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[Phys-l] OT: Reflecting on Ethics (was A geek's ... "Avatar")

Not only is it not alright for Bob to consider stealing from stores because he can,
it is also not alright for Bob to consider stealing glasses that are worth only cents rather than dollars. **
Moreover, it is ethically suspect for store managers to place goods in positions so accessible that they provide appreciable temptation to customers. If business owners wish to collect loans in person from people to whom they loaned items of appreciable value, this would be ethically
superior to their loaning goods of particular value without taking ordinary precautions to elicit their return. This is in the area of "attractive nuisances" for which (in the case of domestic swim-pools for example) a trespasser - a child who decides to go for a swim - who then drowns, will thereby attract retribution upon the homeowner who is shown not to take seriously his duty of reasonable care in guarding attractive nuisances.

There, how do you feel when placed on the sticky end? :-)

Brian W
** Compare the US penal system which treats thefts of articles exceeding some limit value, to be punishable on a more severe scale. (petty/grand larceny?)
** Consider the ethical code upheld by some religious sources: that it is as culpable to even IMAGINE forbidden conduct as to execute it.
These might be considered polar opposites....

LaMontagne, Bob wrote:
Let me see if I understand you - It's OK if I steal items from stores because they can just raise prices and let others pay for what I steal?

Unfortunately, this is just how many people feel. I have a friend who manages a Bed Bath and Beyond. The pilferage is astounding. When caught, shoplifters have no remorse whatsoever - they feel they are just taking back from a big rich company that is ripping them off with high prices. They have no idea that they are part of the high prices.
Just because stealing is built into the business models of most retailers does not in any way justify the theft.

I think what I find most annoying is listening to middle class people on this list justifying theft simply because they are doing it for the use of their classes. What hubris!

Bob at PC

-----Original Message-----
From: [mailto:phys-l-] On Behalf Of Brian Whatcott
Sent: Monday, January 04, 2010 1:06 PM
To: Forum for Physics Educators
Subject: Re: [Phys-l] A geek's observations on "Avatar"

Not to blur an ethical issue, but Joel illustrated here a business
decision of the kind also made by stores who place sale goods on free
access to customers, realizing that they invite 2 or 3 percent losses
from pilferage, in inviting increased sales and allowing reduced store
manning by this means.

If a movie theater experiences 2% box office losses from lack of
of this kind, they have the option of lifting seat prices by 3 or 4%
- say from $12 to $12.50 per seat....

Brian W

Rauber, Joel wrote:
Fun movie, but I definitely had the impression that I had seen this
western before.
Depending on the theatre it may or may not be stealing the glasses;some theatre's sell the glasses to the audience. I so Beowulf and paid
$2.00, for my glasses and saved them._________________________

Joel Rauber, Ph.D