Is Business Bluffing Ethical?

Topics: Lie, Logic, Ethics Pages: 3 (1105 words) Published: November 7, 2012
1. Is Business Bluffing Ethical? By Albert Z. Carr 
2. What is Carr’s central claim? “Business…is a game that demands both special strategy and an understanding of its special ethics.” (p. 60) One of these strategies involves calculated lying in the form of bluffing. These special ethics are different from “church ethics” such as honesty, integrity, and decency. This appears to be a wide-sweeping claim. Bluffing is widely practiced in business, and bluffing = “calculated lying.” This means that the “church ethics” of honesty, integrity, and decency have no place in business. That is, “some dishonesty accepted in the narrowly restricted context of negotiation” = “no honesty required anywhere”This appears to be a wide-sweeping claim. Bluffing is widely practiced in business, and bluffing = “calculated lying.” This means that the “church ethics” of honesty, integrity, and decency have no place in business. That is, “some dishonesty accepted in the narrowly restricted context of negotiation” = “no honesty required anywhere”  3. Two important definitions. Game (n.) = (1) An activity providing entertainment or amusement; a pastime. (2) A competitive activity or sport in which players contend with each other according to a set of rules. [The root word means to leap merrily.] Bluff (vt.) = (1) To mislead or seek to mislead a person by a false, bold front. (2) In poker, to try to mislead other players by betting more on a hand than it is worth. [The root word means either to boast or to baffle.]  4. Two points about the definitions. The fact that an activity is a game does NOT determine the acceptable strategies. “The Game of Science,” in which absolute truthfulness is needed for long-term success. Golf, in which absolute honesty is expected. Bluffing is NOT identical with lying. Some bluffs are not lies (poker vs. “liars poker”). Many business lies cannot be considered bluffs. Games, though involving competition, do not therefore universally sanction deception – not...
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