Practical business ethics: when is it appropriate to disclose one's vested interests?

Discussion in 'Business & Economics' started by Seattle, Nov 18, 2022.

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  1. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    I've ignored nothing. I simply chose not to respond line by line.
    I highlighted the key points.
    Sometimes when people agree with each other they are not in cahoots, they are not the same person (as you have previously accused Sarkus and Seattle of being), and one is not the mouthpiece of the other.
    Sometimes, when they agree, it is because they agree.
    Simple as that.
    I have decided for myself: you lied, for effect.
    You don't understand, and post #96 shows that you don't.
    So let's go through it:
    You start in that post by accusing me of flip-flopping between agreeing and disagreeing, as if I am doing both on the same issue.
    I am not, as I am agreeing with you on one issue (the principle) but not the other (the standard by which you apply it, and have harassed Sarkus to abide by).
    Your accusation of "flip-flopping" is clear evidence that you do not understand the difference.

    Your next line is clear evidence again that you don't know the difference between the two: "Please be clear. What is the "basic principle" and what is the "actual standard"? What are you talking about? What are these two things and how are they different from one another?" despite being told repeatedly what those differences are.

    You then reiterate that you dismissed Sarkus' post out of hand, using this accusation of "bile and insults" to dismiss the criticisms.
    That is a fallacious ad hominem attack by you.
    There is plenty there that deserve and require a substantive response from you, James R, as it gets to the very heart of the discussion that this thread should be about.
    But you seem more intent on continuing your harassment of Sarkus, and ignoring what he, and everyone else (and I'll get on to that choice of words later), has explained to you.

    You then think that simply pointing to a few phrases or sentences that he has written is sufficient to warrant the disclosure you sought.
    It isn't.
    That is to beg the question by you.
    Whether or not those things are sufficient to warrant disclosure is, again, at the heart of this thread.
    And you are wilfully choosing to ignore that.

    You then deny the interpretation that everyone else who has chipped in has taken from your approach thus far.
    Fine, if that is not the interpretation you want people to have, but it is the one everyone else who has chipped in thus far has taken from what you have said, maybe it behooves you to explain why they are wrong, and actually counter what they have said regarding the standard.
    Not the principle, but the standard.
    Remember, there is a difference.
    But you have not done that.
    You have repeatedly countered their arguments against your standard as if they have argued against the principle.

    You then ask what follows from the principle that "disclosure is ethical if you have a vested interest."
    Well, if one acts in good faith then one discloses when they feel that the discussion, or what they are saying, reaches the standard that warrants such disclosure.
    They are left to disclose that, not pressured into disclosing that they don't have.
    Otherwise, what follows is what others have explained to you, and which you deny, that every person ever discussing something has to declare, either that they do (if they do) or that they do not (if they do not) have a vested interest.
    Note that the principle discussed is not that one ought to disclose such when asked, but rather that one should disclose any vested interest they may have.

    Let me know if you want me to continue to dissect post #96?
    About you playing the victim:
    “This is just the "pile on James" issue of the moment.” – #94
    About you dismissing criticisms with ad hominems:
    “You're foaming at the mouth. You don't seriously expect me to engage with you while you're in this state, do you?” – #77 – followed by zero response to those key issues raised.
    “I mean, you asked whether I want to live in a police state? Or interrogate people? Really? That sounds like something Sarkus would say, not you.” - #76 – without actually addressing the issue.
    “You keep giving him a free pass. It's obvious where your loyalties lie.” - #95 – without actually addressing the issue of your ongoing harassment.

    Would you like me to go on?
    You haven’t addressed it all, but rather just the underlying principle.
    You continue to claim you understand the difference, yet your arguments show otherwise.
    Are you doing it deliberately?
    The difference is at the core of this issue, and it is an issue either you don’t grasp, or are deliberately misrepresenting.
    Your own posts, as already shown, is sufficient evidence of that.
    I am not trying to insult you, just get you to recognise the reality of the position you’re in.
    The difference between him and you in this regard is that he doesn’t attack ad hominem as a means of deflecting and avoiding issues.
    You do.
    As already evidenced.
    The entire question of whether or not one has a vested interest, when the discussion does not warrant such ethical consideration, is itself an ad hominem.
    You have tried in this thread to do little but paint Sarkus as unethical, as rude, foaming at the mouth, none of which appears to be borne out by the tone of his actual posts.
    And you have the audacity to complain about me merely saying that you don’t understand a difference, and support that assertion?
    Once again you try to second guess motives, actions, that are unwarranted and unsupported by you.
    I have not talked to him about this.
    Should I?
    I am onside with him with regards the principle that an ethical person would disclose, unasked, that they have vested interests should they indeed have some.
    I am onside with him with regard there being no obligation to respond to a request to disclose whether or not one has a vested interest, at least until a standard for such consideration has been reached, and then it would be up to the person to disclose.
    I am onside with him regarding your ongoing harassment of him.
    There are aspects I am not onside with him.
    You spend too long on the former and not enough on the latter, and get both wrong.
    Again, this speaks to your wilful or otherwise failure to understand what it is you’re actually discussing.
    You have discussed the principle, yes, but not the standard you hold, and harassed Sarkus to abide by.
    You raised some examples, yes, and then ignored his response to that.
    You have not discussed those examples since, and nothing else that speaks to the standard rather than the principle.
    It is not bullshit.
    I have supported more than adequately.
    And now to this.
    This is just a fallacy of definition, a dishonest approach to appeal to a specific (in this case the literal) definition when it is clear from context the intended meaning.
    You also did it with “nonsense”.
    It is fallacious, and you do it knowingly and deliberately.
    Not wise, but worth repeating here: “People will watch how other people behave.” – James R (#94)

    Now, if you want to discuss the differences we have in the standard, rather than the principle, a distinction which you claim to understand...?
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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Time Out

    Okay, James, so, you and I have been discussing these issues, roundabout three months, now, and it's just really hard to countenance that, at this late date, you don't understand what people—i.e., observe that they are not me—are telling you about this vested-interest standard being overbroad.

    There is a basic principle, a general idea that even you appeal to: Vested interest should be noted in related discourse. This is not controversial; per Baldee↑, a "basic principle" "which noone disagrees with".

    But there is also any given particular application: What does the principle mean, on this occasion? And the answer you are receiving, from multiple directions that happen to also not be Sarkus, is that the standard you require is so overly broad and generalized as to be meaningless or dysfunctional.

    What part, these months into the discussion, are you confused about?
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    I don't think I need to respond line-by-line to the n-th repeat of the same stuff, from you.

    I will summarise, and close out this conversation.

    My position is:
    • A person has a moral duty to disclose one's vested financial interests, in circumstances where a reasonable observer would perceive that the person might have a relevant conflict of interest.
    • In the circumstance where one is asked whether one has a vested interest one should declare, it is easy for one to reply "No, I don't", in the circumstance in which one actually lacks any relevant vested interest.
    It appears that you agree with the first half of this. However, apparently you think, contrary to me, that it is both difficult and (more importantly, you would say) unnecessary for one to ever declare that one does not have a relevant vested interest , even when asked directly.

    On this second point, you and Sarkus are, apparently, in lock step agreement.

    What is the practical outcome of adopting your position on these issues? It is this: when somebody perceives that you might have a relevant conflict of interest, and asks you "Do you have a vested interest you ought to declare?", you have these options:
    1. Say "Yes, I do", and declare the relevant interest (assuming you have one).
    2. Say "No, I do not" (assuming you do not have a vested interest).
    3. Say "I refuse to answer your question! How dare you. You're a scoundrel and an idiot for asking it. Your question is nonsense. Your expectation that I would answer it is ridiculous. I don't have to tell you anything. Keep your impertinent questions to yourself."
    4. Tell a lie about your vested interest.
    Clearly, case (4) is one where you choose to act unethically. We are assuming here that we all care about acting ethically, so let's concentrate of the other three cases.

    In case (1), you will have acted ethically, to declare the relevant vested interest. The person who asked the question will be able to move forward with the relevant knowledge about your vested interest.

    In case (2), you will have acted ethically. Moreover, you will have acted like a decent human being responding to a reasonable enquiry in a polite, respectful conversation. Brownie points for both. (I might also point out here that the duty to act like a decent human being in interactions with other people has its own cloud of ethical questions and values attached, but that's another story.)

    In case (3), which I will henceforth refer to as the "Sarkus response", the outcomes are the following:
    1. The interlocutor is left without an answer. He or she simply does not know whether you have a relevant vested interest or not, and is left to speculate.
    2. The interlocutor is left wondering you would act ethically, to disclose any vested interest, if you had one.
    3. More broadly, this behaviour raises reasonable questions in the interlocutor's mind. You are inviting him or her to speculate more broadly on your trustworthiness or lack thereof.
    4. The interlocutor is left with the impression that you are a rude, defensive and belligerent man. It might be best to avoid future interactions with you.
    I take it that you, Baldeee, will choose the Sarkus response if you are ever asked this question about vested interests. This tells me something about you that I didn't know before now. I don't think it's a good look for you, but if this is how you want to present to the world, so be it.

    Okay, we're done.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2023
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I think Tiassa posted something. I will have nothing to do with that man who is so full of hate, unless he apologises for the false accusations he previously made about me.
  8. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Is there was bias that you have toward Tiassa that we need to know about?
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    You can inform yourself by reading the public threads in this forum.

    Don't be cute. And don't troll.
  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    • Please do not troll
    I can't help it if I'm cute. I'm not trolling. If you aren't trolling then neither am I. Now, run along if you can't tell us about your biases regarding Tiassa but bear in mind, it will reflect poorly on you but if that's what you want...
  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Moderator note: Seattle has been warned for trolling.

    Due to accumulated warnings, he will be taking a brief break from sciforums once again.
  12. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    I do agree with the former.
    My position on the latter is that is not difficult to answer (it is, as expressed previously, just a matter of typing on a keyboard, for example), only that there is no obligation, even when asked, to answer any question when the person being asked sees no relevancy to that question.
    It is entirely up to the person being asked whether they decide to answer what they see as an irrelevant question.
    If the person asking the question believes that the question is relevant, then they need to explain why and, more importantly, convince the person they are asking that it is reasonable (including relevant) to ask.
    It does seem from what he has said that he found the question irrelevant, and thus opted not to answer, and that you have not yet persuaded him, or others, that it is a question that a reasonable person should have to answer, yes.
    Part of the problem with your question is that we have already established, and you have agreed, that you initially assumed that the person was not sufficiently ethical to disclose a vested interest should they have one.
    It begs the question as to why you would therefore believe any response from the person after that on this matter.
    While the person answering would know if they were lying or not, the person asking would not.
    You can assume they would act ethically, but if you had done that, you would not have then asked this question.
    You are making the a priori assumption that the enquiry is reasonable.
    That is not a given.
    It is a case you have to make, and you have not made it in this instance.
    If the person you are asking also thinks that the question is reasonable, then, sure, why would they not answer the question.
    In this instance, though, your question was not considered reasonable (specifically it was considered irrelevant to the discussion), and you have not convinced Sarkus, or anyone else, that it is a question one should be obligated to answer.
    Could he have answered?
    Sure, it really isn’t difficult to do so, and people can answer any irrelevant question they like.
    That is up to them.
    But no personal slight on their character, as you have been trying to do from the outset of this thread (rather than actually discuss the matter), can be drawn from their declining you request to answer such a question.
    If you continue to misrepresent Sarkus’ responses in the manner you are then I will report you, although I am not aware of how one reports a moderator).
    You have gone beyond exaggeration into fantasy with regard the tone and content of his responses to you.
    You do it deliberately to paint him in a particularly unflattering and unreasonable light that bears little, if any, resemblance to the actual tone and content.
    I get that there is baggage between you, but you have brought all of that to this issue, and it has warped your perception of how he has responded to you.
    I am trying to have a sensible conversation on this matter, yet all you can do is play these sorts of games.
    As with any question, whether or not I answer would entirely depend on the situation in which I am asked, including consideration of the relevancy.
    If I think the question irrelevant then that is grounds alone to not answer.
    It is interesting that you judge me on your assumptions of my response rather than actually asking me the question and judging thereon.
    Frankly I don’t care whether you consider something a good look for me or not.
    I have been entirely reasonable in my responses to you, and have supported my positions.
    I am happy with that look, and that is what matters to me.
    It is similarly interesting to note that everyone else who has chipped in also found your question to be one that Sarkus had no obligation, ethically or otherwise, to answer, and his character should not be denigrated as a result.
    Especially, I might add, in such the vindictive manner you have gone about trying to.

    You could claim that, as a reasonable person, anything you ask must therefore be a reasonable question to ask and be reasonably answered.
    But when all other reasonable people who have chipped in have told you otherwise, maybe your sense of what is “reasonable” is simply not shared by anyone else.
    Strip away all the bias you have against Sarkus, all the efforts to paint him as unethical, rude, angry, “foaming at the mouth”, and all you have really said is that you think the question was reasonable to ask, and that you don’t like the fact that he has not.
    Everything else is just you, and whatever issues you have with Sarkus.
    If you say so.
  13. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

  14. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Do you think people are under obligation to answer irrelevant questions?
    If the person asking the question simply asserts that the question is relevant, do you think people are under obligation to answer?

    While it is true that noone is under obligation in mere discussion to answer any question, relevant or otherwise, the obligation I speak of, for clarity, would be the moral obligation one places upon oneself to respond honestly and in good faith should they wish to continue with the discussion.
    A relevant question would, to me, place upon the person wishing to continue with the discussion such an obligation.
    To me, an irrelevant question creates no such obligation.
    If the person being asked can genuinely not see the relevancy, to them the question is irrelevant, hence no such obligation.
    It is thus upon the person asking to explain the relevancy, and to convince the one being asked of that relevancy, if they want an answer.
    Beer w/Straw likes this.
  15. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    I think it would be on the topic of discussion.

    Like if I were Robert Oppenheimer I'd have some shit to say.
  16. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Moderator note: Seattle has pointed out that I was mistaken in implying that he has been temporarily banned from sciforums in the past.

    I am happy to be corrected on this and would like to sincerely apologise to Seattle for making that mistake.
    wegs and cluelusshusbund like this.
  17. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    More of the same from you.
    Then we are agreed.

    Time to close this thread?

    Or do you think Sarkus will want to repeat what you said, for emphasis?
  18. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

    I am proud of you... James R.!!!
  19. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Clear, consistent, logical arguments, and supported.
    It takes two to Tango, so when you stop responding our dance will be done, will it not?
    There is a perfectly good discussion to be had on when it is appropriate to disclose one's vested interest.
    The optics would also be rather wrong for the person finding themself alone on the dividing line of the debate thus far, whose position is seen by everyone else that has chipped in as being unreasonable, dysfunctional, meaningless, or nonsense, decides to take it upon themself to close the thread.
    Leave it open, and if noone adds to the discussion then let it sink naturally.
    Always about Sarkus.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    He will do what he does.
    I have no say in that, nor do I care to guess.
  20. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    One that can be had somewhere else, away from this toxic mess of a thread.

    This thread is now closed.
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