The problems of ethics within the context of money

Suppose you are in a impoverished country and you are stopped by a policeman and asked for your papers. You know very well that it could take hours – days – for them to be “checked”. You also know that the police are so poorly paid that unless they are “bribed” they will not have even a modest income. There is an accepted concept in that country that part of the police income is from “bribes”. Should one lower ones own moral concepts and pay the “bribe”? Or wait. And wait. And wait..

Or one is in a country in which the purchase of a property (until a few years ago this was the case in Spain) when half the transfer costs were made in undisclosed cash? That was so that tax was paid only on the funds going through the bank. But the tax rate was based on the assumption that tax on only half of the true purchase price would be paid. Should one be “honest” so that the tax the government receives is double what it expects?

One works for a manufacturer which produces goods made (possibly slightly cheaper) with a built-in obsolescence. Should one try to make the company produce goods with greater longevity, even though such goods might prove to have an uncompetitive selling price – and there be less work for the company in future years as less replacements will be required?

Or a government – largely for political reasons – passes over the setting of interest rates to central banks. But the central bank controllers are not concerned with the fact that hiking interest rates is to the detriment of the poor versus the better-off.

These are some of the quandaries which are considered on this site.