An immoral act is one that transgresses or corrupts established rules or principles of propriety, while unethical describes actions that are not in conformity with the approved codes of personal, business or professional ethics (Boatright, 2009). These differ from illegal acts, which break enacted laws against such acts. On the part of the students, this is immoral, unethical and illegal, but Ed Dante’s role is only unethical and immoral. There is no evidence that Dante is breaking any laws in the United States and further even if he did, the laws change by jurisdiction, since nobody knows where he or his clients are, his actions are perfectly legal (Gibsons, 2007). Whether or not what Ed Dante does is immoral or unethical is dependent on one important aspect i.e. whether or not the students pass on the papers produced by him as their own, and receive credit for it. If the students receive help from Dante’s assistance without submitting them as their own, then this is perfectly legitimate for several reasons. To begin with, it is clear from the discussion that there are struggling students, and these services fill the gap, and this is effectively no different from model answers and tutorials that students receive at home, in college and many reading materials (Dooley & Kerch., 2000). What happens is to the contrary, because students are cheating, which is in clear violation of the plagiarism laws and ethical codes of their institutions. The outrage in the discussion evidences the fact that his services arise from, or cause moral corruption, by allowing students to undermine established laws, and which yields incompetent professionals. The ethical codes by multiple learning institutions forbid cheating and plagiarism, and the actions of both the student and Ed Dante are in clear violation of these ethical codes, which makes their actions unethical (Dooley & Kerch., 2000).
Solving this problem will take measures at several different levels, which have contributed to the emergence of demand for Ed Dante’s services, while at once cutting off supply. To begin with, the regulatory authorities that are responsible for licensing of learning institutions must set the minimum carrying capacities of the institutions, including student to teacher ratio and the minimum payments for the teachers in order to keep them motivated to assist students (Dante, 2010). In addition, the learning institutions must introduce more proactive measures to catch cheats. This would be through increased cooperation between administrators and the teachers/lecturers on suspected cases of cheating, coupled with the provision of legal immunity to teachers to avoid possible direct litigation levelled against them by the aggrieved students. This may be accomplished by legislation, or through institutional arrangements, where the colleges and schools assume responsibility in the event their instructors are sued. In addition, in return for this instructors must be required by colleges and by law, to provide assistance to students, and closely monitor the progress of their students in order to make easier to identify irregular increases in performance among the students (Gibsons, 2007).
Further, since it is evident that these services do exist, it is necessary to create a formal legal framework to deal with them, since at present, there are no clear laws against such practices. With legislation, law enforcement agencies should require forensic examination of the student’s internet history, email hacking and access to plagiarism reports from Turnitin among others to allow the establishment of the truth as to whether cheating occurred or otherwise (APA, 2010). The privacy considerations must be waived in cases where suspected students are subject to investigations relating to possible cheating using Dante and other similar services.
This is against the university laws, and Ed Dante is merely an accomplice who may be offering a legal service, but this business and the demand for its services is indeed a clear demonstration of capitalism at its worst. According to Adam Smith’s conception of capitalism, an invisible hand exists, which drives economic agents towards promoting the interests of the entire economy. The existence of demand in an economy inspires economic agents to seek to meet that demand, which ultimately serve the economy (Dooley & Kerch., 2000). These agents’ desire to serve their own interest are facilitated by the existence of the market mechanism, where willing buyers and sellers, freely interact to exchange goods and services. This system has two major flaws, which cause the breakdown of the market mechanism, namely (i) existence of externalities and (ii) the production of economic bads (harmful goods such as drugs, exam cheating etc). This flaws result in a break of the capitalist system, by which the free play of economic forces ends up harming the economy. There is an illegal demand for such services, and the Ed Dante earns a living meeting an illegal demand, which makes it both immoral and unethical, while the students’ actions are immoral, illegal and unethical since they break existing institution laws (Boatright, 2009). The free market has hugely facilitated the emergence of supply for illegal services and goods such as drugs and “Dante’s services”, which exploit the failings of an economic system, to the detriment of the entire system.
APA. (2010, October 17). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Retrieved Dec 10, 2011, from APA: http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx
Boatright, J. (2009). Ethics and the conduct of business. New Jersey: Pearson Education International.
Dante, E. (2010, Nov 12). THe Shadow Scholar. Retrieved Sept 2, 2012, from www.chrinicle.com: http://chronicle.com/article/The-Shadow-Scholar/125329/
Dooley, J. j., & Kerch., H. M. (2000). Evolving research misconduct policies and their significance for physical scientists. Sci Eng Ethics , 6(1):109-21.
Gibsons, K. (2007). Ethics and Business: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.