• Final Mile

Impracticality of Ethics

Blatter winning the elections once again and that too as easily as he did does bring into discussion the diminishing role of ethics in social decision making. Most federations voting for him highlight the practicality of this decision while at the same time recognising the moral/ ethical dilemma. The support (favour) that Asian and African football has received and will continue to receive under Blatter makes for a practical enough reason to overlook ethics. And that’s what happened. Ethics would have been just too costly. 

Prisoners dilemma as a model for understanding social decision making lays emphasis on cooperation and defection rather than ethicality. So prisoners, respective of their crime, are now evaluated on a new dimension of ethics – one of cooperation or defection. Resultantly most players in the FIFA elections chose to cooperate rather than defect, irrespective whether the ethical question of Blatter’s responsibility in the many frauds is answered or not.

At times though ethics serve as a great alibi for defection and grand standing, at the core of it, it’s still practicality that weighs more. In FIFA elections the stance of Europe and America does come across as grandstanding against the lack of ethics in FIFA’s dealings over the last decade. Could it possibly be due to the success of Qatar’s and Russia’s bid which jeopardised european leagues due to the timing of world cup in Qatar and so on.

And beyond this support is Blatter’s own stance, which loosely translates into  – even if I am responsible for the situation, I am still the best person to deal with it and put things straight. 

Which may not be as incorrect as it may sound in the first instance. 

Politics is full of situations that depict the impracticality of ethical behavior. 

Kant argued that “all politics must bend its knee before right” which meant that “right must never be accommodated to politics, but politics must always be accommodated to right”. But this purist stance has has often been branded unrealistic and impractical.

Recently The Economist carried an article which depicts the economics of bluffing. Drawing an analogy of Greece and UK’s stance on Euro Exit with buying ‘options’ in market. Where the bluff is positioned to draw inducement, with little intent of really exiting the euro. 

Over Promise and Under Delivery is rampant in Politics across the world. And even though it may sound unethical, it possibly is the only route. Be it about eradication of Poverty, Universal health& education, Job creation, bringing back Black Money, wiping out Corruption, reducing Crime, a measured promise would not yield spectacular electoral results. Case in point is Indian general elections held in May 2014. 

It just seems better to over promise and then go about your business with the right intent, even if it comes across as unethical to a few. Like it or not, its just so much more practical. Winning an election on pragmatic promises isn’t that pragmatic. 

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