Segments in this Video

Yuppie Version of Success (02:52)


As Michael Josephson watched his son grow up he began to think less about the letter of the law and more about the spirit of it. He founded the Josephson Institute for the Advancement of Ethics.

Corruption of Ideals in America (02:40)

Michael Josephson says a self-righteous focus on the need to win has shifted the country's moral base. Formal studies have suggested that moral instruction doesn't have much effect on ethical behavior.

Ethical Expectations (01:59)

Michael Josephson believes people can be trained to be ethical. How a person reacts to a specific situation is determined by how they prioritize values. Some people believe that if something is legal that makes it ethical.

Universal Ethics Values (01:40)

Michael Josephson didn't learn ethics in law school. Enlightened civilizations have all had a sense of right and wrong. Compassion, honesty, fairness and accountability are shared ethics. Religious and secular morals are historically the same.

Personal Versus Professional Ethics (02:33)

Michael Josephson explains how having a child changed his views on ethics. Teaching ethics in law school was not a values-based enterprise. If professionals were more thoughtful than competitive, people's behavior would change.

Shades of Ethical Judgement (01:51)

Michael Josephson explains the two levels in ethical decision making. There is no absolutely right answer when choosing between two ethical values. Rationalization allows for self interest above moral behavior.

Value of Ethics (02:22)

Gangs and politics are examples of subcultures that operate by different ethics than mainstream society. The implication that a person will get everything they want by being ethical is wrong. The Golden Rule promotes a positive society.

Subculture Value Systems (02:29)

Some people cannot be expected to be as ethical as others because of their backgrounds. It is the responsibility of those who can, to make things more fair by addressing systemic issues. Honesty comes from caring and generosity.

Lying Denies Autonomy (01:21)

Politician Olive North became a heroic figure despite his unethical behavior. Michael Josephson says this may be because of his noble motives. North's ethical transgression was that he violated the law in order to impose his views on others.

Hypocrisy in Government (02:07)

Congress exempted itself from the Ethics Act of 1978, which Michael Josephson calls extended rules of bribery that set a minimal standards of conduct. Constituents are voting based on self interest and politicians need money to buy votes.

Movement for Ethics in America (02:24)

Laws should be written to establish minimal consensus standards. In addition there must to be people backing it up that support the ethical society the law was meant to promote. An ethical person uses judgment, self-restraint and conscience.

Credits: Winning, Greed, and Self-Interest: Michael Josephson (00:19)

Credits: Winning, Greed, and Self-Interest: Michael Josephson

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Winning, Greed, and Self-Interest: Michael Josephson

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Fatherhood changed everything for Michael Josephson. He taught law school for 20 years in Los Angeles and ran a successful business, but as he watched his son grow up, he began to think less about the letter of the law and more about the spirit of it. He then moved on to found the Josephson Institute for the Advancement of Ethics. In this program with Bill Moyers, Josephson discusses the lack of ethical standards in our society and the philosophy of winning, greed, and self-interest. Acting ethically, he says, is easier said than done, but it’s the only way to make a world fit for our children. (30 minutes)

Length: 25 minutes

Item#: BVL4957

ISBN: 978-1-4213-5196-4

Copyright date: ©1988

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.