Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving, Ethics and Donald Trump

It is Thanksgiving and in theory a time for reflection and giving thanks. But, this is 2005 and we get two hours of Donald Trump.

In the second hour of the Apprentice we are treated to a moral lesson. Take advantage of your opponents, ignore your likelihood of repeated interactions with them, lie to vendors, and go on to prosper.

One of Donald's "teams" (one has to use the word loosely -- at this stage of the Apprentice the team is more a marriage of convenience by two sworn enemies) discovers a key supplier to the other team. Armed with this knowledge they swoop in, lie about their identity, and procure all of a vital supply.

The Donald's reaction "I think it is great."

Ah yes in a winner-take-all world the correct moral lesson on Thanksgiving day is not "remember how one plays is as important as winning -- especially in a networked world with repeated interactions," but rather "lie, cheat, steal -- winning is not everything it is the only thing."

Thus the very idea that the Indians helped the Pilgrims -- well... how stupid of the Indians. Thanksgiving according to the Donald logic is a celebration of the lambs being set up to be slaughtered.

Compare and contrast this with the "it does not need to be this way" commentary on Trump's own blog in a post entitled "Corporate Corruption: If You Have to Lie, Cheat, and Steal, You're Just Not Doing it Right"

I find all this rather repugnant but reflective of the society in which we live.

And people buy apartments from this man .....

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2 Comments:

At 7:21 AM, Blogger jordan_wildpirate said...

Thank you for the comment.

As entertaining as the episode was, I think it was a very disconcerting view into today's state of business. The whole show in fact is a very disconcerting view into today's business world.

Apprentice-esque business methods are being imbued with reality television gossip, alliances and back-stabbing. Unfortunately when business and entertainment are merged in a context like this, I don't think that ethics are sexy enough to make their way into the equation. Capital Edge should have known that their megaphone order could potentially be stolen, and Excel should have known better than to do it. However being in Trump's TV microcosom, anything goes - and this message that "anything goes" is the message that us young entrepreneurs and students are taking away from this show.

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At 5:53 PM, Blogger Matt Moore said...

Don't be such a wuss, Lissack- Everyone knows that ethics are for losers.

*Ahem*

I find The Apprentice an interesting mix of the useful and the horrendous:

1. The Useful - learn the importance of good project management, leadership, customer focus and listening.

2. The Horrendous - the world is a zero-sum game where only one person wins and everyone else fails. So never take responsibility for anything and keep those knives sharpened for other's backs.

And on the oxymoronic subject of Trumpian ethics - dig this quote:

"wasn't the alleged corruption, but the lack of taste"

Odd that a man who wears a racoon on his head has worries about taste, but I think Don's message here is simple: "Do what you like but don't do anything as tasteless as getting caught"

 

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