The state of ethics vs. Jamaican law

A friend and colleague of mine, Keisha McKenzie, is spending time at home in Jamaica this summer but apparently is not taking time off as an ethicist. She seems to have taken issue with this article on the state of ethics vs. Jamaican law, which appeared in the Jamaica Gleaner:

The Jamaican people are now aware that corruption is rampant in high places. Scandal after scandal is exposed in the media but the political apologies, quick to limit wrongdoing to what is defined in law, rationalise away the ethical element by claiming that there is no corruption unless it can be proved that the act resulted in unjust enrichment, conveniently forgetting the benefit that might accrue to party or comrade.

It is high time that we stop trying to deal with corruption in purely legal terms. The Prime Minister’s recent call for the development of a code of conduct to address corrupt officials in the public sector may be a long overdue step in the right direction, especially his instructions that every ministry and agency should appoint a senior officer who would have responsibility for monitoring the ethical behaviour of staff.

Keisha retorts in this letter to The Gleaner:

Nobody should ever defer his/her thinking-about-ethics (and, hence, his/her accountability) to an ‘ethics expert.’ Let every bucket stand on its own bottom: private citizens and public officials must accept full responsibility for their own ethical or unethical reasoning and behaviour. Employing ethics experts or relying on periodic workplace training is an insufficient response to ‘rampant corruption’ unless individual employees also integrate strong ethical principles into their personal and business practices.

One won’t learn to drive by yielding the steering wheel to someone else, however knowledgeable or well-meaning that substitute is. In the same way, ethics cannot appropriately be legislated by the government or delegated to company monitors. Ethics flow from the bottom up, not from the top down; we must all develop ethical sensitivities and habits individually. If, however, we each cede our ethical authority to ‘professional ethicians,’ unfortunate excuses like ‘the expert made me do it’ won’t be long in coming.

Well said, Keisha. Ethics cannot only be legislated, it must happen at a much more smaller, organic and self-deliberating level. When Keisha returns to Texas, I look forward to picking up on some of our discussions pertaining to the state of ethics in Technical Communication.

May 30, 2005

Lauren and I spent Memorial Day at the pool with our iPods, Subway, and a textbook or two. I think I got too much sun.

Dr. Rich Rice has shared with me several links pertaining to wireless access in downtown areas. This week I’ll be preparing correspondence to the Lubbock City Council pitching the idea of free wireless access in downtown Lubbock.

Here are some links pertaining to the wireless initiative:

WiMax and WiMax Forum

From Steven Krause:

NOW on Politics of Municipal Broadband Networks
Interview with Lawrence Lessing
A Wireless Washtenaw County?

Lauren’s grandmother turns 97 on Wednesday

My fiance Lauren’s parents and grandmother came over tonight. Lauren’s grandmother turns 97 on Wednesday, and I am pretty sure she is in better shape than anyone I know. She’s an inspiration to everyone who knows her. Literally, everyone.

To put her 97 years into context:

– she was 33 when Pearl Harbor was attacked
– she was 61 when man set foot on the moon
– she was 25 when The New Deal began
– she was 78 when the space shuttle Challenger disaster occured
– she was 43 when Mickey Mantle first appeared in a Yankee uniform

When you put her life experience into context like this, you can see how truly amazing her history and experience is. Now consider that she lives on her own, and she still makes the finest cheddar cheese dinner rolls you have ever eaten.

I won’t mention the gravy she makes, because words cannot describe it.

Apple partnering with 7-11?

Apple iTunes on their site tonight had a “redeem song” button with the Slurpee logo affixed to it. I haven’t found any information that suggests Apple is partnering with Slurpee or anyone else in apromotion like the Pepsi/iTunes initiative that took place last Spring. Clicking on the Slurpee button only results in a “Server Error” message.

Could Apple be partnering with 7-11 for a song giveaway? If so, its evident that Apple has a thing for associating with the sugared-water business. Perhaps it might be better for them to partner with associates who promote somewhat healthier lifestyles than Pepsi and Slurpee.

Let’s Bring Wireless to Downtown Lubbock

Lubbock’s NBC affiliate is reporting that the City of Lubbock is preparing to begin another initiative to revitalize the downtown sector of the city. The story hasn’t been posted to the KCBD website yet, but when it is, I’ll post it.

Almost every city in America is struggling with a downtown revitalization project of some sort. However, this news has me thinking of several stories I’ve read the past few years of initiatives to introduce free wireless internet service to downtown areas in an effort to deliver customers to economically down-turned areas.

What about free wireless internet in downtown Lubbock?

Imagine sitting in an outdoor coffee shop, park, bar, or shopping center in downtown Lubbock and surfing the web.

It’s my belief downtown Lubbock hasn’t evolved much since the 1970s, with the exception of several law offices and a handful of restaurants. Maybe its time to allow downtown Lubbock to evolve into a modern day business environment – one with wireless connectivity.

An environment like this would be conducive to an audience that would bring businesses to merchants. Seattle is doing it, and so is my hometown of Urbana, Illinois.

Similarly, free wireless internet might be one more step to bridging the gap between East Lubbock, which borders downtown Lubbock and has fallen significantly behind in terms of economic development, education, and connectivity. By opening the internet to more people, we provide people with options and education. This might be a good way to draw business to downtown Lubbock while at the same time meeting a social need.

UPDATE: Here’s the KCBD story

Chinese Government Control of Media

I think one of the most widely dismissed global issues today is the Chinese government’s control of media. That control becomes even more apparent when you introduce electronic media and content, which can be freely produced by nearly anyone with an internet connection — unless you live in China:

[Edwyn] Chan, who was raised in Hong Kong but today calls Chengdu, Sichuan, home, realized that doing anything that involves politics could mean trouble, but he also believed this was an opportunity to see whether blogs, which have not yet caught on in China, could translate. Within four days of launching, he reached more than 10,000 people. He also drew the attention of the Gong An, the Chinese police in charge of monitoring the net.

Instead of shutting him down, however, the Gong An told him if he wanted to continue he would have to remove the more heated posts, which he did. Not in keeping with the freewheeling, stand-up-to-authority ethos of the blogosphere in the West, but it sure beats prison.

Mark Cuban on music downloading

Mark Cuban has more good thoughts on music downloading:

By offering music so economically, Yahoo has changed how the RIAA should and can spread Piraphobia around the country. It should also change the perspective our politicians have about the subject as well. How can the Attorney General divert resources to save the music biz 5 bucks a pop? How can bills be proposed that try to save the music industry 5 bucks a month?