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One of the questions in my ethics class which really upset a few of my classmates was about tainted money. Here's the gist of it. Let's say you worked at a restaurant and were paid really well to be the person who stands at the front desk. You get to buy jewelry and nice dinners out and so on. You even get a nice $10k bonus. But then you find out that there's a teen-kid-brothel in the basement and the reason you're being paid so well is that there's extra money from the abuse of these young girls.

Would you keep that bonus figuring "heck, you earned it, and money is money," or would you think the money was tainted and want to donate it to charity or something, maybe a teen-girl-helping charity?

Lisa


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Keeping strictly ethics in mind, I'd quit and return the money and run for my life. Keeping my morality and legalistics in mind, I'd call the cops and offer either stay to inform or run like a bat outta he double hockey sticks smile

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LOL Sara I think I agree with you on the running away part smile

There were some students in the class who were literally upset that anyone could think money could be tainted. They thought it was incredibly stupid to feel that way. They thought all money was money and if they were given any money it was theirs to spend, period.

I wonder if maybe this is a cultural thing, that some families bring their kids up to grab and keep any money they can? The students in question seem to be in the US but they might come from a different cultural background.

I do certainly know people who are *frugal* - but they still care about where the money comes from. For example, my dad has a life insurance policy out on my brother because my brother has $40,000 in student loans that my dad signed for. If my brother dies the life insurance will cover the loans. The life insurance company was trying to force my dad to take out $200,000 in a policy. My dad was upset by this, because he didn't want to be profiting if his son died. That would have upset him greatly. He just wanted the loan covered and nothing else. So he worked hard to make sure the amount was just for the loan. To him that money would have been tainted and it would have upset him to have it and to spend it on himself.


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I also think money is money.

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That is interesting, so you can help me understand this better!

So in the restaurant scenario, you would have been content to keep and spend the money?


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See my other post - i think i answered this in detail. smile

It really does upset me to discuss what I myself would do. I am too big and complicated a puzzle. I am boundless. I am infinite. Much better to talk about what i think someone else might do.

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Good to know, thank you!


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I'm still curious and maybe we can talk about this as a third person situation!

Let's say the Dalai Lama is approached by a man who wants to give him a personal gift of $10,000. The Dalai Lama is then informed by his advisors that this man runs a child trafficking ring and that this money is money he earned through the sales of those young girls.

Would it seem reasonable for the Dalai Lama not to want to keep that money himself to spend on himself - and instead donate to a support home that helps girls get off the street and find a new path in life? What would your thoughts on this third party situation be?

If you don't want to talk about it even in the third person that's fine too, I am trying to learn things but do not want to upset people as I do.


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I think the Lama is an extreme example. He is an enlightened being. Also, i think there are Buddhist rules for such things and having a 'handbook' is always going to be useful in daily life situations.

Let's take this more real. Ok, let's use House. He'd keep the money and find something important to him to do with it, whatever that may be. If charity is important to him, then he will put it there. He'd probably never let anyone know it. Also, as a specialized doctor, he is far from broke.

But he also might take Wilson and himself to the Caribbean for a week of hedonistic gallivanting.



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I had used the Dalai Lama to give a starting point to work with that is high - but if you feel he is bound by rules and therefore an invalid example let us choose a thoroughly Buddhist layperson who has no rules binding him. He simply chooses to live his life by general Buddhist philosophies and is serious about that attempt.

Would it seem reasonable if he chose to give the money over to charity?

I know many fairly poor people who deliberately choose to tithe 10% or more of their income to what they feel is a good cause, so I am not sure that income level factors heavily into this. But we can make him a man with little in his bank account and a break-even income, to ponder the possibilities.

Again I realize there is never any right or wrong. Ethics is not about absolutes. It is simply about possibilities. And again if it's upsetting to even talk about possibilities then it's OK to not do it (or to let someone else take up the conversation who doesn't mind doing it).


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