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We have already learned about human values and morality in the previous articles. Now is the time to get into ethics. We must know that only ethics can equip us with the lens to understand and examine the moral standards of people or society, as well as their reasonableness.
Relevance: theme is part of UPSC CSE General Studies Work-IV Ethics Agenda. Aspirants will also find the article useful for their essay. Also, the essence of the article will help the aspirants in their professional life or life in general.
Nanditesh Nilay writes for UPSC Ethics Made Simple biweekly on Sundays. The first article is a concept while the second article is a caselet based on the concept. Don’t miss the post-reading question, thought point, and express entry below.
What is ethics?
Ethics it is that domain of understanding that deals with examining and knowing what type of human behavior can be called correct human behavior in the context of individual or social behavior in general. And here we can rationally realize the importance of understanding those ethical principles that allow us to identify appropriate human values that lead to the good of all.
for your information
According to dictionary.cambridge.org, ethics is “a system of accepted beliefs that control behavior, especially a system based on morality.”
What is the Input-Output framework for understanding ethics?
We can even say that ethics is the output and human values are the input. We can have such a framework because human values are fundamental human sentiments, or beliefs that are treated as conducive to both individual and collective human happiness and therefore promote a harmonious life in society. Our human values guide our relationship with other human beings and with the rest of nature and prepare us to achieve our goal. It means that our feelings or beliefs are the building blocks of our personality and therefore keep us closer to human attributes. Valuing human attributes defines our human values. Therefore, human values are an input for any Individual.
On the other hand, ethics expects us to examine those moral standards that are being valued and thus find out whether those moral standards are reasonable or unreasonable. And here arises the role of ethical principles that can guide an individual or any institution to read the subtle and gross distinction of any action/behavior through the variables of right and wrong. So with the help of ethical principles, one can make ethical decisions. And so, ethics is out. If we are not evolving as a society with the feelings of human values, then ethics will be more a fulfillment than a result of that human contribution. It means that ethics will be more a forced act than an ethical attitude for any individual or society.
Competition Vs Ethical Attitude
There is always a dilemma as to whether competition is more important than ethics. Many times it can be argued that problems can be handled more with competence and skill than with ethical understanding. Of course, it is essential as well as urgent to acquire the required competence or the necessary skills for the bureaucracy or in any profession, but it must be remembered that, along with it, it is equally important to have an ethical attitude. Only an ethical person is capable of working with the spirit of doing good to all. If someone is not ethical, he will not be able to fulfill the desired goal of any profession. Only that ethical attitude can ensure the sanctity of an act rather than mere competence or skill. Competition can even backfire and will certainly produce negative results if not integrated with an ethical attitude. And we must not forget that an ethical attitude is built on ethical principles.
for your information
1. According to cambridgeassessment.org.uk:
Competence It is the ability to integrate and apply contextually appropriate knowledge, skills, and psychosocial factors (eg, beliefs, attitudes, values, and motivations) to consistently perform successfully within a specific domain.
2. According to Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy and Governance
ethical competition it is the pursuit of knowledge and action that defines right and wrong behavior.
3. According to dictionary.cambridge.org:
Attitude it is a feeling or opinion about something or someone, or a way of behaving that is provoked by it.
According to e-education.psu.edu:
attitudes they are the perspectives on a situation based on the values held by a person or organization (or other form of agent). In other words, people and organizations perceive situations in the world through their values (they generally look for information that directly supports their values), resulting in attitudes held about a given situation in the world. as positive, negative, corrosive, bad, good or bad. right, wrong, sacred, profane, etc.
Talent is useless without ethics and attitude
In a motivational speech at IIM Ahmedabad in 2005Harsha Bhogle talked about how talent isn’t the only ingredient for success.
Harsha Bhogle is one of the country’s leading sports commentators, he started his career at the age of 19 with All India Radio, while living in hyderabad, where he played A-Div cricket. He also represented Osmania University in the Rohinton Baria Tournament.
Harsha Bhogle: “A lot of us put a lot of emphasis on talent, don’t we? I mean, we often look at someone who is talented and go wow. Talent does that to people, it dazzles you. And yet, he discovers that excellence is not just about talent, in fact, a significant part of excellence has nothing to do with talent. And over time, once you get past a certain level, skill or talent is the most useless virtue to possess. It’s what you do with the talent that matters. Beyond one point, it’s an attitude that counts much more than talent because talent breeds any ego and talent never solves problems beyond one point. I have seen many extremely talented young cricketers who when faced with an obstacle did not know what to do because they never had to fight to succeed. They always used their talent to succeed.”
For example, take Tendulkar, he played 55 games without a break as a 14-year-old, Bhogle said. “He would practice for two hours, play a game and then practice for two hours and then fall asleep at the dining room table and do that for 55 days, that’s an attitude,” he said in his speech.
(Fountain: Talent is useless without work ethic and attitude: Harsha Bhogle)
Point to ponder: Indian healthcare must merge ethics with competence. Discuss
~ India’s mixed healthcare system has evolved by default, not by design. We cannot turn back the clock. We need to make the best use of all of our healthcare providers to deliver optimal healthcare that avoids exploitation of vulnerable patients. To improve access, affordability, and quality of healthcare in India, we need the public sector to be more responsive, the private sector more accountable, and the voluntary sector more resourceful.
~ There are two broad segments of the private sector that provide healthcare. One is the unorganized private segment of individual health care providers (both skilled and unskilled). In the organized healthcare sector, we have the non-profit, for-profit, and for-profit segments. Many in the first two segments have performed well in service delivery and have adhered to ethical standards. It is the third segment that discredits private healthcare. At present, there is concern that many institutions in the second category are moving to the third category.
~ The voluntary sector in India can proudly boast of several excellent health institutions. Although some of them are labeled private, they cross-subsidize their care for the poor and have excellent ethical standards. However, these institutions are not well distributed geographically and do not have the financial resources to rapidly extend their reach and expand their services. Even among such institutions, those that have medical schools attached to hospitals or have credible postgraduate training programs tend to practice evidence-based ethical care. Their hospitals are usually not run by non-physician MBAs. Its management teams are led by physicians.
(Fountain: Private healthcare must merge ethics with efficiency by K Srinath Reddy)
— Edited by Manas Srivastava
After reading question: What is more important, talent or ethics?
The writer is the author of ‘Being Good and Aaiye, Insaan Banaen’. He teaches courses and offers training in ethics, values and behaviour. He has been an expert/consultant to UPSC, SAARC countries, Academy of Civil Services, National Center for Good Governance, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Competition Commission of India (ICC), etc He holds PhDs in two disciplines and has been an ICSSR PhD Fellow in Gandhian Studies. His second PhD is from IIT Delhi on ethical decision making among Indian bureaucrats. He writes biweekly for the UPSC Simplified Ethics (Concepts and Cases).