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Why is prostitution considered immoral, as long as it is a service that is

Why is prostitution considered immoral, as long as it is a service that is provided, just like the service of a driver or a cleaning person? Why is a prostitute seen like a person of low value and why do we think it's immoral that she sells herself for money, because, if we think about it, any person who works and gets paid is also selling himself for money. Thank you!

Kinda depends on what you think is OK to buy, sell or rent, doesn't it? We don't accept slavery, because we don't think people should be for sale or should ever be owned--though we accept that it is OK to pay for the labor that people can perform in some cases.

So I agree with the premise of your question: in general, we seem to be OK with paying for services. Is sex something that we should (or could permissibly) think of as a kind of service? Notice that such a view of sex is different from the view we take in romantic circumstances. There, we take sex to be a kind of intimacy between two people--a way of relating lovingly to one another. Prostitution, I think it is safe to say, isn't like that. It is more, as you say, like a service. But surely one could reasonably wonder whether thinking of sexual acts as services is the right way to conceive of them.

Now, as with so many ethical questions, we might find that we are led to different sorts of answers if we apply different kinds of ethical insights. Do people have rights with respect to the uses of their bodies? Well, it seems so. So why do the prostitute and john not have the right to do with their bodies as they please, given consent by both parties? Well...maybe the rights of others get engaged here, too--rights of the members of the rest of society to determine what sorts of commerce they will, and what sorts they will not, permit within their communities. So perhaps an individual's right to the uses of his or her body is only a prima facie right that might be defeated if it comes into competition with the political or economic rights of communities to regulate commerce or other aspects of social interaction...?

(I confess I am not all that good at this way of thinking, so I will allow others better at this to chime in here.)

But let's take a different tack. Go back to what I said about sexual acts as services. I'm a virtue theorist in ethics, so the way I take this sort of question is as follows: Would a virtuous person think of sex acts as services? I think not. It seems to me that an admirable human being would neither think of sex acts as services, nor would he or she wish to have others serve them in such a way. This is not at all to say that admirable human beings would abhor sex! It is, rather, to say that they would think of sex acts from a point of view that was other than that of serving or being served. So, from this point of view, there really does seem to be something wrong with prostitution--it functions on the basis of a view of sex that we would not really wish to promote, if we were seeking to encourage virtue, and one that seems to be the product of a faulty view of the value of the activity in question--a value that is not virtuously commodified.

Notice that this is not at all an argument to the effect that prostitution should be outlawed, or that it should be regarded as morally impermissible. Lots of stuff falls short of virtue that we would not outlaw or anathematize. There may even be aspects of certain kinds of sexuality that actually find sex-as-service part of the thrill.

But even so, we can fault such things on the sorts of grounds I have given, and so it seems that there is, from a virtue theoretic point of view, a genuine moral fault in prostitution (from both the prostitute's and the john's points of view) that we would not similarly assign serving as a driver or cleaner. These latter activities seem to be correctly (and thus virtuously) conceived as services. Not so, for sex--even if the idea turns you on!

Kinda depends on what you think is OK to buy, sell or rent, doesn't it? We don't accept slavery, because we don't think people should be for sale or should ever be owned--though we accept that it is OK to pay for the labor that people can perform in some cases. So I agree with the premise of your question: in general, we seem to be OK with paying for services. Is sex something that we should (or could permissibly) think of as a kind of service? Notice that such a view of sex is different from the view we take in romantic circumstances. There, we take sex to be a kind of intimacy between two people--a way of relating lovingly to one another. Prostitution, I think it is safe to say, isn't like that. It is more, as you say, like a service. But surely one could reasonably wonder whether thinking of sexual acts as services is the right way to conceive of them. Now, as with so many ethical questions, we might find that we are led to different sorts of answers if we apply different kinds...

Is it wrong not to inform a friend's organization of a potentially bad hire-

Is it wrong not to inform a friend's organization of a potentially bad hire--because I work with this person and want them to leave our organization? And yes, it's a bad hire, by the work ethic standards of everyone else I work with, it's not a personal issue!

I guess there are different angles to this one. Is it wrong in a business ethics sense not to tell your friend's organization about the person they may hire? Not unlesss you are one of the people contacted for a referencce, I suppose. You are not obligated to inform other businesses about the errors they may be about to make! But what has more traction for me in your question is where you identify the other organization as your friend's. As a friend, yes, I think you owe it to your friend to let him or her know about the problem--just because you would like to be rid of the bad colleague, you will sit back and allow your friend to inherit your problem? Not nice!

I guess there are different angles to this one. Is it wrong in a business ethics sense not to tell your friend's organization about the person they may hire? Not unlesss you are one of the people contacted for a referencce, I suppose. You are not obligated to inform other businesses about the errors they may be about to make! But what has more traction for me in your question is where you identify the other organization as your friend's . As a friend, yes, I think you owe it to your friend to let him or her know about the problem--just because you would like to be rid of the bad colleague, you will sit back and allow your friend to inherit your problem? Not nice!

Should business/corporations give to charity? Or should they return the profits

Should business/corporations give to charity? Or should they return the profits to shareholders, and let them decide what to do with it?

In principle, the decisions made by corporate managers are, as a matter of contract and law, supposed to reflect and be answerable to the will of the shareholders. I can't think of any compelling reason to think that corporations should give to charity. But let's be clear what's at issue here. Is it nice when they do so? Of course it is. Those who benefit from that charity (or those charities) to which a corporation might donate are certainly benefited. Do corporations have responsibilities, as a result of the benefits they gain from society? Sure they do--that's why they either pay taxes or else make other agreements with cities, states, and nations that are supposed to exact a fair exchange of the goods that are enjoyed by the corporation and the goods returned back to the community. But I can't see how or why in addition to paying their fair share (in jobs, or taxes, or whatever) in exchange for receiving the goods they receive from society, they also have some responsibility to give to charity.

Let me put the point very simply. Suppose you hire me to manage your money. Then someone else notices that I have access to all your money, and tells me that I should use some of that money to support charity. Maybe that would be OK with you, but it is hard to see that just because I control the use of a certain amount of money, I should use it to support charity. My responsibility is to you (my shareholder)--the fact that I control your money does not add some other responsibility as to how I should use that money, above and beyond the terms of my contract with you (and all, obviously, subsumed under and regulated by the laws of the land).

In principle, the decisions made by corporate managers are, as a matter of contract and law, supposed to reflect and be answerable to the will of the shareholders. I can't think of any compelling reason to think that corporations should give to charity. But let's be clear what's at issue here. Is it nice when they do so? Of course it is. Those who benefit from that charity (or those charities) to which a corporation might donate are certainly benefited. Do corporations have responsibilities, as a result of the benefits they gain from society? Sure they do--that's why they either pay taxes or else make other agreements with cities, states, and nations that are supposed to exact a fair exchange of the goods that are enjoyed by the corporation and the goods returned back to the community. But I can't see how or why in addition to paying their fair share (in jobs, or taxes, or whatever) in exchange for receiving the goods they receive from society, they also have some responsibility to...

I work in a fairly large organization where each year staff are given the

I work in a fairly large organization where each year staff are given the opportunity to nominate a colleague for a "staff achievement award". A member of staff in my office is a good candidate for nomination but no-one wants to nominate her (or anyone else) because another member of staff, who doesn't deserve nomination, desperately wants to be nominated - so to avoid an unpleasant situation the staff are not nominating anyone. I don't agree with awards such as this - not just because they cause pain to those who will not be nominated and are unfair anyway because people who do not deserve nomination will be nominated - but because I do not think that anyone deserves an award for a job well done or for being a considerate co-worker or for being exceptional in anyway. Entering competitions in order to win an award is a different matter. What is your opinion?

This sort of case is the best example of a reason why organizations should be very leery of any system of recognition or reward that has the consequence of making its members feel they are subject to invidious comparisons.

Even so, I do think that special effort and special merit also deserves special recognition. A system of nominations is supposed to bring attention to the most deserving cases, and if this system operates properly, then credit goes where credit is due. But, to be perhaps a bit too blunt, it sounds to me as if your co-workers are actually doing your best to make sure this system will not work effectively or fairly, by refusing to take part in it. By refusing to nominate your colleague, you do what is in your power to deny them the recognition they deserve. How can that be right? Instead you and your other co-workers are going to sit idly by and watch someone undeserving get that recognition, because you are unwilling to allow the system to work as it should!

Now I suspect that things have gotten to this point because you and your co-workers suspect that even if you did make an appropriate nomination, the wrong person would be rewarded. So this is a kind of passive resistance to a system you regard as unfair. If that's what's going on, then perhaps a more appropriate response would be for some representative of those who think like this to go (privately and discretely!) to whoever it is who is responsible for making these decisions, explaining to that person why there is so much reluctance to make nominations this year.

Anyway, I really think that the best way to make sure the most deserving candidate gets the appropriate recognition is to nominate that person, and have your co-workers do the same. The one who doesn't deserve it should not win by default, and might learn much of value by being denied the credit they crave. So for heaven's sake don't continue to sit on your hands. If something is broke, fix it!

This sort of case is the best example of a reason why organizations should be very leery of any system of recognition or reward that has the consequence of making its members feel they are subject to invidious comparisons. Even so, I do think that special effort and special merit also deserves special recognition. A system of nominations is supposed to bring attention to the most deserving cases, and if this system operates properly, then credit goes where credit is due. But, to be perhaps a bit too blunt, it sounds to me as if your co-workers are actually doing your best to make sure this system will not work effectively or fairly, by refusing to take part in it. By refusing to nominate your colleague, you do what is in your power to deny them the recognition they deserve. How can that be right? Instead you and your other co-workers are going to sit idly by and watch someone undeserving get that recognition, because you are unwilling to allow the system to work as it should! Now I...