v8n3: Davis on Tomhave and Vopat on Boycotts and Expressive Acts

Boycotts, Expressive Acts, and Withdrawal of Support, by Jeremy V. Davis

A COMMENTARY ON Alan Tomhave and Mark Vopat (2018), “The Business of Boycotting: Having Your Chicken and Eating it Too,” J Bus Ethics 152: 123–132.

Alan Tomhave and Mark Vopat have argued that organized boycotts against the expressive acts of companies and their leaders are pro tanto morally wrong because they constitute an attempt to silence voices in the marketplace of ideas. I argue that such boycotts are not best viewed as attempts to silence, but rather as a morally permissible form of withdrawal of support of certain expressive acts.

To download the full PDF, click here: Davis on Tomhave and Vopat

Dr. Jeremy Davis is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the United States Military Academy (West Point), with research interests in normative and applied ethics. You can learn more about him at: www.jeremyvdavis.com

v8n2: Sollars and Tuluca Respond to Silver on Portfolio Theory and Shareholder Primacy

Shareholder Desert Works With a Risk-Return Model, by Gordon G. Sollars and Sorin A. Tuluca

A RESPONSE TO Kenneth Silver (2019), “Modern Portfolio Theory and Share- holder Primacy”, Bus Ethics J Rev 7(6): 34–39, https://doi.org/10.12747/bejr2019.07.06

Kenneth Silver (2019) criticizes our (Sollars and Tuluca 2018) use of the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) to determine the return on investment that is deserved by shareholders, and suggests shareholder primacy follows from the principal/agent model, rather than a concern for risk. We argue that Silver has misunderstood CAPM and our use of it, and that, under current law, more is required from articles of incorporation or corporate bylaws for the principal/agent model to apply to corporations.

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

Gordon G. Sollars is an associate professor of management in the Silberman College of Business at Fairleigh Dickinson University, with interests in shareholder liability, worker exploitation, and product liability.
Sorin A. Tuluca is a professor of finance in the Silberman College of Business at Fairleigh Dickinson University, with interests in various aspects of corporate finance, corporate governance and interactions between financial markets and real activity.

v8n1: Cohen and Peterson on Heath

The Implicit Morality of the Market Is Consequentialist, by Marc Cohen and Dean Peterson

A COMMENTARY ON Joseph Heath (2019), “Is the ‘Point’ of the Market Pareto or Kaldor-Hicks Efficiency?,” Bus Ethics J Rev 7(4): 21–26, https://doi.org/10.12747/bejr2019.07.04

Joseph Heath states that our paper “misinterpret[s]” and so misrepresents his account. The present Commentary corrects the record. Our paper (Cohen and Peterson 2019) outlined Heath’s account on his own terms; it explained that Heath distances himself from consequentialism. But then we argued that Heath is mistaken and so offered a repaired version of the market failures approach. Our central concern, in the original paper and in this short Commentary, is showing that the economic argument for markets is at the same time ethical, and then being more precise about the ethical consideration that does the work.

To download the full PDF, click here: Cohen & Peterson on Heath

Dean Peterson is an Associate Professor of economics and Associate Director of the University Honors Program at Seattle University. His teaching and research focus on the history of economics.

Marc A. Cohen is an Associate Professor at Seattle University in the Department of Management and the Department of Philosophy.

v7n7: Wells on Hühn & Dierksmeier on What Adam Smith Said

What Adam Smith Really Thought Should Not Matter, by T.R. Wells

A COMMENTARY ON Matthias Hühn and Claus Dierksmeier (2016), “Will the Real A. Smith Please Stand Up!” J Bus Ethics 131(1): 119–132.

Hühn and Dierksmeier argue that a better understanding of Adam Smith’s work would improve business ethics research and education. I worry that their approach encourages two scholarly sins. First, anachronistic historiography in which we distort Smith’s ideas by making him answer questions about contemporary debates in CSR theory. Second, treating him as a prophet by assuming that finding out what Smith would have thought about it is the right way to answer such questions.

To download the full PDF, click here: Wells on Hühn & Dierksmeier

Thomas Wells is an assistant professor of philosophy at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. His research and teaching focuses on ethics, especially ethical issues in business, capitalism and the methodology of economics.

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