Renee Gallant: OK, let's kick things off actually. So welcome to how ethical behaviours affect your future. One of our many virtual sessions as a part of the UWCSEA Forum Learning to shape our future. We hope that you've been enjoying the sessions. This morning's keynote address with Faith Abiodon and some of our students was phenomenal. If you didn't catch that, that and all of the sessions have been recorded and are available on the social app.
Which is the app you're using to access all of the virtual conference material. So please check that out. It will be active for at least another month. So you'll have lots of time to catch up on anything you've missed. Speaking of the Forum app, please do be sure to refresh it over the course of the day. There's a little bit of a lag in it, so if there have been any updates or new announcements, you want to make sure you have the most fresh application of it so that you can keep up to date on all the happenings for the conference.
So and if you're having any trouble, don't forget you can also email forum at UW Dot edu dot org with any challenges or questions that you may have. So this session is being hosted on Zoom as a meeting. So that means that you can actually encourage to turn your cameras on. And I know that throughout the course of the the session that you will be invited to engage in different ways.
So we're looking forward to an interactive session with you. If there's time at the end, we will have a Q&A. And then of course there will also be the online virtual networking session and we will drop the link for that in the chat towards the end so that you can transition over to that quite seamlessly. So without further ado, I'd like to turn the session over to Mark Clay.
Mark Clay: Thank you. Thank you. And good morning, everybody. I'll give you a little bit of a background first into what the Susilo Institute is about. So my name is Mark Clay. I represent the founding family, the Susilo Institute is actually hosted in Boston University, but its roots are in Singapore. So the founder is a Singaporean Indonesian gentleman.
Indonesia Chinese who is now Singaporean. The institute was set up in 2014 and its roots go back to 1998 with the Asian financial crisis but actually set up in 2014. There's a Singapore government adviser by the name of Robert Brown, Dr Robert Brown. He was here in Singapore for quite some time. He's offered an honorary citizenship by the Singaporean Government, but he returned to Boston to take up the role of President of Boston University.
But during his time here in Singapore he'd struck up a friendship with Harry Susilo A gentleman called Harry Susilo is a businessman and together they came up with this idea of allowing students this opportunity to look at life in a slightly different way to way the current methods were being taught within the business schools in the US. So Harry Susilo eventually provided an endowment to create this institute.
It's hosted in Boston, though it's got a collaboration network. We call it the Academic Collaboration Network. It's a series of universities globally that participate, does research, provides guidance and teaching in the field of ethics. We do leadership issues real world problems, and ideally it's mostly for students, but we do a lot of work with corporations and postgraduate studies
Harry Susilo is actually an Indonesian Chinese businessman. He's the founder of a group called The Sekar Group. Now Sekar Group is a rags to riches story from 1966 comes where Harry was actually forced to give up his own studies to found his business and take care of 12 siblings after his own father was unable to work anymore following a stroke.
So Harry has taken himself from a self-employed market trader dealing with little shrimps and fish in a small, very poor rural background in Indonesia to a company now that is a multinational conglomerate. We employ 20,000 people. We affect something like three to 500,000 people's lives but Harry's principle has always been that when you're building a business, no matter how small, no matter how big, you've got to be consistent.
You've got to have strong personal values. Strong personal values are absolutely essential in maintaining longevity. And getting the actual power behind the whole group together. So he really strongly believes that and that was the foundation of the Susilo Institute. It's to give you a strong, moral, strong moral fortitude. So what we're seeing that, you know, this is something that you should take quite seriously.
I know it sounds like a really harsh subject to be discussing on a Saturday morning ethics, but it's something you really ought to be taking seriously from a very early age, as early as you can. So I mean, we're looking this week, for example, you see the story that came out of the news round about Monday of Tuesday about the six lawyers that have been deferred from entering the bar in Singapore, trainee lawyers.
So what's interesting about this is not only did they cheat, they cheated an ethics programme. Now that's kindof a little bit too much isn't it? But there is a particular line in a statement that the attorney general's office made, and I paraphrase slightly, but they questioning whether the reason they cheated was because the foundations were instilled in them at a much earlier stage of life in their education programme.
So it's something that really is topical right now if you're in the legal business. But any profession actually, but particularly lawyers at the moment, are under scrutiny for this kind of thing and they're saying no way back to your educational days, your early education you need to start behaving in a way that will live with you for the rest of your life in a in a positive manner.
So anyway, I don't want to go on for too much longer. I'll hand you over to David. David is the director of the Institute. He actually works in Boston and runs the Institute over there. So for that much for that, I'll pass you over to David. David, please.
David Epstein: Well, thanks, Mark. So I'm Dave Epstein. I'm really happy to be here, and I'm pleased that I was invited. I'm also honoured to be running the Ethics Institute, endowed by the Susilo family ethics is a really important topic. Both for business and for each of us personally. I think it touches every part of our lives. Others will judge us by our behaviour.
So let's get started with, with my presentation. Let me put up some slides and I hope that some of it should be so should be some fun too that. We'll have since it is a Saturday morning and we can't be overly serious right OK, so let's get this shall we go.
Here we go. So everybody can Mark is that all up and running there?
OK, great. All right. So let me let me get started. I think what we should first start with is a poll, so I'm going to get you involved right away. It's going to be a very complex poll, and let's see if you can answer this question have you lied recently? So let me launch the poll and ask you to do this.
OK, if you guys can answer that all right. I think we have we have some answers. And let me in the poll and share the results, OK? Can you guys see that all right. OK, great. So I see that we now have a total of 100% liars because I know the people who said, yes, they they have lied recently.
I can also pretty much be assured that most of the people that said no probably just lied on this on this question. If I can be so bold and let me show you why I want you to think about a lie. But let's let me play this little clip and see if you can spot a lie or two.
Speaker3: Isn't he gorgeous?
Yes. So very gorgeous.
Michael shut the door you're letting bugs in
Is it me or was that the ugliest baby you have ever seen? Oh, I couldn't. Look, it was like a Pekinese boy. A little too much chlorine in that gene pool. And, you know, the thing is, they'll never know. No one's ever going to tell. Oh, you have to lie. Oh, it's a must lie situation. Yes.
It's a must lie situation.
You know, I don't think we should tell George. We saw Jane topless. No I don't think so. In fact, remind me to tell Kramer too.
How are you feeling, Adam? Elaine, this is our paediatrician, Ben Pfeiffer.
Hi. Look at him, Elaine. How gorgeous is he? I ask you how gorgeous pretty gorgeous.
Elaine, do you have children?
Me? Oh, no. But, I mean, I'd love to have a baby. I mean, I can't wait to have a baby. I'm just dying to have a baby.
A beautiful woman like you should. You're quite breathtaking.
Breathtaking? I'm breathtaking? And he's very particular. Ben, you're staying over tonight. Right?
Yeah. Yeah. I'm going to go pick up Rachel at the station.
I'll just look at him.
Yeah, he really is breathtaking.
David Epstein: Yeah, so I think you can see that we all do these kinds of things. And the reason we do this, it's socially accepted. We we learnt this at a very early age. It's it's to please others, to for a greater good. They're harmless, even beneficial in some ways because a truth can be harmful. Sometimes when somebody asks you, do I look fat?
Or they're about to go on stage and they say, How do I look? There's, there's times when for social reasons you're going to be be lying somewhat. Food is delicious. The present is just what I wanted. All those kinds of things so so when is lying ethical and when isn't it ethical? As long as you're doing it for social good and for a harmless situation in those kinds of things and you're not getting anything from it, that is, if your intent is to be helpful, then it may not be unethical.
But if you're trying to deceive somebody or cheat or get something from lying or profit or cause any kind of harm then that becomes unethical. So let's move from then lying to being ethical 40,000 high school students were asked in the US, what they what do they think about being ethical? And 98% said a person of good character and honest and trustworthy is absolutely necessary.
So now I would ask you if you consider yourself ethical, and I would guess that most of most of us do. I'm not going to take a poll because I would gather that most of us do. But let's take a look at some situations. Has anybody here downloaded a song or watched a movie? Or perhaps there was a something that you bought that had a price tag on it that maybe was seemed awfully cheap, was probably wrongly marked or you got some change back that was wrong.
Did you let them know and did you say something about it? Have you taken a pencil from somewhere or have you gone through a red light as a walker or a biker, or have you always stuck to the speed limit? These are all situations that we kind of figure, OK, we still feel like we're ethical, but we can take advantage of a few little things here and there.
And and perhaps we're not going to be thinking of ourselves any worse for the wear. But these are questions that you might want to consider when doing these things and not also decide that we are always ethical so let me move to tests, which Mark brought up before on the test that was just in the news with the lawyers.
Let me show you a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon here. A comic strip. So it says here today at school, I tried to decide whether to cheat or not on my test so this goes on. I wondered, is it better to do the right thing and fail, or is it better to do the wrong thing and succeed on the one hand, undeserved success gives no satisfaction, but on the other hand, well deserved failure gives no satisfaction either.
So, of course, most everybody cheats sometime, or other people always bend the rules if they think they can get away with it. Then again, that doesn't justify my cheating. Then I thought, look, a little cheating on one little test isn't such a big deal. It doesn't hurt anyone. Then I wondered was I just rationalising my unwillingness to accept the consequence of not studying?
Still, in the real world, people care about success, not principles. Then again, maybe that's why the world is such a mess. What a dilemma. So then what did you decide well, nothing. He ran out of time and turned to a blank paper. So we know it's it's wrong to cheat. There's not much question about that, but. But how do you decide when it's when it when you can or when you might?
And what what is it that makes you know that this is that cheating is wrong? And so it comes to a question of is anybody harmed when you cheat on a test? Let me ask you just to put a couple of your thoughts on the chat. Tell me if if if anybody is harmed and if they are, who do you think is harmed?
Anybody? I don't see anything on the chat you guys couldn't have fallen asleep yet. It's in the morning. Your time anybody have any who would be harmed if you cheat on a test great. Here we go. Certainly the one cheating, right? You're cheating yourself for sure because you're not learning the material and you're not you're not testing yourself to make sure and nobody else is is going to be able to tell whether you are I like the the person giving the test.
So as a professor, you might know that I really don't enjoy grading some book answer. And I have been in that situation where I create a story and then I figure out later on that it was just a copy from a book, and I really don't want to grade those things, so waste my time. And it shows that there's no there's no respect for my time.
Others who didn't cheat. Absolutely. Because the ones who didn't cheat then you've raised let's say you cheat and you get a high grade and everybody else now is pushed down on any kind of curve. So in fact, those who really worked hard are are getting harmed by it. When Armstrong won the the Tour de France a number of times, who got hurt by that?
Well, certainly all the people who were working really hard and not doping were getting harmed by it here's an unfair selection later on. Absolutely. If you're cheating on a test and trying to get into a school, that may be a problem so. And here I got everyone. Thank you. You guys really kind of covered a lot of people.
Your teacher, your professor, yourself, maybe your employer, you know, maybe you're going to be hurting your parents who tried to to raise you the right way or maybe your kids in the future, maybe your sister or brother. You're harming quite a number of people. So when you when you come down to that, now there is harm. And once you understand there's harm, now you're getting to the idea of why cheating is no good on a test.
And Mark really brought this one up. These 11 graduates in Singapore that were cheating on the bar exam we just talked about who gets hurt now. What do you think about if you were going to hire a lawyer, how would you like to end up? If they do get their credentials, how would you like end up getting a lawyer who cheated their way to getting their degree?
Even worse is this medical students that actually implanted Bluetooth devices in their ear to cheat on a final exam? They were caught. But how would you like to be on an operating table and realised that your doctor had cheated their way into getting his or her degree? I'm not sure that I would want that. So there is what happens if you're if you're just cheating your way into it.
But what happens if you're in the top of your game and you do something unethical, maybe some of you recognise this picture. This was at the, at the Oscars. Will Smith hits Chris Rock at the Oscars on the telecast and I'm sure that many of you have seen this. This happened and just a few minutes later, Will Smith gets the Best Actor Award.
2021. And he, he is a very good actor, right? So he's at the top of his game and then he lashes out, does something that is quite harmful to somebody else and unethical and in every sense of the word. So what will happen and how will you remember Will Smith from now on? Is it going to be that he was really good in the latest movie or are you going to say it was good, but he's the one who slapped Chris Rock on an Oscar show.
All right. So now I have a challenge for you.
You're walking in Singapore, you're walking in the rain. Nobody's around. There's no cameras on and you spit on some dirt by a plant so first question, is it legal?
Do you put put it in a chat it's one of the things that we love about Singapore is it has some interesting laws no, it is it is not legal. Exactly right. It's not legal. It's illegal to spit on on streets or in public areas or whatever. So it's illegal. Thank you. So next, is it is it harmful?
Does anybody think this is a spit on a dirt next to a plant? It's raining what do you think? Is that harmful?
I have some somebody says it is most people say no. And It depends. That's right. It's it's certainly not clear that it's harmful. It's raining, your spitting in there. It's not an unnatural thing. Yeah. Thank you. Somebody says if it if it's Covid it could be, I suppose. Although raining and dropping it in there, it probably disappears awfully quickly.
So probably. No, probably not. Let me ask, is it ethical and this one is a little difficult to answer because it this depends. So let's talk about what ethical is or what ethics are. So ethics are a system of moral values. Yeah. Somebody said that it's due to culture. Yeah. So it's moral values. So now we're going to move from we move from lying to ethics.
Now we're going to move from ethics to values because ethics are just based on values. So what kind of values are there? Well, there's tons of values, all kinds of ones respect, compassion, openness, sympathy, empathy, transparency, acceptance, integrity, learning, listening all kinds of values that you may have. And what we have to do is you have to decide what our personal values are in order to answer that question is it ethical?
Since ethics are based on your values, then different people might come out with a different answer. So if you're ethical, you are ethical. If you make decisions that are consistent with your values. And that's the way we define ethics is it's based on your values. And then, of course, you're part of a community. So it's also based on community values.
It's based on if you're in a corporation, your corporate values at the school, it's based on the school values. But let's when I'm asking if you think it's ethical, I'm asking you about your particular values. So what I say is that the question you can ask is, what would I do if I were going to act in line with my values?
Let me take that now and bring it back to the spitting example. In Singapore, you're walking in the rain, nobody's around. You spit on dirt is it ethical? Well, if your values look like I'm law abiding, I am very interested in community cleanliness. I'm interested in proper manners. Those kind you would come up with then. It's not ethical.
To have spit. But what if your values were. I'm an independent thinker. I do scientific reasoning. I'm interested in my personal comfort. These are my values. Well, in this person, I would say it's ethical and either one is correct. In ethics, we talk about dilemmas that and these are things that don't have a direct answer. When you come up with the dilemma and this was a dilemma, this is you you needed to spit and you were in a place where it was illegal to do that, what do you do and how do you how do you work it out?
So this is about no wrong answers. So I want to shift a little bit and move into what we call ethical pitfalls. So how and when do you get set up to perhaps make an unethical decision? So these are traps that happen and these are things that happen every day and you have to decide and why we talked we spoke about values before is that that gives you some roadmap on how to decide what's wrong.
But let's look at some pitfalls that cause people to make unethical decisions. The first one is incentives. So what happens when incentives are wrong and how do you act in Albuquerque, New Mexico? In the US, a garbage truck, truckers, where there was a change in the way they were paid and they were going to be paid by the weight of the garbage that they brought to the dump.
And so it made that change, thinking that now they're going to make everything a little bit more fair and that people who were working hard would get their get their due and people who weren't working hard were not but what happened was some unintended consequences. There were a lot of accidents because the truck drivers were rushing to bring their their dump to the to the dump and they overfilled the trucks.
So the trucks were needed more maintenance. They started breaking down. So here is where incentives caused these people who were truck drivers to do unethical things like speed on roadways and perhaps hurt or kill people because of that, destroy the equipment that they're using. So that's one of the pitfalls second pitfall is motivated blindness. This is where you try to stay ignorant because, you know, something might have a bad effect on on yourself or your company.
So here's one that happens. There's these traumatic brain injuries at 99% of former this is U.S. football. American football players that were studied had this CTE and there's a conflict of interest there because certainly the NFL is making a huge amount of money on football. And part of it is by watching people run into each other so they don't want to know.
So they kind of try to ignore that and hope that it goes away. This isn't just American football by the way, in in in Singapore football, European football, anybody who uses their head to hit the ball or run into each other and either by accident or on purpose hit their heads, have the same issue. And nobody wants to know this too much.
There was a study at Boston University that showed that this is a major problem and should be affected. So there are we're doing some unethical things because we're we are purposely trying to stay blind to a problem. A third one is letting somebody else do the dirty work for you. So here this is Tim Cook, who's CEO of Apple Computer.
And Apple, of course, it makes your iPhones and iPads and all kinds of computing equipment for you. They knew that a supplier was using child labour, but they didn't do anything for three years. And the excuse that they made was that, well, we're just buying from our supplier. We don't really know what they're doing, even though they did.
And that's not our problem. So they're trying to create distance between a dirty deed and themselves. So this is if you're letting somebody else do the dirty work for you, you're still being unethical, even though you personally didn't do it. But you're benefiting from it or you're buying from it or you're enabling them to do that.
A fourth one is a slippery slope. You probably know this one. You've probably you've been in a situation where you tell a little lie and then you have to cover it up with another lie. And then it gets bigger and eventually it kind of falls apart. Here's a guy. His name is Mark Dryer and Mark, he was a great lawyer who started at top end law firm, and it started to run out of money because he was a great lawyer, but he wasn't very good business person.
And he decided, well, what I can do is I'm going to lie to somebody and get a loan and just borrow a little money so that I could get over the hump, make the company profitable and then pay them off. So he did that, but it didn't work. So now he went and he lied to somebody else to borrow a lot more money, first to pay off the first person and then to have enough money to get his company right sized again.
And it was going to work, but that didn't work again. So he did it again and again and again. And he kept getting larger and larger amounts of borrowing money, which, you know, eventually is going to fail because he got to $700 million before it failed. This is called a Ponzi scheme. It's a classic slippery slope issue. And it has to fail eventually because you're going to run out of money somewhere.
Nobody else is going to give it to you. Let me give you here. Listen to him.
Mark Drier: How many people who are condemning what I did would know for sure. They would never do anything like what I did. If they knew, they wouldn't get caught. I think in the case of many people, it is a fundamental virtue and I applaud those people. But I think in many, many people it's either lack of opportunity or fear of getting caught if it hadn't been for Bernie Madoff, the most famous white collar criminal in America, right now would probably be Mark Drier.
Anything you want to say to people who think you're getting acquainted? I'm going to prison for a very long time. I'm confident that the sentence will not be 145 years as the government requests. I was standing on a cliff. In a sense. My thinking was that it would be wonderful to borrow the money, but I didn't have the credit to borrow the money.
So I would try to borrow money with somebody else's credit dryer. Seemingly had it all. A 250 person law firm with his name alone on the door. The domino effect was that I had to keep borrowing new money to pay off old money. I felt this compulsion to appear to be doing extremely well obviously it's easy to lose discipline when spending money that's not yours.
The morality of it did bother me, but it didn't stop me. It's hard to explain that I don't get any relief from talking about this. Each time I talk about it, it's a reminder of how much I've hurt my children and how foolish I was just to hear the words. It sounds like I'm talking about somebody else.
David Epstein: So here's a guy that got into a problem. It got worse and worse and he could get out of it, and now he's lost everything. He was a great lawyer who actually is now in jail. Slippery slope. Ah, you got to be careful. With those. The next one is overvaluing outcome. So that is thinking about what's the outcome.
And don't worry about how you get there. Just get it done. So this is one of those one of those problems that happened. Volkswagen cheated on their emission standards in the US. They passed the test for emissions with a dirty diesel engine by having a computer check and see when it was being tested. And changed the engine output so that it would pass the test.
That's straight out being unethical. But they thought that it was OK because they would get it passed and then people would have these cars and they would continue to sell the cars. So far, once they were caught, it's cost them €31 billion and still counting. This is one of the problems of looking at the outcome rather than looking at the means to the end.
The sixth pitfall is being loyal. So here's this thing. A friend asks you to help her steal something by having you cause a distraction. You think it's wrong, but she's a good friend. So do you help and can you rationalise it? Maybe you can think about, Hey, well, I'm not doing the stealing. I'm just just kind of, you know, being somebody who's kind of helping to distract something and.
And she's the one that's guilty. Well, you're being unethical in this case because even though you've separated yourself, you're enabling the same same issue it has in this has to do with being loyal to someone. It turns out that the majority of unethical behaviour in workplaces is because you get a request from a superior to do something and you feel like you need to keep your job or you are loyal to that person and you like that person you genuinely like that person and you want to help that and people will slide into doing something unethical.
So never let your loyalty make a fool of yourself. The next one is called Ethical Fading. Let me play this one for you.
Speaker 5: A blind spot is the unknown in some sense unseen obstacle that we have that really prevents us from seeing our unethical behaviour. So it doesn't allow us to see the gap between who we think we are, who we'd like to be, and who it is that we actually are. And one of the best studies of this is a study of charitable giving Daffodil Days, where they asked a group of people on campus, Daffodil Days is going to be coming to campus.
It supports a charity. Would you contribute? It's roughly like 80% of the people say that they would. And when they actually they track these people and they actually ask them on the day of the charity being their Daffodil Days, they don't. So about half of the people that said that they would contribute don't. Think about decisions in the prediction
phase, think about how I will behave. I think very abstractly and we show that we think very abstractly and big picture kind of ways at the time of the decision. We're actually thinking very concretely. So if you take the Daffodil Days example I didn't anticipate that when you asked me. I only had $5 in my pocket, either $5 for you or $5 for my lunch.
So specifics of the situation drive our decision at the time that we didn't anticipate also argue that at that time visceral forces overcome me. So I'm hungry, I'm thirsty. I'm angry, I'm fearful that I'm losing my job. All of those we actually have difficulty predicting, but they impact us quite directly at the moment we're called to make the decision and all of that leads to what we call ethical feeding that occurs at the time of the decision where where I saw an ethical decision before I made the decision, the time of the decision due to all of these forces I no longer coded as an ethical decisions.
David Epstein: So ethical feeding happens really because we think we're going to do good when we visualise it. But when it actually comes time, we have a number of excuses that we come up with. Here's one called The Bystander Effect, which is this one I find shocking. And every time I watch this, this is an amazing story.
Speaker 6: What would you do if you saw someone, especially a child in trouble? Would you jump in to help or assume that somebody else would do it? Recently we went to the streets of suburban New York and put some folks to the test last time, security specialist Bill Stanton put two parents to the test to see if what they taught their kids about the dangers of strangers would serve them in a real life.
Situation. Today, he puts the public to the test. With the help of seven year old Raquel, Bill staged an abduction to see if the public would take action. Raquel's mom, Debra, watched from a surveillance van as Raquel was approached by Bill. Hey, where were you, young lady? Right. My right. It's unbelievable. But they didn't know that. Bill and Raquel repeated, It's time after time.
Hey, Frank, how can you. No response.
It's frightening that nobody would.
Help one woman walk right by believing someone else would take action. Go. Wow. Wow. How and why didn't she do anything?
You think that someone else will take the blame or one else will take the responsibility?
A police sergeant on location to supervise was stunned. I felt it was unbelievable that people just didn't want to get involved. They look, they they turn around and they'd see with the commotion, but they just kept on walking. They didn't want to get involved. In my opinion. Bill would have been long gone with seven year old Raquel it took hours, but two men finally listened to their vow all on TV, TV, TV, TV, TV, cops.
Right? That's cops right now. Good job. So was saying stop. Someone help me. She's not my dad. He's not my dad. And I was like, it was. I thought you were being a little disobedient, but then you were insane. And so I was like, you got to stop this guy. I parked the car and I just ran over again.
Get going to take him down. Yeah. I wasn't going to happen. And I got to tell you, all you guys were good. You spread out. Yeah. I wasn't getting away. You know, you guys aren't letting the bad guy go anywhere.
That was amazing. I actually had tears in my eyes, but everyone ran out, and I was like, oh, my God. I couldn't believe that they did what they did. And you would expect more people to react that way.
David Epstein: But every time I watch that, I've watched that a few times. It's just amazing. But individuals are less likely to intervene when you see something going on, you're likely to walk by and just figured, well, there's plenty of other people around, so somebody will do it. If there's really a problem there. So and the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely any one of them is going to take a stand.
So next time you see something, maybe try to try to jump in it. You can see this took hours before somebody actually helped her, helps a little girl there. Incredible story. Rationalisations. Here's one that we all do.
Speaker 6: Rationalisations are invented explanations that hide or deny true motivations, causes or actions. They are the excuses people give themselves for not living up to their own ethical standards. For example, most of us think of ourselves as honest people, but studies show that most of us often lie a little or cheat a little. In order to maintain our self-image as good people.
We unconsciously invent rationalisations to convince ourselves that what we did was not wrong, not really harmful, not our fault, and so on. According to Vikas, Anand and his colleagues, common rationalisations include I know I shouldn't have done that, but my boss made me so I didn't have any choice or others have done worse or that guy deserved to get ripped off.
Or if I hadn't done it, someone else would have. Generally rationalisations are most effective when they are not recognised as rationalisations. They are dangerous because people are very creative, rationalise theirs and indeed often come to believe their own excuses. As psychologist Joshua Green notes, rationalisation is the great enemy of moral progress. Ultimately, rationalisations dull our sense of responsibility for our wrongful actions.
So if we wish to truly be ethical people, we must carefully and consistently monitor our own rationalisations.
David Epstein: We all do this. We don't get something done or we want something really badly enough to do something that maybe is not so bad. But stop yourself when when you're thinking about these rationalisations and make a conscious decision, not a knee jerk one. And if you must rationalise, then know that you're in dangerous territory. Careful with the don't ask permission, ask for forgiveness and be mindful that if you believe you need forgiveness, it may not be the right thing to do.
I'm going to move on so that we can go quickly. Here's an interesting thing of rationalisation if you put it turns out that an experiment leaving cans of soda in a refrigerator, some disappear almost always. If it's a common commonplace but if you leave a pile of dollar bills, nobody takes it, not even $1. But why do we do that?
Why? Why did we separate out taking a dollar from taking something that was worth a dollar? People act a little bit irrational there, but they can rationalise. Well, it's just a Coke I can grab it. Somebody else will take one or or it's not so bad. So finally, number ten out of ten that we have everyone else is doing it.
These are by Warren Buffett's words, the five most dangerous words in business. Let me let's see.
OK, I want to give you a test of your wonderful acuity, your sensitivity to differences in line lengths in the experiment you'll be taking part in today involves the perception of length of lines. As you can see here, I have a number of cards, and on each card there are several lines. Your task is a very simple one.
You're to look at the line on the left and determine which of the three lines on the right is equal to it in length. All right. We'll proceed in this order. You'll give your answer.
Only one of the people in the group is a real subject. The fifth person with the white T-shirt the others are confederates of the experimenter and have been told to give wrong answers on some of the trials. The experiment begins uneventfully as subjects give their judgements to two.
So two to three, three, 33.
But on the third trial. Something happens two to two to two.
The subject denies the evidence of his own eyes and yields to group influence. Asch found subjects went along with the group on 37% of the critical trials, but he found through interviews that they went along with the group for different reasons.
David Epstein: So that's conformity. And this is actually been proven over and over again that people will just conform to the the people around them and be careful if if you're thinking everybody else is doing this, it may not be the case. So here's one that I hope that you don't run into as as students anywhere. Buying an essay assignment from the Internet just look at the name.
It's called Echeat. And really, you're going to buy something from Echeat. But if you read the words, it says, everybody is doing it. It's a popular site. There's a is why do you need to do your own essay? But be careful because what do you think's going to happen when you take an exam and you have to write it yourself?
Or what happens if you get into a college because somebody else wrote the essay for you? How do you feel about that? What do you think what do you think it is? So here's the ten ethical pitfalls. Be careful about maximising your take. Don't do what it takes and letting somebody else do it. The slippery slope of just one more time.
The end justifying the means for you. I'll do it. It's not a good time. Ethical, fading. Someone else will step in. They owe it to me or no one will get hurt. For rationalisation. Everybody does it. So how do you want to be thought of by your friends? By your interviewer, by the public, a family, by yourself. So finally, know your values, be an independent thinker, don't blindly follow and do the right thing.
And I understand that we may have a place where we can go after this for any kinds of thoughts and reactions. And I appreciate you being here.
Renee Gallant: Thank you very much, Dave. Thank you very much, Mark. This has been certainly a lot of food for thought, really, those ten ethical pitfalls. I think we're all probably going to take those away be interesting to see how we apply these things, how we try and instill being of ethical character to our students and those of us that work in education.
So thank you for all of this. And as Dave mentioned, we will we will move over to the virtual networking session I'm going to drop the link in the chat here. You should be able to click on that if you're registered with sociology and go right into that. And that's where Dave and Mark will be to answer more of your questions.
Again, we've got a full programme of events happening this afternoon. We've got three more keynote addresses. We've got our partners from Amala speaking this afternoon. We've got a keynote with Forrest Lee, and we also have Kishore Mahbubani to close off the day. So I hope that we'll see you at some of those other sessions if we don't see you over in the networking section sooner rather than later.
So thanks everyone and enjoy the rest of the day.
Mark Clay: Thank you so much to everybody and really appreciate you giving us the time today. And hopefully we'll see a few of you in the in the networking. Thank you.
David Epstein: Thanks. All.