v7n6: Silver on Sollars and Tuluca on Portfolio Theory
 and Shareholder Primacy

Modern Portfolio Theory
 and Shareholder Primacy, by Kenneth Silver

A COMMENTARY ON Gordon G. Sollars and Sorin A. Tuluca (2018), “Fiduciary Duty, Risk, and Shareholder Desert,” Bus Ethics Q 28(2): 203–218, https://doi.org/10.1017/beq.2017.47

Shareholders assume risk by investing. Sollars and Tuluca (2018) argue that while this does not justify a managerial policy of shareholder wealth maximization, it does justify compensating shareholders at the often- calculated cost of equity—the cost that investors require given the level of risk they assume. Here, I show that this can be unfair if the cost of equity is unfair. I then show how shareholder wealth maximization as a managerial imperative is better justified on other grounds.

To download the full PDF, click here: Silver on Sollars and Tuluca

Kenneth Silver is an Assistant Professor in Business Ethics within Trinity Business School at Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin.

v7 n5: Wyma Responds to Sportiello on the Virtues of Investment Advising

The Nature of a Practice’s Goods, by Keith Wyma

A RESPONSE TO Daniel Sportiello (2019), “MacIntyre and Wyma on Investment Advising,” Bus Ethics J Rev 7(1): 1–6,

Daniel Sportiello argues that my support of financial planning as a MacIntyrean practice fails because I have misunderstood the concept of internal goods, and because financial planning then has no internal good at all. Here, I rebut those charges.

To download the full PDF, click here: Wyma on Sportiello

Keith Wyma is professor of ethics at Whitworth University in Spokane, among other things teaching Business Ethics and coaching the school’s three-time national champion Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl team.

v7n4: Heath on Moriarty on The Market Failures Approach

Is the “Point” of the
 Market Pareto or
 Kaldor-Hicks Efficiency?, by Joseph Heath

A COMMENTARY ON Jeffrey Moriarty (2019), “On the Origin, Content, and Relevance of the Market Failures Approach,” J Bus Ethics: (first online 17 January 2019) 1–12, 

Moriarty argues that the Market Failures Approach (MFA) to business ethics is inapplicable to “real world” problems, because it treats “market failure” as a failure to achieve Pareto efficiency. Depending upon how it is applied, Pareto efficiency is either trivially easy to satisfy or else so demanding that no real-world market could ever satisfy it. In this Commentary, I argue that Moriarty overstates these difficulties. The regulatory structure governing markets is best understood as an attempt to maximize the number of Pareto-improving exchanges that occur. There is no reason to think business self-regulation cannot be guided by the same normative-conceptual framework.

To download the full PDF, click here: Heath on Moriarty’s Critique

Joseph Heath is a professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto.

See also, in BEJR, these pieces related to Prof Heath’s work:

v7n3: Repp and Contat: Can Heath Deal With Steinberg’s Objection?

v6n9: Gustafson on Hsieh’s Challenge to Heath

v5n5: Steinberg on Heath on Non-Ideal Markets

v5 n3 Smith on Singer on Justice Failure

v4 n10 Silver on Heath on the Market Failures Approach

v1n8: Heath Responds to Jaworski

v1n1: Jaworski on Heath

v7n3: Repp and Contat: Can Heath Deal With Steinberg’s Objection?

Does Heath Have a Good Answer to Steinberg?, by Charles Repp and Justin Contat

A COMMENTARY ON Etye Steinberg (2017), “The Inapplicability of the Market- Failures Approach in a Non-Ideal World,” Bus Ethics J Rev 5(5): 28–34, http://doi.org/10.12747/bejr2017.05.05

Etye Steinberg has recently raised a problem for Joseph Heath’s Market Failures Approach. In this paper we consider a response by Heath. We argue that Heath’s response not only leaves the original problem intact, but also raises a second one, analogous to stakeholder theory’s so-called “identification problem.”

To download the full PDF, click here: Repp and Contat on Steinberg

Charles Repp and Justin Contat are Assistant Professors of Philosophy at Longwood University.Business at Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska.

v7n2: Sparks Responds to Brennan and Jaworski

You Give Love a Bad Name, by Jacob Sparks

A RESPONSE TO J. Brennan and P. M. Jaworski (2018), “Come On, Come On, Love Me for the Money: A Critique of Sparks on Brennan and Jaworski,” Bus Ethics J Rev 6(6): 30–35,

Brennan and Jaworski (2018) accuse me of misunderstanding their thesis and failing to produce a counterexample to it. In this Response, I clarify my central argument in “Can’t Buy Me Love,” explain why I used prostitution as an example, and work to advance the debate

To download the full PDF, click here: Sparks Respondes to Brennan and Jaworski

Jacob Sparks recently completed his PhD in applied philosophy at Bowling Green State University. He currently teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

v7n1: Sportiello on Macintyre and Wyma on Investment Advising

Macintyre and Wyma on Investment Advising, by Daniel Sportiello

A COMMENTARY ON Keith Wyma (2015), “The Case for Investment Advising as a Virtue-Based Practice,” J Bus Ethics 127(1): 231–249.

In “The Case for Investment Advising,” Keith Wyma argues that investment advising is what Alasdair MacIntyre calls a “practice”—that is, it is an activity marked by what MacIntyre calls an “internal good.” In this Commentary, though, I argue that Wyma seriously misunderstands what internal goods are.

To download the full PDF, click here: Sportiello on Macintyre and Wyma

Daniel John Sportiello is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Mary in North Dakota

v6n9: Gustafson on Hsieh’s Challenge to Heath

Andrew GustafsonDating, the Ethics of
 Competition, and Heath’s Market Failures Approach, by Andrew B. Gustafson

A COMMENTARY ON Nien-hê Hsieh (2017), “The Responsibilities and Role of Business in Relation to Society: Back to Basics,” Bus Ethics Q 27(2)

In “The Responsibilities and Role of Business in Relation to Society,” Nien-hê Hsieh challenges Joseph Heath’s “market failure” or Paretian approach to business ethics by arguing for a “Back to Basics” approach. Here, I argue that two basics of Hsieh’s three-basics vision are flawed, because a. ordinary morality is in fact not sufficient for the adversarial realm of the market, and b. the ideal of a Pareto-optimal market economy with perfect competition does in fact provide an adequate basis for normative rules against market failures.

To download the full PDF, click here: Gustafson on Hsieh on Heath

Andy Gustafson is Professor of business ethics and Society in the Heider College of Business at Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska.

v6n8: Hersch on MacIntyre on Ethics in Financial Markets

The Irrelevance of Unsuccessful Traders, by Gil Hersch

A COMMENTARY ON Alasdair MacIntyre (2015), “The Irrelevance of Ethics,” in A. Bielskis and K. Knight (eds.), Virtue and Economy: Essays on Morality and Markets (London: Routledge):7–21. doi:10.4324/9781315548067

Alasdair MacIntyre argues that moral virtues are antithetical to what is required of those who trade in financial markets to succeed. MacIntyre focuses on four virtues and argues that successful traders possess none of them: (i) self-knowledge, (ii) courage, (iii) taking a long-term perspective, and (iv) tying one’s own good with some set of common goods. By contrast, I argue that (i)–(iii) are, in fact, traits of successful traders, regardless of their normative assessment. The last trait – caring about the common good – is often counterproductive in most for-profit ventures, including trading, and so singling out traders is inappropriate.

To download the full PDF, click here: Hersch on MacIntyre

Gil Hersch is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Philosophy Department and the Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) at Virginia Tech.

v6n7: Hasnas Responds to Silver on Corporations Voting

“Corporations and Voting: A Response to Kenneth Silver” by John Hasnas
A RESPONSE TO Kenneth Silver (2018), “Do I Think Corporations Should Be Able to Vote Now?” Bus Ethics J Rev 6(4): 18–23. doi.org/10.12747/bejr2018.06.04

Abstract: In his thoughtful Commentary on my article, “Should Corporations Have the Right to Vote? A Paradox in the Theory of Corporate Moral Agency,” Kenneth Silver asserts mistakenly that I endorse (i) Robert Dahl’s Principle of Affected Interests and (ii) social contract theory. To the extent Silver’s criticism of my argument is based on the claim that I appeal to either the Principle of Affected Interests or social contract theory as the ground for the right to vote, it is misguided. I rely only on the Rawlsian equal participation principle that invests those subject to the law with the right to vote. To the extent Silver’s criticism is directed to that assertion, it is on point.

To download the full PDF, click here: Hasnas responds to Silver.

John Hasnas is a Professor at the McDonough School of Business.

v6n6: Brennan and Jaworski on Sparks on Commodification

Jason Brennan and Peter JaworskiCome On, Come On, Love Me for the Money: A Critique of Sparks on Brennan and Jaworski, by Jason Brennan and Peter M. Jaworski

A COMMENTARY ON Jacob Sparks (2017), “Can’t Buy Me Love: A Reply to Brennan and Jaworski.” J Philos Res 42: 341–352, https://doi.org/10.5840/jpr2017425101

Jacob Sparks critiques our recent work on commodification by arguing that purchasing love indicates one has defective preferences. We argue A) it is possible to purchase these things without having defective preferences, B) Sparks has not shown that acting such defective preferences is morally wrong, C) that Sparks’ misunderstands the Brennan-Jaworski Thesis, and so has not produced a counterexample to it, and finally D) that when we examine the processes by which gifted love, it is unclear whether these processes should be preferred.

To download the full PDF, click here: Brennan and Jaworski on Sparks on Commodification

Jason Brennan and Peter M. Jaworski is Robert J. and Elizabeth Flanagan Family Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Peter Jaworski is an Assistant Teaching Professor teaching business ethics at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.