Philip Zimbardo: The Lucifer Effect

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The world’s top 100 billionaires earned enough money to end world poverty four times over in 2012. (Oxfam 2) Indeed, it would seem the wealthy have the potential to make the world a better place, yet all too often they squander it. The list is comprised almost entirely of business men and women from around the globe. Tremendously powerful owners and executives who make decisions each day that affect thousands of people. Business executives and shareholders have a great influence on the remediable suffering of the world, and they can orient themselves toward societal problems by considering the common good before personal interests. They should do this because selfish, unethical decisions such as large scale job cuts, environmental destruction, …show more content…
For instance, often a company becomes successful quickly and has good intentions. Over time, however, the growth slows and the company begins to look for new ways to increase profitability. This shift in demeanor is referred to by Zimbardo as the Lucifer Effect. There is a great deal of depth to the concept, but it essentially covers why good people make bad decisions and the factors that cause them to do so. The problem with much of this research is that it labels all businesses as evil. In a response to Zimbardo’s research, scholar Luigi Zingales argued that not all businesses were evil. He claimed that businesses act immorally because of a few greedy people. He also spoke to the notion that business fields do many amazing things for the world whereas only a few harms …show more content…
A perfect example of one that harms consumers and the environment comes in the form of the bottled water company, Nestlé. To the public eye, Nestlé appears as a provider of affordable bottled water. However, in third world countries, the bottling company’s antics have devastated the availability of affordable drinking water for low income families. The documentary “Bottled Life” covers the effects of Nestlé in these countries. Essentially, in countries where there is no clean tap water, bottled water is the only option. However, citizens in the lower class often go thirsty because they cannot afford the cost of Nestlé’s bottled water. Unfortunately, Nestlé neglects to give assistance to the thirsty. For such a profitable company, this negligence is extremely unethical. Today, CEO Paul Bulcke continues to bottle millions of gallons of water from aquifers in California despite the severe drought in the area. Although Nestlé has the legal rights to do this, the ethics of pumping water from such a dry area are questionable to say the least. In 2014, the salary of CEO Paul Bulcke was over eleven million dollars, and the company’s profits were astounding. For a company of such magnitude, choosing to improve the quality of water for many people would be an ethical choice that would have minimal effect on the sustainability of the company. The ethical thing for Nestlé to do would be to slow bottling

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