How will British museums survive if they subject every donor to an ethical audit? | Mark Lawson

Nan Goldin’s opioid protest campaign means Sackler money is no longer welcome at the Tate, and the National Portrait Gallery is now poorer by £1mConsumers of culture will have been aware of the name “Sackler” above the frame of rooms and galleries in a…

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To trust each other again, we need to become more equal | Larry Elliott

The gap between rich and poor has been widening for decades, driving a climate of mistrust that harms us allFrom Adam Smith onwards, economists have recognised that trust is the glue that binds societies together. Nations in which people trust each oth…

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European commission rebuked over ex-chief’s Goldman Sachs job

José Manuel Barroso’s role at bank caused serious public disquiet and called trust in EU into question, says ombudsman

An EU watchdog has rebuked the European commission for failing to prevent potential lobbying by a former president who took a job at Goldman Sachs.

In a stinging report, Emily O’Reilly, the European ombudsman who acts as the EU’s public administration watchdog, said the commission had committed “maladministration” by not taking any decision after an ethics inquiry into its former president, José Manuel Barroso.

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Brand human: why efficient automation will not always be best for business

As robots begin to replace people, some employers are realising the value of human interaction in customer service

As study after study predicts huge swaths of jobs will be wiped out by automation in the coming decades, there’s one factor that might just throw a spanner in the works of the robot workforce takeover: the marketing power of brand human.

Just as Fair Trade and organic branding initiatives have convinced consumers to pay a higher price for products and services that might not be produced in the most coldly efficient way possible, businesses are realising the potential to carve out a niche in the face of growing disenchantment with the rise of the machines.

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José Manuel Barroso cleared of ethics breach over Goldman Sachs job

Panel questions judgment of ex-European commission chief but says grounds were not sufficient to conclude he broke code

An ethics panel has cleared the former European commission chief José Manuel Barroso of breaking an EU integrity code for taking a job at Goldman Sachs, but questioned his judgment in moving to the bank.

An independent panel said that Barroso had not shown the considerate judgment expected of someone who had held high office for many years, but concluded there were “not sufficient grounds” to determine that he had broken the commission’s ethical code.

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With robots, is a life without work one we’d want to live?

Being gainfully employed is about more than money. We need to consider what will give our lives purpose and connection in the age of automation

When Aristotle described “the complete happiness of man”, he thought it would include, among other things, “self-sufficiency, leisureliness and unweariedness”. Unfortunately the philosopher concluded that “such a life would be too high for man” – it was suitable only for the gods. All the same, he encouraged humanity to keep striving to get as close to “complete happiness” as possible.

I reckon he’d be proud of where we’ve got. Today, the fourth industrial revolution – which ranges from artificial intelligence to genetic engineering and automation – promises almost total freedom from weariness and uninterrupted leisure time as demands of work are taken away from us by better, cheaper and more efficient artificial technology.

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How technology disrupted the truth | Katharine Viner

Social media has swallowed the news – threatening the funding of public-interest reporting and ushering in an era when everyone has their own facts. But the consequences go far beyond journalism

One Monday morning last September, Britain woke to a depraved news story. The prime minister, David Cameron, had committed an “obscene act with a dead pig’s head”, according to the Daily Mail. “A distinguished Oxford contemporary claims Cameron once took part in an outrageous initiation ceremony at a Piers Gaveston event, involving a dead pig,” the paper reported. Piers Gaveston is the name of a riotous Oxford university dining society; the authors of the story claimed their source was an MP, who said he had seen photographic evidence: “His extraordinary suggestion is that the future PM inserted a private part of his anatomy into the animal.”

The story, extracted from a new biography of Cameron, sparked an immediate furore. It was gross, it was a great opportunity to humiliate an elitist prime minister, and many felt it rang true for a former member of the notorious Bullingdon Club. Within minutes, #Piggate and #Hameron were trending on Twitter, and even senior politicians joined the fun: Nicola Sturgeon said the allegations had “entertained the whole country”, while Paddy Ashdown joked that Cameron was “hogging the headlines”. At first, the BBC refused to mention the allegations, and 10 Downing Street said it would not “dignify” the story with a response – but soon it was forced to issue a denial. And so a powerful man was sexually shamed, in a way that had nothing to do with his divisive politics, and in a way he could never really respond to. But who cares? He could take it.

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The Guardian view on business ethics: decency needed | Editorial

There is a moral crisis in British capitalism that parliament on its own cannot resolve

While parliament’s chief preoccupation is the letter of the law, it also has a duty to uphold the law’s spirit. That role is especially important in business and finance, where a tension exists between a raucous commerce that wants anything legal to be also acceptable and a broader social conception of economic activity that places certain behaviour beyond the pale, even when it is not explicitly prohibited.

It is into this tricky realm that Commons select committees are advancing with investigations into exploitative labour conditions at Sports Direct and the collapse of BHS. Upholding the law comes first. The minimum wage is not a voluntary guideline and Mike Ashley, Sports Direct’s billionaire owner, last week conceded that employees of his company received too little.

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Factory farming divestment: what you need to know

After the success of campaigns to get investors to divest from fossil fuel companies, factory farming is the next targetThe fast food chain Subway is latest to join the backlash against antibiotic use in the farm sector. It has launched a new chicken s…

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