Imagine meeting each month with a small group of doctors, nurses and a few fellow residents of your community at a local hospital. No, you are not organizing the gala benefit that annually raises funds for the hospital. Nor are you talking over your monthly assignment as a member of the hospital's auxiliary and volunteer corps.
There was a time, we suppose, when telling someone you were a development officer for any organization would have elicited this knowing response, "oh yes, fund-raising." Or when having this position may well have required a spirited defense, including taking out a full page ad in the New York Times to respond to any and all critics: "Why I Am Proud to Be A Development Officer."
For the A2Ethics.org working ethics series, we have been touring the community, talking with people about the ethics of their work. So, this got us thinking: what do people do when they are NOT working? And is their free time really ethics-free?
Social entrepreneurs. Microfinanciers. Practical Idealists. These are just of the few of the titles given to the new nonprofiteers and venture social capitalists starting up and charging up the world to make it a better place over the last two decades or so.
When we told a few people we were doing a podcast on museum ethics, we got some funny looks. And some interesting guesswork about museum ethics. One wondered whether it involved people who deface works of art and cultural treasures: sticking their gum on Mona Lisa's nose. Another ventured that museum ethics included famous museum heists, which are "all inside jobs," such as the recent disappearance of masterpieces by Picasso and Matisse from the walls of the Paris Museum of Modern Art.
Higher education institutions, and the eclectic ethics centers attached to them, are central to the nurturing and growth of a flourishing ethics economy. A2Ethics.org has identified this economy as one where people take career pathways that involve working with ethics ideas, and whose professions and livelihoods are ethics-related. We have been documenting this economy whenever we get a chance to talk with people helping to build this ethics economy.
Concussions. Dehydration. Fraternization with players. Pressures from coaches, parents and athletes to give the nod to go back into the game after getting injured. Athletic trainers have a lot of ethical issues to worry about. How are they able to balance and deal with the many dilemmas they face? And what are athletic trainers for anyway? What are their roles and obligations on the field and off?
Public opinion polls have become so ingrained in American politics that we give little thought to whether such polls are actually beneficial to our democracy. More compelling, we think, is the increasing willingness of public opinion pollsters to use their technologies to tell us about our collective attitudes on a wide range of ethical issues: from whether we "favor" stem cell research to our willingness to "agree" with some forms of torture.