Is Business Bluffing Ethical? Albert Carr Carr, like various cut throat business men and women, makes the claim that business is analogous to the game of poker. Although similar characteristics and tendencies do mimic each other, there are distinct examples that find fault in this analogy. In recognizing Kant’s views on truthfulness, it can be seen that “it is ok to bluff in poker” but it is not “ok to bluff in business. ” 1. The game of poker not only relies on distrust to create a competitive match, but it also calls for distrust amongst players. In business, any distrust is distrust!
According to Kant’s rules on truthfulness, “society is based on trust” and without it, society would not function well. With distrust in business among coworkers, competitors, etc, business cannot function effectively as well. (This breaks Kant’s premise 1. ) 2. The ultimate purpose of the game of poker is to win and defeat the opponent. Is this the ultimate goal in business? No. The goals of business should be to prosper and profit by providing goods and services to customers. Yes, competition exists, but to help establish the cooperation and placement of businesses in the labor force.
Because bluffing helps defeat opponents in poker, it is ok. In business crushing opponents should be a distant second to keeping consumers happy. 3. In the article Carr alludes to the fact that “if it’s legal, than it’s moral. ” He even cites the experience of an “ethical business man” that knowingly provided money to political candidates. He said it was the game of business; no laws were being broken and therefore nothing was wrong…everyone is doing it kind of mentality. There are laws or rules in poker that allow for game behavior not acceptable in everyday human relationships.
In business there are laws that exist to protect possible immoral and unethical dilemmas that could arise. This assumes that humans are not capable of being completely trustworthy. However, just because a law does not exist does not make an action ethically responsible. Laws and ethics in business are two distinct segments that work together to help business function. If rules in poker are broken, then you are a cheater and can be disqualified. This is a difference in the comparison of poker and business.