1. Why does Mills make the argument that it is critical for society to have a sociological imagination?
He argues that the sociological imagination is crucial not only for individuals, but also for groups, to use when making decisions. Throughout the article, he explains that if people act with this kind of consideration, they will be able to operate in a more understanding manner. By doing this, it not only makes society better, but it would create a cohesiveness of decision making for both one’s personal and business life. Mills continues that society needs the sociological imagination in order to think carefully – using the information to act in a way that is significant or sometimes insignificant to them. Mills suggests that motives of one’s behavior wouldn’t be questioned since the thought process could by the society that used this method of thinking.
2. What did Standard and Poor and Moody do to contribute to the financial crisis of 2008?
Listed above are the two largest rating companies that helped contribute to the recession. Their purpose was to rate the riskiness of securities, and especially mortgages. Although the questions asks, “what did” they do, the question should be asked in terms of “what didn’t they do?”
The businesses continued rating mortgages on the highest possible levels, which in fact in some cases, have been disqualified. The problems were that the companies did not foresee a decline in the housing market, and therefore failed in their responsibilities. The system in which they were giving these ratings was thoroughly defective. The companies were giving high ratings, not because the people deserved them, but in order to be hired by the agencies that were giving these ratings. This in turn ensured more happy customers, and therefore created a higher paycheck for Standard and Poor and Moody. By failing to give appropriate ratings, high-risk investments were made because of a falsely high rating.
3. Should large businesses leaders be obligated to make sure that their company is run in an ethical manner?
“Ethical” is a loose term, for the definition can vary depending on who is answering the question. If we reflect on the sociological imagination that Mills discusses, there is an explanation of ethical reasoning outlined that business leaders should use. By utilizing the imagination, there will always be a simplistic or creative solution that is likely to end with a positive outcome – not only for oneself, but also for the community involved. Although events cannot be changed, it is the reaction and adaptation to these occurrences that define the nature and ethical practices of a business.
The company Barclays was involved in a scandal in which they were being accused of rigging interest rates. After months of a quiet lull, Anthony Jenkins came out publically to publically uphold the five values most cherished by the company: respect, integrity, service, excellence and stewardship. He also states that he doesn’t “want to do it for public relations…it is simply how [he] will run Barclays. Yes, this announcement was made after a scandal, but it simply amplifies the point that leaders should make sure that the company is run in an ethical way. Not only will they have to out and apologize to the public, but will have to take the time to restructure the way the company runs; meaning time wasted. Leaders do have the obligation to enforce ethical practices, for it is the only way to ensure self-preservation from a shaming community.