The Film The Informant depicts several ethical dilemmas and issues. Central to the film is the issue of competing loyalties. Any individual in a society may have relationships with several other individuals or institutions in the society and each relationship has its own demands. Sometimes these demands come into conflict with one another and the individual has to choose one demand over another. To choose the demands of one relationship over another, individuals may ascribe to an ethical code of conduct or their response may be based on mercenary considerations.
One of the competing demands depicted in the film is the loyalty demanded by members of the family as compared to the loyalty demanded by the state. The criminal laws of nations often oblige citizens to report any crimes they witness, on the other hand family ties are considered sacred by all human societies. In an event where an individual finds out that a family member is committing a crime, should they be willing to report the crime to the authorities if it would result in the conviction and punishment of a member of their family?
Many people are amoral familists; their loyalty to members of their family is paramount and supersedes any concerns over good and evil. This sort of attitude is responsible for many ills in the society, for example it results in government officials misusing their authority to grant jobs or contracts to members of their family over more qualified applicants.
Another conflicting demand depicted in the film is the demands of an individual’s greed and desire for wealth as compared to the demands of loyalty from the society that they live in. Many people prefer to gratify their personal greed and lust even when it causes harm to the whole society. An example of this sort of behaviour is in the establishment of cartels, monopolies and other price fixing devices, these devices result in an unequal distribution of wealth in the society, with the rich growing ever richer and the poor sinking deeper and deeper into poverty and debt.
Another conflicting demand faced by an individual is the demands of loyalty commanded by their employers as compared to the demand of loyalty commanded by the community. Many people go along with their employers immoral schemes despite their knowledge that such schemes result in harm to the whole community. Enron employees, for example, went along with their firm’s accounting fraud scheme to hide their losses, eventually causing investors losses of millions of dollars.
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