Conflict of interest is an important modern ethical concept, and “backscratching” (as in, “you scratch my back — do me a favour — and I’ll scratch yours”) is a common form of it. As the author below points out, returning a favour is generally an ethically good thing. Figuring out just when it’s NOT a good thing is challenging. >>>
The notion of reciprocity plays a foundational role in our ethical order. Most prominently, variations of the Golden Rule are evidently found in all of the world’s major religions. There is what could be considered negative reciprocity (“an eye for an eye”) as well as the positive sort (“the best place for [an Eskimo] to store his surplus is in someone’s else’s stomach.”)….
What do you think?
(For more about conflict of interest, including a definition and some guidance, see: Conflict of Interest Toolkit.)