Codes of Ethics: A Handbook

Codes of Ethics: A Handbook

Codes of Ethics: A Handbook

Codes of Ethics: A Handbook

Excerpt

The ethical movement of the present generation is part of the adjustment of our race to the particular kind of world in which we live. We have been learning that there are laws of Ethics, as well as of Physics and Biology, and that they operate in much the same way. All conduct is the cause of certain effects. Practices are ethical if, in the long run, they make for the well-being of the human species and for normal human relations. If there is friction and social loss, it is a sign of unethical conditions.

Each profession or trade has its own problems of ethics. The conduct of their members must be judged by its consequences, to the group itself and to the community. In the course of time there is likely to develop a certain standard of practice. Traditional customs are questioned and revised, in the light of wider experience. The association comes to have a fairly definite ethics, enforced by an unwritten code of honor. But there is always a fringe of unscrupulous men who are ready to disregard the accepted standard, for the sake of immediate gain. Unethical practices are not only a menace to society. They jeopardize the standing of the group as a whole, and tend to depreciate the value of its service. The enforcement of the standard becomes a matter of self-preservation.

The written code has been found a most effective means of accomplishing this result. It makes the standard definite enough to serve as a basis for moral pressure. It educates sentiment within the profession or trade, particularly among the younger men who have entered or are about to enter. It puts the association in the proper light before the employing public, and enlists the aid of that public in enforcing the standard. In the words of Franklin D. Jones, which have found their way into many code preambles: "The ideals of men best . . .

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