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“It’s Only Business,” What’s Kosher About Business Ethics?

“Its Only Business,” What’s Kosher About Business Ethics?

from rabbincalassembly.org by Mark Greenspan

Introduction

“It’s not personal it’s only business. You should know, Godfather.” Those were the words of Licio Lucchesi,
one of the characters in the classic film The Godfather. After looting the Vatican-owned Immobiliare
Corporation of several billion dollars with the help of a high ranking Catholic official, Lucchesi turned to
Godfather Michael Corleone for help covering his tracks. While few of us will ever be quite so cunning or
deceitful it’s not uncommon for people to say, “Its only business” when cutting corners in business. The end
justifies the means. We presume that in the real world of business the standards of ethics are different than
they are elsewhere. After all don’t we say caveat emptor, “Let the buyer beware?” In the world of business and
corporate dealings only the shrewd and the most cunning survive. We admire those people who manage to
get ahead until their actions have an adverse effect on our lives.