When did it become accepted that actions that are right and moral – like paying employees a decent wage – have to be explained away and justified?  When did we accept the notion that people should be moral in their lives but that the moment they show up for work their morality is subsumed by their obligation to maximize profits (whatever that means)?” – Sasha Dichter

This is just one of the fantastic questions raised in a blog post by Sacha Dichter, Director of Business Development for the Acumen Fund, which is “a non-profit global venture that uses entrepreneurial approached to solve the problems of global poverty.” Writing about Costco’s decision to pay high wages and the criticism they have received from analysts, Dichter challenges an amoral marketplace asserting that, “…the notion that it is better for management to be amoral rather than moral undercuts the foundation of our society, our values, what makes us human being.”

I loved in particular this bit, where he shines a light on the contradiction between cultural displays of morality and what happens when those values are challenged by the need/desire/obligation to make a profit.

“It may sound naïve, but I find it ironic that in a country (the U.S.) where values, morality, and religiosity have such a central place in our culture, in the corporate mainstream – which is itself populated mostly by values-driven, moral, religious people – it is verboten to talk in any serious way about acting in a moral way because it is the right thing to do.  Instead there’s this Texas Two Step, nudge-nudge wink-wink from CEOs to Wall Street to say “honest, guys, I’m just doing it to make more money!”

What do you think? Why is it that we need to make excuses for doing the right thing. Does this mentality extend beyond the marketplace into our homes, schools, churches, etc?

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