BU-103-A Managerial Ethics
Case 1.2 “Loose Money”
1. If you encountered a situation like those described, what would you do—turn the money into the authorities, grab what you can and keep it, or just ignore the whole thing? What factors would influence your decision? Is the decision a moral decision or some other kind of decision?
If I encountered a situation like the ones described in the readings, I would at first pick up the money. I believe it is a natural cultural instinct of the United States and other first world countries to grab money when we see it, especially on the ground. We do not think of where it came from. However, if authorities later that day asked for it to be turned in, I believe I would turn it in. It was not mine and it is the moral thing to do. That being said, there would be a thought in mine head of not giving it back or only giving some back. Why should I have to give back the money, when it was the mistake of the armored car? In the end I would make the more ethical decision to give the money back.
2. Is it dishonest to keep money that falls from an armored vehicle? Is it theft? In your opinion, what would be the right thing to do? Explain the values or moral principles that support your answer.
I believe it depends on how you look at the situation. If you are on the highway and you saw the money bag fall out of the armored truck and take the money, it is dishonest. However, if the money fell over the side of an overpass and those below do not know where it came from, who is to blame them for being dishonest. It is also only theft if the person knows they are taking it for the wrong reasons. If they see that the authorities are looking to recover the money, then the money should be turned in. The right thing to do would be to turn the money in, even though it would be hard decision to make for many. If I lost my money I would want someone to return it to me, and be honest about it.
3. Some people think that if you take the money, you are hurting no one. Is that true? Would it make a difference if the money had fallen out of someone’s purse or briefcase rather than out of an armored car? When and under what circumstances would you return property or money that you found to its rightful owner?
If you take the money, you are not directly hurting anyone, but indirectly causing problems. The drivers of the armored cars could lose their jobs if they cannot come up with the money. The casino would have to take the loose of the money and may have to let go some of its workers. I believe there is a difference between money falling out of a purse or wallet than the armored car. If there is a lady walking and money falls out of her purse, most people would give it back to her, unlike in the circumstance of the money bag. In all cases I would try my best to return money or property to its rightful owner. I also would feel guilty about keeping money that is not mine and would try to give it to charity if I cannot find the owner.
4. Do these cases pit morality against self-interest? Which of the following is true of you: “I am willing to do the right thing: (a) always, (b) only if the sacrifice is not too great, (c) only if doing so doesn’t inconvenience me or cost me anything, or (d) only if doing so benefits me in some way”?
These cases do pit morality against self-interest. It is hard to understand why people would naturally make the unethical decision when it comes to money. I personally am willing to do the right thing if the sacrifice it no to great. I would not drive across the country to bring someone’s lost wallet back, but I would mail it to them. I would not go looking for ways it could benefit me either.
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