Trump, Conflict of Interest, and Faith in Government

business_ethics_highlights_2The blog post below argues that the real risk involved in having a president with active, ongoing business interests lies in the fact that it stands to reduce public faith in the decision-making of government as a whole. While the focus here is on Donald Trump’s particular situation, the lesson is quite general: when conflict of interest is a problem in business (i.e., when it is mis-handled), it is because it jeopardizes faith in the relevant decision-making processes and institutions. >>>

LINK: The real risk of Donald Trump’s potential business conflicts of interest
(by Chris MacDonald for Canadian Business)

…But I would argue that the real worry is one step more subtle than this. …the real problem with conflict of interest is not just that this decision maker will make bad decisions this time, or even that this decision maker will make bad decisions all the time. The real risk is loss of faith—loss of faith in the entire institution in which the decision-maker is embedded. So, were a judge to adjudicate a case involving a loved one, the risk is not (merely) that she might render a bad decision. The risk is that onlookers would begin to doubt the objectivity of the judicial system as a whole. When a physician prescribes expensive medications made by a company in which she just happens to own stock, the real risk is not that this won’t be the right medicine, but that patients will come to doubt, quite generally, the motives underlying their physicians’ decision-making…..

What do you think?

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