v9n8: Allison on Scharding on Non-Centrally Regulated Currencies and Volatility

Andrew Allison

A COMMENTARY ON Tobey Scharding (2019), “National Currency, World Currency, Cryptocurrency: A Fichtean Approach to the Ethics of Bitcoin,” Bus & Soc Rev 124(2): 1–20.


Tobey Scharding claims that Bitcoin’s lack of a central regulator makes it open to price fluctuations. I argue that a currency not having a central regulator does not necessitate it being more volatile than centrally regulated currencies. First, I argue that Scharding’s reason for suggesting that Bitcoin is open to price fluctuations – its potential to face legal restrictions – is also faced by centrally regulated currencies. Second, I use silver in London as an example of a non-centrally regulated currency with relatively low price volatility when compared to other centrally regulated currencies showing that non-centrally regulated currencies are not necessarily more volatile.

To download the full PDF, click here: Allison on Scharding

Andrew Allison is PhD student in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Calgary.

v9n7: Nevasto on Reeves and Sinnicks on Adorno’s Critical Moral Philosophy

Jaakko_NevastoAdorno’s Critical Moral Philosophy and Business Ethics, by Jaakko Nevasto


Reeves and Sinnicks present Theodor Adorno as a philosopher with a sombre message to business ethics. Capitalist markets distort our needs and work in business organisations stultifies our moral capacities. Thus, the discipline’s self-understanding must be revised, and supplemented with reflections on what would be good work: free creative activity. After raising some questions about their interpretation of Adorno’s writings on human needs, I argue that the paper does not contain all the necessary resources to support its ferociously critical claims. Once such resources are made available, however, the appeal to a notion of good work is no longer viable.

To download the full PDF, click here: Nevasto on Reeves and Sinnicks

Jaakko Nevasto‘s research focuses on business ethics, critical theory, and the philosophy of markets. (He can be reached at j.nevasto@outlook.com  )

v9n6: Kates on Regulating Sweatshops

michael_katesSweatshop Regulations and Ex Ante Contractualism, by Michael Kates


Kuyumcuoglu argues that defenders of sweatshop regulations should reject consequentialism and accept an ex ante interpretation of contractualism instead. In this Commentary I show that Kuyumcuoglu’s argument doesn’t succeed. Defenders of sweatshops shouldn’t become ex ante contractualists because its advantages on this issue are more apparent than real.

To download the full PDF, click here: Kates on Regulating Sweatshops

Michael Kates is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Saint Joseph’s University.

v9n5: Silver on Democracy and Markets

david-silverPandemic Preparation, Democracy, and the Morality of the Market, by David Silver



This Commentary investigates ethical issues surrounding the US government’s attempt to partner with a private company to produce a new low-cost ventilator as part of its pandemic preparation plans. I argue that firms have distinct duties with respect to such public-private partnerships. In contrast to approaches that analyze these duties in terms of an “implicit morality” of the market, I analyze them in terms of democratically authorized plans regarding how to structure the market.

To download the full PDF, click here: 

Silver on Democracy and Markets

David Silver holds the Chair in Business and Professional Ethics and directs the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, with a joint appointment at the Sauder School of Business.

Virtual Symposium on Business Ethics in Times of Pandemic

About a year ago, the editors of BEJR issued a call for submissions to a “virtual symposium” on business ethics in times of pandemic. We’ve been pleased to receive a number of submissions. The first three four Commentaries published as part of our virtual symposium are listed here. We’ll add to it as we publish additional commentaries. (And our original Call for Submissions — which remains open! — is appended below.)

Pandemic Preparation, Democracy, and the Morality of the Market, by David Silver

The Peculiar Nature of the Duty to Help During a Pandemic, by Santiago Mejia

What About Price Gouging By Employees?, by Alexander P Reese and Ingo Pies

Social Media Ethics and the Politics of Information, by Jennifer Forestal and Abraham Singer

Call for Submissions!

The Business Ethics Journal Review is seeking submissions for a virtual symposium on “Business Ethics in Times of Pandemic.”

Is the existing literature useful on the question of price-gouging? Given what has been written about CSR, what are an employer’s obligations to employees when business drops to zero? Should consumers embrace, or avoid, delivery services during a pandemic, in light of what has been written about the ethics of the gig economy? How and to whom should cleaning products and personal protective equipment (PPE) be marketed during a pandemic? These are just a few suggestions for topics that might be tackled as business ethics scholars contemplate the current crisis.

Business Ethics Journal Review (ISSN 2326-7526) is a peer-reviewed, online journal that has been actively publishing since 2013. We publish short (1,000-2,000 word) commentaries on peer-reviewed articles. It is edited by Alexei Marcoux and Chris MacDonald.

We are currently seeking short, focused commentaries on business ethics related to the current Covid-19 crisis. For this special symposium, we are relaxing our normal rules, while attempting to stay true to our basic mission. Accordingly, we offer the following guidelines for submissions:

– All submissions must be between 1,000 and 2,000 words, inclusive of abstract and citations.

– In light of our status as a journal review, submissions should be focused on commenting on prior literature.

– Authors are strongly encouraged to focus on literature from the last 10 years (the usual BEJR rule is 3 years!)

There is NO FIXED DEADLINE for this call, but potential authors should contact the editors (editors@bejr.org) to discuss their potential contribution.

v9n4: Honouring Dr. Arthur Wesley Cragg


Wesley Cragg

In Memorium: The Contribution of Dr. Arthur Wesley Cragg, by Mark S Schwartz


Abstract: The author comments on two journal articles authored by his former PhD supervisor, Dr. Arthur Wesley Cragg.

To download the full PDF, click below: 


Mark Schwartz

Mark S. Schwartz is Associate Professor, Management and Ethics in the School of Administrative Studies, York University.

v9n3: Reese and Pies on Price Gouging By Employees

headshot Ingo Piesheadshot Alexander ReeseWhat About Price Gouging By Employees?, by Alexander P Reese and Ingo Pies



The Covid-19 pandemic reveals a new phenomenon, unaddressed by the existing literature on “price gouging” in times of emergency. While merchants – getting large(r) remuneration for providing desperately needed goods – evoke public moral outrage for assumed “price gouging”, employees – getting large(r) remuneration for providing desperately needed services – do not cause such outrage but rather experience moral appraisal for their valuable commitment. To address this inherent inconsistency of moral judgment, we propose to embrace insights from research on folk economics. By understanding the folk perception underlying public outrage at “price gougers,” business ethics might better enlighten the moral (il-)legitimacy of anti-“price gouging” measures.

To download the full PDF, click here: 

Alexander Reese is a doctoral candidate in Economic Ethics at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, and currently a visiting PhD at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.

Ingo Pies is Professor of Economic Ethics at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. 

v9n2: Mejia on Mejia on Helping During a Pandemic

Santiago MejiaThe Peculiar Nature of the Duty to Help During a Pandemic, by Santiago Mejia

A COMMENTARY, IN THE BUSINESS ETHICS IN TIMES OF PANDEMIC VIRTUAL SYMPOSIUM, on Santiago Mejia (2020), “Which Duties of Beneficence Should Agents Discharge on Behalf of Principals? A Reflection Through Shareholder Primacy,” Bus Ethics Q: 1–29, (first online 6 October 2020) https://doi.org/10.1017/beq.2020.28


Duties of beneficence are said to allow for leeway to discharge them. By distinguishing between two different types of leeway, Mejia (2020) identified three structurally different duties of beneficence. In this Commentary I deploy those distinctions to clarify the nature of a fourth type of duty of beneficence, one prompted by a global pandemic, a duty with a peculiar, and seldom recognized, conceptual logic. I provide some guidelines that should orient managers when they take themselves to be fulfilling such a duty on behalf of shareholders.

To download the full PDF, click here: 

Mejia Comments on Mejia

Santiago Mejia is assistant professor at the Gabelli School of Business, Fordham University. His research interests span normative ethical theories of businesses, moral psychology, and virtue ethics.

Editorial Note: While BEJR does not normally encourage commentaries aimed at the author’s own work, in the present case we made an exception: the Covid pandemic allowed Santiago Mejia to see a gap in his own work, and the editors thought it admirable for an author to step forward in such circumstances.

BEJR’s New Publisher: the Journal Review Foundation

TJRF_logoBEJR is now in its third year of publishing, and we’ll be launching Volume 3 tomorrow with the publication of a commentary on leadership ethics by Shazia Khan, a PhD Candidate (Management) in the Management Sciences Department at the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology in Islamabad, Pakistan.

As we enter our third year, and as the popularity and influence of BEJR grow, it becomes increasingly important to ground the journal in a set of institutional arrangements that will provide it with a firm foundation. So starting with Volume 3, BEJR will now be published by the nonprofit Journal Review Foundation of the Americas, which was founded by BEJR‘s editors. Nothing is changing in terms of policies and practices, but having a formal, nonprofit entity act as BEJR‘s publisher should help provide a stable foundation for the future.

BEJR author Interview: Peter Jaworski

Peter_JaworskiPeter Jaworski is Assistant Teaching Professor of Business Ethics in Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. He’s the author of “Moving Beyond Market Failure: When the Failure is Government’s”, published in BEJR in February of 2013 and downloaded 300 times since then in PDF format.

BEJR co-editor, Alexei Marcoux, caught up with Peter to talk to him about his experience publishing in BEJR and his current projects.
Alexei Marcoux: What inspired you to submit a Commentary to BEJR?

Peter Jaworski: I thought it would be a great way to engage with the literature. I didn’t have a significant criticism, just a small disagreement. I thought BEJR would be perfect for that. And I was right.

AM: Was your Commentary in BEJR part of a larger project? What was it?

PJ: In my case it was. I ended up writing a longer piece [Journal of Business Ethics, “An absurd tax on our fellows”] that expands on and refines my comments for BEJR. Reading the response to my Commentary gave me the opportunity to clarify my meaning and, I think, to more relevantly engage with the material. I’m still interested in that broader project — of discussing rent seeking and crony capitalism as a government failure, of more importance to our understanding of the professional obligations and role morality of politicians and government actors, rather than thinking of it as a problem for market actors.

AM: How did writing for BEJR fit into your workflow?

PJ: Sometimes, when reading an article, I write a few pages in response to that article. Like when you have a nagging criticism, or just a small worry, or what you hope is a clarification or better way of putting something. I think we all probably do that. That doesn’t always turn into a larger project. And with BEJR, it doesn’t have to be a bigger project. So it fit in brilliantly.

AM: What was the editorial experience like?

PJ: Is this where I say nice things about you and Chris? There’s some sort of journalistic problem with you asking me this question, I’m sure, but I’ll answer anyways: It was great. Feedback came quickly, a decision was faster than any place else I’ve ever submitted to, and the instructions were clear. A model for others to follow, I’d say.

AM: Did your Commentary get some attention on social media? We try hard to get the word out about everything we publish. Did it work?

PJ: Yes, some. I think a lot of people read it, and I did get more email on account of it than anything else I’ve published in an academic journal.

AM: BEJR published your Commentary on Joseph Heath in February of 2013, and less than a month later we published a Response from Heath. What was it like having Heath respond to your Commentary?

PJ: You know, Joe Heath really sparked a strong interest on my part in business ethics. He wasn’t alone, but I look forward to reading his articles because each time I feel like he’s onto something important, significant, and is making moves in the literature that push all of us forward. So it was exciting to see his Response (even though it was a pretty grumpy response overall).

AM: How has being published in BEJR changed your attitude toward publishing?

PJ: That’s a bit of a tough question. It’s changed my attitude about what publishing might be like. I love how fast and responsive the process was at BEJR, which I’d like to see copied at other places. In a way, it makes me realize that it’s at least possible to have an academic conversation, in print, with others where the turnaround time for salvos is less than 12 months.

AM: What are you working on currently?

PJ: Most importantly, I’m working in the moral limits of markets research area. With my colleague, Jason Brennan, I have an article forthcoming in Ethics entitled “Markets without Symbolic Limits,” and we expect to publish our book, Markets Without Limits: Commercial Interests and Moral Virtues, in October of this year. I hope this helps spark some interest, and so I expect to spend my 2015 talking about markets in kidneys in blood and about commercial surrogacy and so on. Apart from that research area, I’m also active in issues surrounding “ownership.” I’m interested in whether or not we can continue to claim an ownership stake in some object after some passage of time, and I’m interested in what objects or things in the world are “fit” for the ownership relation (rather than guardianship, or stewardship, for example).
You can see Peter in action in this Learn Liberty video, “Should Collegiate Athletes Be Paid?”

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