ethics and the economy

ethics.

(n) moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior

the word itself is scary enough; many skip over it instead of fully understanding the concepts of personal and professional ethics within the workplace. The Harvard Business Review article, “Creating Shared Value: how to reinvent capitalism –and unleash a wave of innovation and growth,” tied my study of ethics this past week into what that means in a greater economic understanding. It doesn’t make logical sense to expect (or attempt to enforce) everyone participating in the economy to follow a basic code of ethics; honestly, it sounds ideal and like a brilliant goal to me, but I can’t hope but think of the problems with enforcing this code. “Creating Shared Value” brought forth the understanding of focusing economic progress in tandem with societal progress.

In a world that has become extremely globalized, i.e. the transfer of goods, services, and ideas is exponentially faster than, say, a few decades ago, society and the individual have taken on the burden of transparency for those good, services, and ideas. It is now very accessible to understand the greater impact one has on the larger production cycle; the fashion industry is the perfect example.

There is a great documentary, The True Cost (2015), (on netflix!!) which looks deeper into the cost of the current fashion industry, specifically ‘fast fashion.’ Like the name derives, ‘fast fashion’ is a term used to relay the increased speed of fashion retailers bringing trends, designs, and the like to the everyday consumer from the high fashion world. The True Cost dives deeper into the production and consumption of clothing: where are the top fast fashion retailers producing, sourcing, and distributing their goods? who is purchasing the goods? who is truly benefitting from the increased supply and consumption?

Exposing the ‘true cost’ of a good in a world where having an impact is possible is something to take away. Layered upon that is the realization of (American) consumption within our economies.

 

 

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