Heberto Peterson

Full time professor , CETYS Universidad, Colegio de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades


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From your point of view, How important is ethics is every day life? Do you think that is a "reference" for most people?

In today society, we receive many messages about how to decide, how to elect, how to define our life, the question is if most humans really give space for ethical analysis and reflection or simply "go bye" as others do..

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    Jul 7 2011: Ethics either defines you or it doesn't. You either choose it moment by moment, decision by decision or not at all. For some it is the most important way we can live our lives. For many others it has no relevance at all. It is almost as though there are two worlds and a world full of heart ache for those who try to live the ethical life. I just do not know any other way of life that makes any sense if I am ever to see the outcomes for my children and the world that I believe are important.
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      Jul 7 2011: Tank you Debra. The responsibility to introduce children to reality is one of mi biggest challenges, primarily my one children, and of course the students at my university is other context.
      I agree that is one of the ways to give sense to our lives!.
  • Jul 6 2011: The answer is clearly NO (to me). I believe most of our decisions are made up on the spot without much deliberation. Not much time to apply critical thinking or any other analytical system. We should but sadly it is evident that we don't.
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      Jul 7 2011: Stephen, A most interesting coincidence for me is that you share the same name as one of the Canadians that I most deeply admire for his ethical stances.
      • Jul 8 2011: I guess that speaks to the question of "What's in a name". haha
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      Jul 7 2011: Thank you Stephen.
      Sadly I agree that most people not always give time to ethical deliberation. Is not the "Do as you please" of some anarchist that suppose a level of conscience and liberty, is just a "Do as you please" but blind!!!
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    Jul 7 2011: My favorite topic!

    !In my experience, I believe everyone wants to be considered ethical but that there is an "in group" consensus that decides case by case and chooses actions which are often clearly "unethical"

    .I was fairly prominent in New York Banking ( Appointed by Governor Cuomo to the Banking Board in 1986..serving..miraculously for 10 years), President of the NY Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters ( Also an officer for New York Risk and Insurance Management Society). As all would agree..two ethically challenged sectors of our business community: Insurance and Banking

    .In all of my official and leadership roles I was nevertheless an "outsider".Time after time I had to figure out how to maneouver around an "ingroup consensus" on some pretty clearly unethical issues.The interesting thing is that whenever I managed to do that navigation sucessfully..never by charges that the atcion proposed was unethical but by going back to the funadmentals at issue, I prevailed..one voice among many prevailed..and the interesting thing is that everyone always was very grateful and happy with the decision even though it was not where they were headed.

    A frequently heard expression at the Banking Board ( where of course everything happens behind closed doors with security stationed outside the board room) was "we; have to hold our nose on this one and vote yes. What other choice to do we have?" ( of course all in exceutive session for which no records were kept..what we agreed to in executive session was just just announced and voted on with no discussion at the public session) My fellow Board Members were the CEO's of some of the biggest banks in the world at that time.

    It became clear to me over time that without a countervailing well reasoned position "in group consesnsus". much influenced by expediency and convenience, would have prevailed.
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      Jul 7 2011: Lindsay, thank you for sharing your personal experience. Is a big responsibility to work in the bank system, is one of the more complicated human experiences in today world, but at the same time, is like the "possibility" to develop, create, an impulse human projects!!
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        Jul 8 2011: Herberto,

        First, how wonderful that you are here participating in Ted Conversations. We need voices like yours here to realize the full potential of "global convsersation" as envisioned in creating Ted Conversations.. We are a long ways from that goal at the moment. And yet I believe it is one of the most significant social and cultural experiments of all time. Voices like yours are needed to help build that standard of "global conversation.

        Yes, the power of one..especially on issues of ethics and morality has amazing leverage and power..it derives not from the influence of the speaker ( although the Baking Board and the Banking Department may have faered my oustide connections especially with Acorn and Gale Cincotta's wonderful chicago based grass roots work)..my theory is that truth itself is the leverage that will out leverage every thing else. I believe the light of truth can break through even the tightest most closed ideology and that the more times individuals have that experience of "glimpsing truth" the harder it will become to fall back to passivity or the comfort of closed ideological systems.I think my experience over many decades in Banking, Insurance ( and with government and large utilities on ethical issues) points to that. That whenever any one person tries to carry truth, bring truth, the leverage that has is literally unllimited.
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    Jul 5 2011: Ethics are a reference for everyone. They are also individually defined. My ethics are not someone else's reference. May I add a question to the thread? Such as, "SHOULD personal ethics be an expectation for public leaders?" I believe they are - in my lifetime there have been 4 Presidents whose VP's wanted to be President - Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton. Two, Eisenhower and Regan, avoided scandalous personal ethics and their VPs went on to be Presidents. The other two President's VPs could not get elected - and their "boss'es" personal ethics had something to do with their defeats. Right? Wrong? I don't know, but I do think it's anecdotal evidence that, as a society, we not only care about the personal ethics of our public leaders but we do factor it into how we evaluate them.
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      Jul 7 2011: Bill, I like your suggestion to complement my question: "Should personal ethics be an expectation for public leaders?"
      In today world the things that leaders do, their testimony is a great expectation for public opinion. And in any leader, the things they do, many people would do the same. Is part of their inspiration.