v9n9: Evans on Smith and Block on Insider Trading

anthony evans“Insider Trading and Sabotage,” by Anthony Evans

A COMMENTARY ON T. L. Smith and W. E. Block (2016*), “The Economics of Insider Trading: A Free Market Perspective,” J Bus Ethics 139(1): 47–53.


Insider trading is widely reviled, and yet – as Smith and Block argue – it is consistent with the basic principles of a free market system. This article draws attention to an argument against insider trading that Smith and Block don’t address, namely the potential for sabotage. However, this issue still fails to justify insider-trading legislation, and thus ultimately supports Smith and Block’s view that regulatory attempts to prevent it are misplaced.

To download the full PDF, click here: Evans on Smith & Block

Anthony J. Evans is Professor of Economics at ESCP Business School. He has been an Affiliate Faculty Member on the Microeconomics of Competitiveness Programme at Harvard Business School, and was a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at San Jose State University.

* Editorial note: This target article is outside Business Ethics Journal Review’s usual three-year window for Commentaries. That is due to editorial mishandling of the author’s original submission, which was accomplished within the three-year window. The Editors apologize to the author for the error.

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.

v9 n1: Mensch Responds to Raelin on Leadership-as-Practice

Kirk Mensch

The Challenge of Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry Within Leadership-As-Practice, by Kirk Mensch

A RESPONSE TO Joe Raelin (2020), “The Genealogical Ethics of Leadership-as- Practice”, Bus Ethics J Rev 8(5): 27–31 https://doi.org/10.12747/bejr2020.08.05

Abstract: Herein, I clarify my concern regarding Raelin’s Leadership-as-Practice (L-A-P) and argue that inconsistent moral philosophies undermine the veracity of leadership theory, especially more recent democratic, shared, collective, and practice oriented theories; that this problem seems to be proliferating in the social sciences, and that this is especially concerning in socio-psychologically oriented theories. I contend that the moral foundations of L-A-P remain philosophically disquieting, unless it is understood as excluding moral agents other than those of a genealogical tradition, and that such exclusionary consequences in practice may lead to moral disengagement, which might then lead to cognitive dissonance and even self-harm.

To download the full PDF, click here:

Kirk Mensch is a moral psychologist who specializes in understanding the impact of incommensurate moral worldviews on theory, practice, and affiliated agents in pluralistic organizations. Kirk can be reached at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kirkmensch/ or at drkirkmensch@gmail.com