Ethical relativism is a tendency of making choices on the basis of what seems reasonable or right as far as one’s own beliefs are concerned. Different groups of individuals in the society have distinct ethical standards for determining right and wrong (Gilbert and Judith, 1996). The distinct beliefs are true in their relevant society. In addition, the different beliefs cannot be considered as moral basic principles. Ethical relativists do not lack support for their position. This is because they confuse cultural relativism with ethical relativism. Although one seems as a description of the other, cultural relativism gives a description of people’s behavior while ethical relativism prescribes the manner in which they should behave. Sterling, (1996) argues that ethical standards have never need proven beyond reasonable doubt in the history of thought. Therefore, ethical standards do not exist.
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My major concern is on how ethical relativism has prevailed as far as corruption is concerned. Specifically, I chose to deal with favoritism. This is an act of partiality towards a favored group or person at the expense of a neglected group or person. It is a state of receiving a special favor. Favoritism can be can be demonstrated in supply chain, distribution, nepotism, prejudice or discrimination. Different professional may apply for a job, but fail to succeed due to instances of nepotism. Some business persons may be awarded tenders out of favoritism. Promotions at workplaces may be prejudice-oriented. Moreover, distribution of resources in a specific society may be biased due to instances of nepotism, prejudice and discrimination. The parties involved in favoritism do what they perceive as right. The group or person receiving the favor does not see anything wrong with it. However, the groups neglected or discriminated are left unhappy.
Favoritism is a normal behavior. The individual who offer favors does it out of his/her own will (Asma, 2012). He/she is not compelled to give favors otherwise it would be termed as harassment. On the basis of ethical relativism, favoritism is right. This is because the opinion of individuals involved in is positive. On the other hand, favoritism is perceived as care and concern of one’s close relations. For instance, involving nepotism in job allocation is perceived as concern for one’s kinsmen. Also, giving tender to a long time friend regardless of their qualifications may either be a return of favor or a duty of care for friendship’s sake. Therefore, this is a normal behavior for the parties involved.
The fact that favoritism is perceived as a normal behavior, it becomes a good behavior. This is as far as ethical relativism is concerned. The act is right since the community involved perceives it as so. If majority of people consider a certain behavior as right, it automatically becomes normal and never considered as corrupt. There is nothing like simple majority rule as far as America is concerned. This is because the country is made up of states each with a different culture. Also, there are sub-cultures that influence the majority rule.
Ethical relativism is categorical in determining right and wrong behavior. The right and wrong depends on what the society involved considers right or wrong. Some forms of favoritism such as nepotism and prejudice involve a section of the society. This means that the neglected groups or individuals are members of the same society. If ethical relativism was to be considered, favoritism becomes wrong. It is supported by the beneficiaries and rejected by the ones foregone. Therefore, favoritism should be considered wrong and unethical. Ethical relativism is a logical and functional method of preventing favoritism. This is because equality in a given society is critical. Moreover, an action that attracts both positive and negative perceptions is not morally acceptable.