A COMMENTARY ON John Hasnas (2016), “Should Corporations Have the Right to Vote? A Paradox in the Theory of Corporate Moral Agency”, J Bus Ethics, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3172-0
Many proponents of corporate agency take corporations to be responsible for their conduct, but few take them to merit rights over and above the rights of their members. Hasnas (2016) argues that, given a widely-held view of liberal political theory, corporate agency entails that corporations should have the right to vote. In response, I show that there are problems in appealing to liberal political theory, and that the view of voting Hasnas actually endorses need not be accepted. Should it be, however, the implications go far beyond the right to vote.
To download the full PDF, click here: Silver on Hasnas
Kenneth Silver is Postdoctoral Scholar & Teaching Fellow at the University of Southern California.
“Rawls Well That Ends Well: A Response to Welch And Ly” by Abraham Singer
A RESPONSE TO Theodora Welch and Minh Ly (2017), “Rawls on the Justice of Corporate Governance,” Bus Ethics J Rev 5(2): 7–14. doi.org/10.12747/bejr2017.05.08
Abstract: Welch and Ly register three objections to my argument that the Rawlsian paradigm offers no resources for formulating a normative theory of corporate governance. In this brief response, I note that while I agree with the first of these objection, I don’t think it poses any serious trouble to my argument; the other two objections, on the other hand, I am less convinced by. I then offer two alternative strategies for bringing Rawls to bear on business ethics, which don’t involve trying to apply his principles of justice to the corporation. Finally, I conclude with a reflection on why people are so insistent on talking about Rawls in the first place.
To download the full PDF, click here: Singer Responds to Welch And Ly
Abraham Singer is an Assistant Professor of Management at Loyola University Chicago.
“Can’t Buy Approval: A Response to Taylor” by Jacob Sparks
A RESPONSE TO James Stacey Taylor (2017), “Semiotic Arguments and Markets in Votes: A Comment on Sparks,” Bus Ethics J Rev 5(6): 35–39
Abstract: James Stacey Taylor claims that my argument in “Can’t Buy Me Love” is both incomplete and doomed to fail. I grant some of Taylor’s points, but remind him that semiotic objections to the commodification of certain goods are strongest when we think not about individual market transactions, but about what it means for a society to support the market in question.
To download the full PDF, click here: Sparks Responds to Taylor
Jacob Sparks recently completed his PhD in applied philosophy at Bowling Green State University. He currently teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
A COMMENTARY ON Jeffrey Moriarty, 2016. “Is ‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’ Merely a Principle of Nondiscrimination?” Econ Philos 32 (3): 435–61. doi.org/10.1017/S0266267115000383
Jeffrey Moriarty argues that unequal pay for employees who do the same work is not necessarily wrong, but can be wrong if it is discriminatory or deceptive. Moriarty does this in part by stressing that pay should be considered primarily as a price for labor and therefore that our views on price discrimination and unequal pay should mirror each other. In this critique, I argue that Moriarty fails to adequately account for the expressive functions of pay. A pluralist view of pay reveals otherwise overlooked normative concerns regarding pay and cautions against adopting too strong of an analytical connection between price discrimination and unequal pay.
To download the full PDF, click here: Caulfield on Moriarty
Matthew Caulfield is a PhD student in Business Ethics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He also received a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School and is currently a Platt Fellow in Business Ethics.
“How Much Aristotle Is in Levine and Boaks’s Leadership Theory?: Response to Schäfer and Hühn” by Jacqueline Boaks and Michael P. Levine
A RESPONSE TO Viktoria Ramona Schäfer and Matthias Philip Hühn (2016), “How Much Aristotle Is in Levine and Boaks’s Leadership Theory?”, Bus Ethics J Rev 4(4): 21–26, http://doi.org/10.12747/bejr2016.04.04a
Abstract: While accepting and welcoming our main thesis and project, Schäfer and Hühn’s Commentary on our paper focuses on two main criticisms, both of which seem to us mistaken. The first of these is that our paper falsely argues “that the existing definitions of leadership out there fall short in describing the role of ethics in leadership.” The second seems to be a belief that (i) we claim to be offering an entirely new definition of leadership and misrepresenting its nature because (ii) in the view of Schäfer and Hühn this supposedly new definition “is essentially un-Aristotelian.”
To download the full PDF, click here: Boaks and Levine
Michael Levine is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Western Australia. Jacqueline Boaks recently completed her Phd in the Philosophy Department at the University of Western Australia and now teaches in the ethics of leadership and sustainability.
A COMMENTARY ON Irina Cojuharenco and Francesco Sguera (2015), “When Empathic Concern and Perspective Taking Matter for Ethical Judgment: The Role of Time Hurriedness,” J Bus Ethics 130(3): 717–725, http://doi.org/10.0.3.239/s10551-014-2259-8
Cojuharenco and Sguera’s study shows that both perspective taking (empathy) and empathic concern (intuitionism) can reduce the acceptability of lying. This critique outlines a number of conceptual difficulties and limitations with their dualistic model. Specifically, they conflate ethical reasoning with perspective taking and empathic concern with intuitionism. Moreover, by limiting moral thinking to these binary options it restricts the ways in which ethical judgements can be made.
To download the full PDF, click here: Ohreen on Cojuharenco & Sguera
David Ohreen Ph.D., is Associate Professor in the Department of General Education at Mount Royal University, Calgary, Canada.
A COMMENTARY ON Jacob Sparks (2017), “Can’t Buy Me Love: A Reply to Brennan and Jaworski,” J Philos Res (Online First): https://doi.org/10.5840/jpr2017425101
Jacob Sparks has developed a semiotic critique of markets that is based on the fact that “market exchanges express preferences.” He argues that some market transactions will reveal that the purchaser of a market good inappropriately prefers it to a similar non-market good. This avoids Brennan and Jaworski’s criticism that semiotic objections to markets fail as the meaning of market transactions are contingent social facts. I argue that Sparks’ argument is both incomplete and doomed to fail. It can only show that some preferences are morally problematic, not that the transactions that they lead to are immoral.
To download the full PDF, click here: Taylor on Sparks
James Stacey Taylor is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at The College of New Jersey
A COMMENTARY ON Joseph Heath (2014), Morality, Competition, and the Firm: The Market Failures Approach to Business Ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press)
Joseph Heath (2014) argues that the contribution of competitive markets to Pareto-efficiency generates moral constraints that apply to business managers. Heath argues that ethical behavior on the part of management consists in avoiding profit-seeking strategies which, under conditions of perfect competition, would decrease Pareto-efficiency. I argue that because (1) such conditions do not obtain; and (2) the most efficient result – under imperfect conditions – is not achieved by satisfying the largest possible set of the remaining conditions; it is (3) impossible to draw any substantive ethical guidelines from Heath’s approach.
To download the full PDF, click here: Steinberg on Heath
Etye Steinberg is a PhD candidate in Philosophy at the University of Toronto. He holds a BA in Philosophy, Economics, and Political Science (PEP), and an MA in Philosophy, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he has also been a lecturer.
A COMMENTARY ON Schleper, M., C. Blome, and D. Wuttke, D. (2015), “The Dark Side of Buyer Power: Supplier Exploitation and the Role of Ethical Climates,” J Bus Ethics 140(1): 97-114. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-015-2681-6
Schleper, Blome, and Wuttke attempt to use just price theory to define exploitation. According to the authors, a competitive market equilibrium defines a just price. When certain asymmetries in bargaining power exist, trading at any lower price constitutes unethical exploitation. I argue that a competitive market equilibrium does not provide a price that could be considered just by their own standards, and thus fails to ground a theory of exploitation.
To download the full PDF, click here: Kline on Schleper
William Kline, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Business Administration at University of Illinois, Springfield. His personal website is here.
A COMMENTARY ON Abraham Singer (2016), “Justice Failure: Efficiency and Equality in Business Ethics,” J Bus Ethics OnlineFirst, http://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3086-x
In a recent critique of the so-called “market failures approach” (MFA) to business ethics Abraham Singer maintains that business firms have ethical responsibilities to voluntarily restrain their profit-seeking activities in accordance with the demands of justice. While I ultimately share Singer’s intuition that the MFA has overlooked the importance of justice in business ethics, I argue that he has not presented a fully adequate case to explain why justice-related responsibilities should be assigned to business firms. I conclude by offering a brief – and supportive – alternative to his position.
To download the full PDF, click here: Smith on Singer