Business ethics is a very broad term and widely used throughout the world. The term “business ethics” first started to be used in the United States in the early 1970’s as businesses were growing bigger and more powerful. Business ethics are guidelines or behaviors that businesses and individuals use daily to deal with world situations they might find themselves in. Race, gender, age and religion all play a role in business ethics. The most important factor in a person’s perspective of business ethics is religion, because of their duty-based ethical standards. A business’ or individual’s ethical reasoning process differs from one another that have different faiths. “Duty-based ethical standards often are derived from revealed truths, such as religious precepts” [ (Cross & Miller, 2009) ]. Religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have different reasoning process in which the individual examines the situation at hand in light of his or her moral convictions or ethical standards coinciding with their holy books as fundamental rules for moral action. [ (Cross & Miller, 2009) ].
Buddhists follow the teachings of Buddha to help with their ethics in business. Christianity uses the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Christ to classify their ethics. The Jewish faith uses the Torah, while Muslims use the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad to explain their views on business ethics.
Buddhists do not believe in one particular economic system. The main issue in Buddhist ethics is not how poor or wealthy a person is, but how they respond to the situation they are given. One goal of Buddhism is not to become attached to material things. They believe that material things should not control a person. Another goal of Buddhism is to end dukkah, which means ill-being, or unhappiness. The way that a Buddhist end ill-being is with dana, giving or generosity. Dana is the most important idea dealing with Buddhist ethics in society and business. “A person should have only minimal needs such as: enough food to stop hunger and keep up good health, enough clothing to be socially decent and to protect their body, enough shelter for cultivating the mind, and enough health care to provide sufficient care and prevent illness” (Knitter & Muzaffar, 60). Buddhists do not believe that a person should be poor, but what matters is how a person gets wealthy, and how they respond to being wealthy or poor. Buddhists believe that the economy is not usual or predictable, but that it is always changing. From a Buddhists viewpoint, “economic growth and consumerism are unsatisfactory alternatives because they evade the basic problems of life by distracting us with symbolic substitutes such as money, status, and power” (Knitter & Muzaffar, 75). The economy tries to cover up the problems of the world by giving people material things. People can become wealthy, but they should not become attached to material possessions and let them control their lives. In a Buddhist’s eyes, if a person has money or is wealthy then they should be using dana. A Buddhist’s view of business ethics differs a little from that of a Christian.
Christianity’s main concern is for the well-being of others. This concern is brought on by one of the Ten Commandments: Honor your neighbor and his goods. Christians believe that the government is an organization that was given by God to look after people. They also believe that any person who has made a mistake should own up to it and apologize. People following Christian business ethics should want to help others more than themselves. They also want to do what is needed to work with God in making a fair and continuing world economy. Anything that happens in the world, Christians believe God was responsible. They believe that he lets people make their own choices, but sometimes emerges and makes some decisions for them. If a Christian has a problem or finds that