived at by looking at the individuals running major corporations like Enron – Smartest guys in the room and Arthur Andersen its partner-in-crime. Hedrick Smith’s Bigger than Enron is an excellent documentary on the Enron meltdown. This is a movie on the people affected by the battle described between good and evil, The Crooked E – The Unshredded Truth About Enron.

What was discovered is that these corporations are being managed by MBA Degree holders from our leading schools of business – Harvard, Columbia, Yale, MIT, UCLA, Chicago, and on. Schumpeter (2009, Sep. 24), in an Economist essay Pedagogy of the Privileged, suggests that schools of business have failed to address the issue of ethics and so, are directly contributing to the continuing systemic risk inherent in capitalism. Schumpeter’s further rationale is that B-Schools are failing because they are beholden to corporation’s deep $ pockets in consulting fees and as the source for the case studies that fill business textbooks, which in turn pay hansom royalties to faculty members.

One of the shallow blueprints to address this privileged pedagogy, Schumpeter mentions, is Harvard’s voluntary pledge “to serve the greater good” and, of course, this greater good is served up by capitalism’s MNCs – the very system another Schumpeter, Joseph, (Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy) predicted would collapse to be replaced by socialism. In fact, the scenarios of Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes, and others, while differing in their logics, are all pessimistic about capitalism’s future. Schumpeter’s essay, I suggest, only pricks at the “pedagogy of the privileged” and so I assume he is either fearful about pricking too deeply or most likely does not know what a deep prick is. If business schools are going to prick themselves deeply, they must address the mostly unconscious nature and logic of capitalism (Heilbroner, 1985). With CEOs dominating B-Schools’ Board of Regents, how deeply are business faculty members willing to prick the consciousness that feeds them?

To examine this mystery, the unconscious nature and logic of capitalism, we need a new and deeper approach to ethics and capitalism. Chapter 3’s approach to ethics and social responsibility you have seen before so, except for a few comments I will make, it is here as a reference. I suggest that you gather resources, like your past books and papers you have written on ethics, then journal briefly about your current views on the topic. As a senior, what is your position on ethical behaviour and how did you arrive at this view? In other words, write out your ethical manifesto.

Luthans and Doh (2012: 63) begin their presentation on ethics stating the challenge is “to find an unbiased ethical decision-making processes for international business practices” and then cites the difficulty in doing this is because we do not have a “universal ethical standard” given so many different national and cultural entities. I suggest that the objective of looking for “an unbiased ethical decision-making processes” while laudable has not been affective, C+ grade. I also suggest that we do have a “universal ethical standard” that has not been presented also for the reasons alluded to above. And finally, our authors’ definition of ethics as “the study of morality and standards of conduct” is shallow, one dimensional, and dependent only on rational consciousness. Wikipedia’s definition of morality from the Latin (“manner, character, proper behavior”) is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are “good” (or right) and those that are “bad” (or wrong), tells us more specifically where we need be more comprehensive, deeper, and thus more effective ethically. Pinky summarizes nicely in the metaphysics of control the hidden challenges of globalization. What are the targets of the investigative framework suggested by Pinky and how might we begin?

Our authors next present a short section on “ethical theories and philosophy”, which we will extend with a focus on cultural factors. What we can take from this section is the continuing evolutionary tale of Darwin/Wallace & Freud’s Self  – biologically and psychologically. In this clip Barrentine reviews Robert Wright’s chapter 15 in, The Moral Animal, that “explains how the new Darwinism of evolutionary psychology improves upon and complexities of Freudian interpretations of our unconsciously motivated human social behavior.” One has to listen and take notes on the this very dynamic explanation of human behavior. What is this saying about today’s popular U.S. culture?

Richard Geldard’s interesting interview on the Birth of Consciousness in Early Greek Thought is particularly insightful, especially when it comes to The History of the Devil, a trait of western theological thinking, which is the source of the above differentiation of morality into good (right) and bad (wrong) (the evil Devil), which further assumes that “the individual is something distinct from the entire universe … and attempts to describe the universe from a detached, objective viewpoint” – the conscious rational perspective (p.64). This is contrasted with the eastern view which “holds people are intrinsic and inseparable part of the universe” with the objective of understanding how good & evil are complimentary forces organized in the process of developing wholeness, Lao Tzu’s the way of the Dao de Ching. Again, what are the essential ideas of the Dao – the Middle way.

Don Cupitt narrates this interesting BBC Documentary Sea of Faith, in a visit to Jung’s home to examine the development of this thought, which continues where the clip on Darwin and Freud left off. We now see that while Freud looked to past, Jung was looking the the future. What are the implications of this?

Cupitt traces the importance of Darwin/Freud thought, to the evolution of Jung concept of The Self, which is at the center of the new ethic.

The processes of the Self is one moving toward wholeness and it is called the way of individuation  and together with the way of the Dao de Ching are ideas in Erich Neumann’s (1942, 1990) book, Depth psychology and a new ethic, that we are now in the midst of investigating. So, begin to compare and contrast the way of the dao and the way of  individuation.

Jung’s depth psychology explained here by Dr. Stephen Aizenstat, founding president of Pacifica Graduate Institute, provides us with further understanding of an investigative methodology to augment Holmes and Watson’s skills. Aizenstat points to three results we can expect form adding this investigative tool. First, DP looks at what lies below the surface of life – at the unconscious forces; the second contribution is the “activation of human imagination – that which comes forth in cultures;” and third “we are all asked to see the social, political, economic realities which face us in daily life and in societal affairs.” A very powerful tool, for sure!

Depth psychologist James Hollis in The Lore of Shadows defines our investigative scene to “investigate the dialogue between psychology and theology – we are interested in the invisible energies that move the world.” Hollis suggests that we need to dialogue with this invisible world in order to understand and thereby harness the tremendous energies (E) outside of our ego control that are involved. He suggests that we work with Jung’s concept of the Shadow1, where we are “summoned to accountability for the Other – it is about the capacity of the Ego to tolerate the Other.”  Hollis nails it in saying “the single biggest difficulty we face as a culture today is tolerating the otherness of the other.” The conflict now simmering between the U.S., Russia, Syria, etc. is a neurosis resulting from no country yet finding its Meaning. Hollis states “the biggest Shadow issue is the degree to which we are willing to open ourselves to mystery.” Or as Jung himself says “we are the origin of all coming evil.” Isn’t this what Marx also said, “the root of the problem is us.”

The figure below begins our effort to visualize the dynamic Self – the key element in the new ethic. Our need now is to journal about the ideas presented here – to engage in the pedagogy  of thinking-in-writing. The night before this course began on 8.29.13 I had a dream about how the experiential/flipped pedagogy would work itself out. During the next weeks there were several more similar dreams and then the night before this lecturette 9.17.13, I dreamt of an organizational chart of boxes with this lecturette in the upper left-hand position – the dream said the new ethics would be essential to a new way of thinking about the other elements in the cross-cultural management course. To say the least, I am looking forward to what is now unfolding here online-intime.

                                               Jung Elements of the Self

jung


Footnotes

1In Jungian psychology, the shadow or “shadow aspect” may refer to the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious, or an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not recognize in itself. Because one tends to reject or remain ignorant of the least desirable aspects of one’s personality, the shadow is largely negative. There are, however, positive aspects which may also remain hidden in one’s shadow (especially in people with low self-esteem). Contrary to a Freudian conceptualization of shadow, therefore, the Jungian shadow often refers to all that lies outside the light of consciousness, and may be positive or negative. “Everyone carries a shadow,” Jung wrote, “and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.” It may be (in part) one’s link to more primitive animal instincts, which are superseded during early childhood by the conscious mind.

According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to projection: turning a personal inferiority into a perceived moral deficiency in someone else. Jung writes that if these projections are unrecognized “The projection-making factor (the Shadow archetype) then has a free hand and can realize its object–if it has one–or bring about some other situation characteristic of its power.” These projections insulate and cripple individuals by forming an ever thicker fog of illusion between the ego and the real world.

References
Luthans, F. and Doh, J.P. (2012). International Management: Culture, Strategy, and Behavior. 8e. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin

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One Response to A New Depth Ethic

  1. Pingback: Trump death before dishonor | Dialectic Analytical Man

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