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1. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Peter M. Jaworski Moving Beyond Market Failure: When the Failure is Government’s
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Joseph Heath lumps in rent-seeking with cartelization, taking advantage of information asymmetries, seeking a monopoly position, and so on, as all instances of behaviour that can lead to market failures in his market failures approach to business ethics. The problem is that rent and rentseeking, when they fail to deliver socially desirable outcomes, are instances of government failure. I try to argue that this is so, offer an amendment to Heath’s approach, and then explain why accurately describing the failure matters.
2. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 1 > Issue: 10
Glen Whelan Political Corporate Social Responsibility: Some Clarifications: A Respnse to Pierre-Yves Néron
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Multinational corporations (MNCs) engage in various political activities, can have significant political impacts, and can be designed with different political concerns in mind. In arguing that there is much theorizing to do in these regards, I recently outlined a critical research agenda for what I term the political perspective of corporate social responsibility (or political CSR for short). Whilst Néron acknowledges that the agenda I set out is important and valuable, he also suggests that the label I use – i.e., political CSR – is too constraining. I here make a number of clarifications that explain why this is not the case.
3. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 1 > Issue: 11
Javier Hidalgo Do Employers Have Obligations to Pay Their Workers a Living Wage?
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Jeremy Snyder argues that employers have obligations to pay their workers a living wage if workers stand in relationships of dependence with their employers. I argue that Snyder’s argument for this conclusion faces a dilemma. Snyder can adopt either a descriptive or a moralized account of dependence. If Snyder adopts a descriptive account, then it is false that dependence activates obligations to pay a living wage. If Snyder endorses a moralized account of dependence, then Snyder’s argument is circular. So, Snyder’s argument fails to establish that employers have obligations to pay their workers a living wage.
4. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 1 > Issue: 12
Abraham Singer What is the Best Way to Argue Against the Profit- Maximization Principle?
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This brief paper engages with Hussain’s critique of what he refers to as the “efficiency argument for profit maximization.” Here I argue that Hussain’s strategy of seeing the corporation as an extension of the private sphere is not a very effective way of challenging the profit-maximization norm.
5. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 1 > Issue: 13
Jeremy Snyder Disregard and Dependency
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Although Hidalgo (2013) accurately identifies mine as a moralized account of dependence, he misconstrues the role it plays in my (2008) argument. A specified duty of beneficence is not based on the dependency of one person on another, but on the idea that our relationships with others provide the opportunity to disregard specific others’ basic needs. Hidalgo (2013: 74) thus misattributes to me the view that “relationships of dependence activate special obligations.” Only by conflating my argument for a specified duty of beneficence with my use of dependency to limit and clarify the extent of these demands, does my argument appear circular.
6. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 1 > Issue: 14
Waheed Hussain Tools and Marriages
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Singer thinks that my argument does not give adequate consideration to the role that markets play in Jensen’s work. The problem with this objection is that Singer considers only the perspective of those who transact with corporations, not the perspective of those who participate in them. I think that there is actually less distance between my view and Singer’s view than it may seem. In a sense, I share Singer’s “political view” of the corporation, but I conceive of the corporation as a legal institution, rather than an extension of the state or a concession provided by the state.
7. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 1 > Issue: 15
Michael Buckley On the Essential Nature of Business
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Alexei Marcoux has argued that business ethics should focus less on organizational form and more on business practice. He suggests that a definition of ‘business’ as “a(n intentionally) self-sustaining, transactionseeking and transaction-executing practice” can help facilitate this shift by attuning researchers to the essential activity of business. I argue that this definition has troubling implications for a practice-based approach to business ethics, and that anyone advocating such an approach would be better served by treating ‘business’ as a cluster concept.
8. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 1 > Issue: 16
Hamish van der Ven Bringing Values Back into CSR
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Why do companies pursue CSR? I concur with Christian Thauer that intraorganizational dynamics are important, but find his focus on managerial dilemmas unconvincing. I counter by suggesting that a renewed focus on managerial values can help explain CSR when external conditions are held constant.
9. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 1 > Issue: 17
Thomas Beschorner Creating Shared Value: The One-Trick Pony Approach
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Although Michael Porter’s and Marc Kramer’s article “Creating Shared Value” is a welcome attempt to mainstream business ethics among management practitioners, it is neither so radical nor such a departure from standard management thinking as the authors make it seem. Porter’s and Kramer’s criticism and rejection of corporate social responsibility depends upon a straw man conception of CSR and their ultimate reliance on economic arguments is too normatively thin to do the important work of reconnecting businesses with society. For these reasons, prospects for a genuine reinvention of capitalism lie elsewhere.
10. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 1 > Issue: 18
David Ohren The Limits of Empathy in Business Ethics Education
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This paper challenges Cohen’s application of empathy to business ethics education. I argue Cohen fails to adequately address the problems of empathetic penetrability and accuracy in regards to reading other’s minds. Given these problems, I conclude empathy may be less important as an antecedent to moral action than Cohen suggests.
11. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Jeffery Smith Corporate Human Rights Obligations: Moral or Political?
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This discussion reviews Florian Wettstein’s conclusion that multinational corporations should assume greater “positive” obligations to protect against and remedy violations of human rights. It thereafter suggests an alternative to his defense that remains open to his conclusion, but sketches a moral, rather than political, grounding of those obligations.
12. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 1 > Issue: 3
Pierre-Yves Néron Toward A Political Theory of the Business Firm? A Comment on “Political CSR”
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Glen Whelan (2012) attempts to advance what he refers to as a “critical research agenda” for the “political perspective on corporate social responsibility (CSR).” Although I think his is a worthy attempt to build a political conception of the business firm and could represent a great intellectual journey, I make some remarks about the meaning and scope of this research agenda. My argument is simple: Rawlsian egalitarianism provides resources for a political theory of the business firm, but one that leads us in different directions than Whelan’s political CSR.
13. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 1 > Issue: 4
Matt Zwolinski Are Usurious? Another New Argument For the Prohibition of High Interest Loans?
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Robert Mayer argues that certain kinds of high-interest payday loans should be legally prohibited. His reasoning is that such lending practices compel more solvent borrowers to cross-subsidize less solvent ones, and thus involve a kind of negative externality. But even if such crosssubsidization exists, I argue, this does not necessarily provide a ground for legal prohibition. Such behavior might be a necessary component of a competitive market that provides opportunities for mutually beneficial transactions to willing customers. And the alternative of a governmentmandated interest rate faces severe problems of its own.
14. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 1 > Issue: 5
Dominic Martin The Unification Challenge
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Wayne Norman argues that there should be more similarity or unity between the justifications for markets and the extra-legal norms that apply to market agents. I question two aspects of his claim. First, why does Norman refer to this view as a view about the self-regulation of market agents? Agents could self-regulate with many different norms, not necessarily norms informed by the justifications for markets. Second, asking for more similarity might create problems in terms of the liberty of market agents to pursue other morally relevant objectives. How are we to balance these other relevant objectives and the objectives of markets?
15. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 1 > Issue: 6
Laura P. Hartman, Patricia H. Werhane Proposition: Shared Value as an Incomplete Mental Model
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Much of the attention of ethics scholars has focused on balancing self interest with the interests of others, equating self-interest with profit, or at least its acquisition, and presenting a dilemma to both companies and the stakeholder groups that socially responsible business practices might serve. We are in significant agreement with Porter and Kramer’s silver bullet to correct decision making based solely on increasing profit: the creation of “shared value.” However, we suggest three significant points of deviation from this thesis, resulting from our discomfort with features of the mental model(s) that Porter and Kramer use to structure their argument.
16. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 1 > Issue: 7
Robert Mayer The Cost of Usury
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When states deregulate the price of payday loans, most consumers will pay more for emergency cash than when a moderate usury cap is imposed. But advocates of price deregulation, including Matt Zwolinski, fail to discuss the distributive effects of their favored policy or to explain why most borrowers should pay more than is necessary for a cash advance. The objections Zwolinski raises against my argument for imposing a usury ceiling in this market miss the mark because they do not justify the increased cost consumers must bear when the price of a payday loan is allowed to float.
17. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 1 > Issue: 8
Joseph Heath Market Failure or Government Failure? A Response to Jaworski
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Peter Jaworski objects to my “market failures” approach to business ethics on the grounds that in some cases I have mislabeled as “market failure” what are in fact instances of "government failure." While acknowledging that my overall approach might better be referred to as “Paretian,” I resist Jaworski's specific criticism. I argue that the term government failure should not be used to describe market transactions that are made less efficient through government intervention, but should be reserved for cases in which the market mechanism has been suspended and the transaction is occurring, inefficiently, through the organizational power of the state.
18. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 1 > Issue: 9
Florian Wettstein Morality Meet Politics, Politics Meet Morality: Exploring the Political in Political Responsibility
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This brief response to Smith focuses on his distinction between moral and political responsibility in general and how it relates to human rights in particular. I argue that the notion of political responsibility as it is used in the debate on political CSR often does not exclude morality but is based on it.
19. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Marc A. Cohen Empathy in Business Ethics Education Redux
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My original paper (Cohen 2012) argued that business ethics education should focus on cultivating empathetic concern. This response clarifies terminology used in that paper and responds to criticisms presented by David Ohreen (2013).
20. Business Ethics Journal Review: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Matthew Sinnicks Mastery of One’s Domain Is Not the Essence of Management
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I attempt to cast doubt on Beabout’s attempt to build on MacIntyre’s ethical theory by accounting for management as a ‘domain-relative’ practice for three reasons: i) we can partially engage in practices, so if management can be accounted a practice there is no need to invoke domain-relativity; ii) management does not seem to be domain-relative in the same way that other examples of domain-relative practices might be; and iii) practical wisdom, which Beabout sees as key to management as a domain-relative practice, is adequately covered by MacIntyre’s account of politics.