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stanleybmanly's avatar

Is it ethical to profit from the gullibility of people?

Asked by stanleybmanly (23354points) 1 month ago from iPhone

God knows, it is certainly legal and apparently the smart thing to do.

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24 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Ethical – that’s questionable. There isn’t one single answer, because it’s based on the morality of the preying.

Legal, absolutely. Politicians have gained huge power that way. Just look a Trump.

And corporations have profited for a 150 years on the gullibility of the masses.

And let’s not even start on religion, whose entire power structure and raison d’etre is based on selling people lies and hoodwinking them.

Which raises a different question: can religion, which is supposed to give guidance for ethical conduct, do unethical things?

Jeruba's avatar

It’s never been right, but it’s always been done.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Must be the Rep/cons have been doing it like forever.

Jeruba's avatar

It was done in the Middle Ages. It was done in Biblical times. It was probably done in the Stone Age. The Republicans may have done a lot of questionable things (and they aren’t alone in that), but they didn’t invent taking advantage of misplaced credulity.

filmfann's avatar

Q: Is it ethical to profit from the gullibility of people?

A: Absolutely not! For more tips on such questions, send $25 to @filmfann !

KNOWITALL's avatar

Ethics are unfortunately not standardized.

Could I drive my Ferrari every day and enjoy it knowing I hurt or took advantage of someone to get it? No.

ragingloli's avatar

No, but that has never stopped anybody.
That is what all advertisement is, and have you ever wondered why there is so much candy at the supermarket’s checkout lanes?

LostInParadise's avatar

It is tempting to give a blanket no, but what about professional astrologers? If someone feels comforted in believing that they are communicating with the dearly departed, is that wrong?

ragingloli's avatar

@LostInParadise
You could make the same argument in defence of a scammer pretending to be someone’s grandson, while he empties her bank account.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@LostInParadise To me that’s more entertainment than a scam. Like gambling.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Only if both sides are concenting adults. That both sides agree with the rules.

YARNLADY's avatar

No. The golden rule applies. If everyone followed this one simple rule the world would be a better place.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I totally agree @YARNLADY problem is most people are ruled by greed and that aint going to change any time soon.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Actually @YARNLADY, all businesses would go under.

stanleybmanly's avatar

But that is the way the system is designed. “Success” is not gauged by whether you are decent or play fair. Indeed, the greatest handicap to any prospect of “success” is probably a conscience.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@stanley Isn’t that the truth!!

doyendroll's avatar

Gullibility has nothing to do with ethics or profits, necessarily.

Is profit ethical?

When do profits become unethical?

How low do profits need to be to remain ethical?

If you set a low price to thwart all competition is that ethical?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@doyendroll Well we could make annual raises mandatory. Many corporations stopped those and 401k contributions.
Not to mention massive RIF’s. All for stockholders and fat cats.

Dutchess_III's avatar

In order to make annual raises somebody has to be making a profit. Is that unethical?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Profit is fine. But there is a great deal of profit in pyramid schemes or scam cures for horrid diseases . Both I and the CEO of the bank financing my factory profit to the tune of our 3 mansions apiece, while our employees persist on food stamps. After all, we don’t force our workers to slave for their slave wages. They’re free to quit and go elsewhere. I’m successful. That’s all that matters.

Dutchess_III's avatar

When I got the shop I started out pricing parts according to industry standards….20% over cost.
Well, we just weren’t making it. I slowly raised prices until customers squeaked. I ended up selling double our cost. We finally started squeaking by.
Was that unethical?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

We have a saying. “A fool and his money are soon parted”.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

I don’t know about business, but as far as politics Republicans do it all the time. And damn the ethics.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@stanley Exactly.

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