The following is an excerpt from a memo written by the head of a governmental department. Neither stronger ethics regulations nor stronger enforcement mechanisms are necessary to ensure ethical behavior by companies doing business with this department. We already have a code of ethics that companies doing business with this department are urged to abide by, and virtually all of these companies have agreed to follow it. We also know that the code is relevant to the current business environment because it was approved within the last year, and in direct response to specific violations committed by companies with which we were then workingnot in abstract anticipation of potential violations, as so many such codes are. Discuss how well reasoned... etc.
In this argument, the head of a government department concludes that the department does not need to strengthen either its ethics regulations or its enforcement mechanisms in order to encourage ethical behavior by companies with which it does business. The first reason given is that businesses have agreed to follow the departments existing code of ethics. The second reason is that the existing code is relevant to the current business environment. This argument is unacceptable for several reasons.