Reputation is not a commodity.
Mevaluate: Worldwide Ethics Committee
Why an ethics committee?
The main focus of the Worldwide Ethics Committee (WEC) will be to ensure that evaluations of the reputation are ethically sound. This is a technical concept, which describes the fact that the reputational score will be in accordance (consistent, to use another technical term) with a defined set of ethical principles and rights. In doing so, the WEC will ensure the ethical value of the provided score and also its global validity.
The Code of Universal Reputation, points 10 and 11, states that “Deeds, omissions and significant behaviors of natural and legal persons positively[/negatively] affect their reputation if they provide physical, social, cultural or economic advantage for one or more subjects”. This is quite uncontroversial. However, it unveils the problem at stake, as it is indeed difficult to assess when an action should impact one’s reputation positively or negatively. For such a judgment cannot prescind from the context in which the action has been performed. In this respect, legal criteria, while being important and necessary, may not be sufficient.
Consider for example the case of Oskar Schindler. Very famously, during World War II the German entrepreneur bribed several members of the Nazi administration in order to hire and save the life of Jewish people. Under Nazi laws, Schindler was committing illegal actions. However, from an ethical point of view his behaviour is to be prized, not blamed. If Schindler were a member of the Mevaluate community, his actions would be considered positively in assessing his reputation, albeit being illegal under the laws regulating his country at the time.
That task of WEC will be to ensure that the values attributed to individuals’ actions although grounded on their legality will also take into account the socio, political and cultural context in which they are performed. In doing so, WEC will be guided by Mevaluate Code of Universal Reputation. Especially points 10–17.
Following the Code, the social, political and cultural values of each country will be checked against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with the purpose of normalizing the ‘weights’ associated to different actions in different countries. So that, for example, being sentenced to a 5-year enforced reclusion for having evaded taxes in a country dominated by a corrupt dictatorship, where such an action is a way to deny support to the local government, will not be considered as negative as being jailed for the same amount of time for having evaded taxes in a democratic liberal country.
The task of the WEC will be twofold:
(i) to define a commentary for each country to allow an interpretation of the rating while keeping in mind the social, political and cultural scenario of the given country;
(ii) to provide a set of principles to normalize the ‘weights’ attributed to different actions across different scenarios.
To achieve tasks (i) and (ii) WEC will endorse a ‘tree structure’ and will be constituted by five members and a secretary. The secretary will coordinate and supervise the work of the committee. The members will be appointed so to cover expertise in ethics and human rights as well as familiarity with the social, political and cultural context of different regions of the world. Each member will be a regional representative and will nominate up to three collaborators, whose appointments will be ratified by the WEC pending the approval of the secretary.
A division of the world by cultural regions is being proposed, so that the regional representatives will cover North America and Australia, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. While each regional representative should have enough competence and expertise to assess the conditions of the different countries in the given region, the appointed collaborators will have to have more in-depth expertise of specific countries.
The committee should be appointed for two (renewable) years. Its work will be constant, as once the commentaries for the relevant countries and the principles have been defined, regular updates will be necessary.
Code of Universal Reputation
Worldwide Ethics Committee
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