WEO Weekly: Gratitude as an Ethical Practice

by | Nov 20, 2023

With Thanksgiving coming up in the US, we examine how gratitude can serve as a catalyst for moral development and responsible conduct. At its core, gratitude involves acknowledging the kindness, generosity, or goodwill of others, creating a reciprocal bond that transcends individual actions.

When we cultivate gratitude, we inherently recognize the interconnectedness of human experiences. This awareness fosters empathy, a cornerstone of ethical decision-making. Grateful individuals are more likely to consider the impact of their actions on others, promoting a sense of social responsibility. Moreover, expressing gratitude reinforces positive behavior, encouraging ethical conduct by reinforcing the value of benevolence and cooperation.

In ethical frameworks, gratitude can act as a counterbalance to entitlement and selfishness. A grateful mindset emphasizes the importance of recognizing and reciprocating the contributions of others, discouraging actions that exploit or harm. Gratitude instills a sense of humility, reminding individuals of their dependence on the support and goodwill of the community.

Gratitude and ethics are intertwined, each reinforcing the principles of the other. As individuals embrace gratitude, they not only enhance their own ethical compass but also contribute to the creation of a more compassionate and just society. The acknowledgment of interconnectedness and reciprocal kindness serves as a foundation for ethical behavior, fostering a harmonious coexistence that transcends self-interest.

Ethics and Religion Talk: What is Your Daily Practice of Thanksgiving?
One of the WEO’s core pillars is Interfaith, and The Rapidian’s “Ethics and Religion Talk” answers questions of ethics or religion from a multi-faith perspective. In this piece, gratitude is explored by various religious leaders. Pastor Salvatore Sapienza emphasizes the transformative power of gratitude, citing the 13th-century mystic Meister Eckhart. Fred Stella, a Hindu Outreach Minister, incorporates gratitude into his daily meditation, counting blessings like physical health and personal relationships. Linda Knieriemen, a retired Presbyterian pastor, weaves thankfulness into challenging situations, turning dental procedures and pet care into opportunities for appreciation. Reverend Colleen Squires, a Unitarian Universalist minister, advocates reflecting on daily interactions and expressing gratitude, a practice she has maintained for over 40 years. Rev. Sandra Nikkel and Rev. Ray Lanning emphasize the biblical perspective, with Nikkel highlighting the importance of gratitude in all circumstances, echoing the apostle Paul. These diverse perspectives converge on the idea that gratitude is not merely a sentiment but a transformative practice integral to spiritual well-being and ethical living.

In Greek Journalism, Ethics Rules are Frequently Ignored
In Greece, a pervasive issue of journalists holding side jobs in the institutions they cover has raised concerns about conflicts of interest and ethical violations. The intertwining of relationships between journalists, politicians, and business figures has become normalized, leading to compromised journalistic integrity. Low salaries, exacerbated by over a decade of economic crisis, force many journalists to seek additional employment in government ministries or elsewhere, creating dependencies and potential bias. Despite the existence of a code of journalistic ethics, its observance is inconsistent, with media outlets differing in their commitment. The crisis in credibility extends to the blurred lines between news and opinion, exacerbated by journalists’ involvement in family relationships with high-ranking individuals. The need for ethical reforms and effective implementation is underscored, acknowledging the complex web of responsibility involving media outlets, unions, authorities, and journalists themselves.

Junior lawyers want the right to refuse work on ethical grounds
A report by Obelisk Support reveals that junior lawyers desire the right to reject work on ethical grounds, but only 18% of surveyed lawyers state that their employers allow such choices. Nearly two-thirds believe firms should permit refusals for ethical reasons, and over half feel comfortable challenging management on ethical matters. The report suggests a pushback against the use of profit per equity partner (PEP) as a success metric in law firms, proposing a shift to prioritize “people, environment, and purpose.” It emphasizes the importance of organizational values, diversity initiatives, and environmental considerations for legal sector attractiveness. The report also discusses changing generational attitudes toward client duties and the perception that legal professionals are not consistently focused on public welfare.

“Made in America” Never Meant More Ethical
The Fashioning Accountability and Building Real Institutional Change (FABRIC) Act is proposed federal legislation aiming to protect approximately 100,000 garment workers across the United States. Introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Carolyn Maloney, the act seeks to eliminate the piecework system, ensuring that every garment worker receives at least the minimum wage. It establishes national liability for wage theft, holding manufacturers, subcontractors, and brands accountable. Additionally, the FABRIC Act mandates registration with the Department of Labor to prevent businesses from evading consequences through rebranding. The proposed legislation includes a multimillion-dollar grant program to support ethical manufacturing job growth.

George Santos announces he won’t seek reelection following damning Ethics Committee report
Republican Rep. George Santos will not seek reelection following the House Ethics Committee’s report, which found “substantial evidence” that he used campaign funds for personal purposes. The report revealed additional “uncharged and unlawful conduct,” prompting the committee to refer the allegations to the Justice Department. Santos, facing federal charges, including fraud related to Covid-19 unemployment benefits, misusing campaign funds, and lying on disclosure reports, denounced the investigation as biased. The committee concluded Santos engaged in “knowing and willful violations” and “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.” Santos, facing expulsion efforts, defended himself.