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1 SCHOOL OF LAW Year 2015-16, Term 2 LGST 001 ETHICS AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY Instructor: David N. Smith Practice Professor of Law Tel: 6828 0788 Email: [email protected]Office: School of Law, Room 4044, Level 4 COURSE DESCRIPTION Issues of ethics and social responsibility arise in all professions and in many contexts: in companies, in government, and in personal decision-making. History shows us that the failure to recognize and deal effectively with ethical issues can have disastrous implications for individuals, companies, shareholders, workers, governments, and society. Companies are fined. Executives go to prison. Shareholders lose their investments. Employees lose their jobs. The globe is polluted. Privacy is invaded. Careers are ruined. There are four major challenges in dealing with issues of ethics and social responsibility: First is recognizing issues of ethics and social responsibility when they arise. This is not as easy as it sounds. One way of gaining this skill is learning from past mistakes of individuals, companies, and governments. Second is understanding why and how individuals, companies and governments get themselves into ethical difficulties (and how and why companies fail in being “socially responsible”). There are, in fact, a lot of forces working against ethical and socially responsible behaviour. What are they? A third challenge is figuring out how to resolve ethical challenges and dilemmas as they arise. How do we determine what is the right thing to do? Ethics theory can give us some guidelines and frames of reference. And a fourth challenge is figuring out how we can develop systems that can prevent ethical breaches from occurring. Part of this is building corporate cultures and government cultures that make ethical concerns part of the everyday thinking. We will examine -- through cases and problems, and other readings -- issues of ethics and social responsibility that have arisen in real life contexts, including issues that arise from the