Chapter 7 by Daryl Koehn discusses the evolving nature of the Maker Movement and analyzes its ethical underpinnings. Because the Maker Movement is relatively new, it is difficult to state with any certainty what will ultimately prove to be ethically good or ethically worrisome about it. However, precisely because the movement is in its early stages, now is a good time to take stock so that those in the movement can be encouraged to become ever more mindful about the ethical issues that may arise as the Maker Movement gathers momentum.
Today the behavior of political and business leaders is often viewed with suspicion, if not dismay. The #MeToo movement and the periodic groundswell to impeach President Trump reveal a popular impulse to hold famous figures and those in power responsible for their speech and deeds. However, defining what exactly we mean by responsibility is not easy. Its precise meaning, the ways in which it differs from accountability and liability, and its deep connections to self-reflection and to various virtues are all aspects that deserve attention. While intriguing, these large topics lie beyond the scope of this short chapter. The author focuses in this chapter on a narrower aspect of what the public has historically taken to be involved in responsible leadership – namely, the making of ethically sound apologies. A good apology is a speech act in which the apologizer seeks to rebuild trust by taking responsibility for a past deed committed either by the apologizer (personal), by the apologizer’s institution (corporate), or by the apologizer’s country (collective). The author argues that theorists and citizens alike have failed to pay sufficient attention to differences among apologies. One of the significant dangers associated with demanding responsibility from others is the possibility that the accusers make one or more serious category mistakes, demanding a type of responsibility that is not appropriate.
Some scholars and politicians have suggested that Eastern and Western cultures are irreconcilably different and that their members engage in fundamentally incommensurable ethical practices. This chapter shows that differing cultures do not necessarily operate on radically different moral principles. On the contrary, if we adopt a virtue ethics perspective, we discover that Western and at least some non-Western cultures have historically shared and operated with a remarkably similar view of ethics. This similarity is apparent in how the Western philosopher Aristotle and the Eastern thinker Confucius evaluate the potential goodness of business people’s commercial activity.