Business, Ethics, and Society

Taught Fall 2009, with many of the same readings


Readings

First Section: To What Extent is Success in Life and Financial Markets Undeserved?

Warren Buffett, "The Lottery"
John Rawls, "The Social and Natural Lottery", in A Theory of Justice, Harvard UP (1971), pp. 74-75
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, "Skewness and Asymmetry" and "Monkeys on Typewriters", in Fooled by Randomness (2nd ed.), Random House (2008), pp. 97-115 and 139-164
Burton Malkiel, "Do Security Analysts Pick Winners? The Performance of the Mutual Funds", in A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Norton (2007 ed.), pp. 169-183
Warren Buffett, "The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville", Hermes (1984)

Judith Jarvis Thomson, "Preferential Hiring", Philosophy & Public Affairs (1973)
Iris Marion Young, "Affirmative Action and the Myth of Merit", in Justice and the Politics of Difference, Princeton UP (1990)
Inside Job, A Sony Pictures Film (2010)
Kendy Hess, "Who's Responsible? Assigning Blame in the Wake of the Financial Crisis", Midwest Studies in Philosophy (2018)

Optional:
Roger Lowenstein, The End of Wall Street, Penguin (2010), pp. 23-27, 39-47, 55-64, and 285-286
Robert Shiller, "Finance, Sleaziness, and Speculation", in Finance and the Good Society, Princeton UP (2012), pp. 162-186

Second Section: How Much Should We Give to Charity and Why? Should Business and Wealthy Individuals Fund Social Welfare Policies?

Peter Singer, selections from The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty, Random House (2009)
David Lewis, "Illusory innocence?", in Papers in Ethics and Social Philosophy, Cambridge UP (1999)
Anthony Appiah, "Cosmopolitanism and Kindness to Strangers", in Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, Norton (2007)
Peter Buffett, "The Charitable-Industrial Complex", New York Times (2013)
Rob Reich, "Toward a Political Theory of Philanthropy", in Giving Well: The Ethics of Philanthropy, Oxford UP (2011)

Matt Ridley, "Why We Should Let Free Markets Solve the World's Biggest Problems", in The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, Harper (2010)
Bill Gates, "The Poor Need Aid, Not Flawed Theories: Review of Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist", gatesnotes.com (2010)
Milton Friedman, "Social Welfare Measures", in Capitalism and Freedom, University of Chicago Press (1962)

Optional:
Peter Unger, "Commonsense Ethics and Harsh Ethical Judgments", in "Contextual Analysis in Ethics", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (1995)
Bill Clinton, "How Much Should You Give and Why?", in Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World, Knopf (2007)
Andrew Carnegie, "The Gospel of Wealth", North American Review (1889)
Bill Gates, "The Most Gratifying Job on Earth" (online)

Third Section: How Plausible are the Ethical Views Presupposed by Economists?

Martha Nussbaum, Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach, Harvard UP (2011), pp. ix-50
Iris Marion Young, "Displacing the Distributive Paradigm", in Justice and the Politics of Difference, Princeton UP (1990)
Daniel Hausman, Michael McPherson, and Debra Satz, selections from Economic Analysis, Moral Philosophy, and Public Policy, Cambridge UP (2016)
Doug Portmore, "Utilitarianism and Consequentialism: The Basics", Unpublished
Robert Frank, "Supply and Demand", in Microeconomics and Behavior, McGraw-Hill (2009)

Fourth Section: Market Failure, Government Failure, Externalities, LIbertarianism

Milton Friedman, "The Role of Government in a Free Society", in Capitalism and Freedom, University of Chicago Press (1962)
Robert Frank, "Externalities, Public Goods, and Government" and "Pareto Notions and the Welfare Theorems", in Microeconomics and Behavior, McGraw-Hill (2009)
Claudia Goldin, "How to Achieve Gender Equity in Pay", Milken Institute (2015)
Daniel Hausman, Michael McPherson, and Debra Satz, selections from Economic Analysis, Moral Philosophy, and Public Policy, Cambridge UP (2016)
Allan Gibbard, "What's Morally Special about Free Exchange?", in Paul, Miller, and Paul (eds.) Ethics and Economics, Blackwell (1985)
Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, Penguin (2009)

Fifth Section: Inequality, Positional Externalities, and the Moral Limits of Markets

Milton Friedman, "The Role of Government in a Free Society", in Capitalism and Freedom, University of Chicago Press (1962)
Debra Satz, "Egalitarian Theories of the Moral Limits of Markets", in Why Some Things Should Not be For Sale, Oxford UP (2010), pp. 79-84 and 109-110
Elizabeth Anderson, "What is the Point of Equality?", Ethics (1999)
Debra Satz, "Markets in Women's Sexual Labor", in Why Some Things Should Not Be For Sale, Oxford UP (2010)
Benjamin Powell and Matt Zwolinski, "The Ethical and Economic Case Against Sweatshop Labor: A Critical Assessment", Journal of Business Ethics (2011)
Mathew Coakley and Michael Kates, "The Ethical and Economic Case for Sweatshop Regulation", Journal of Business Ethics (2013)

Robert Frank, "The Rising Cost of Adequate", in Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class, University of California Press (2007)
Linda Hirshman, "The 'Having-It-All' Crisis Isn't About Women, It's About the 1%", The Atlantic (2012)
Anne-Marie Slaughter, "The 'Having It All' Debate Convinced Me to Stop Saying 'Having It All'", The Atlantic (2012)
Sheryl Sandberg, selections from Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Knopf (2013)
Milton Friedman, "The Role of Government in Education", in Capitalism and Freedom, University of Chicago Press (1962)
Elizabeth Anderson, "Fair Opportunity in Education: A Democratic Equality Perspective", Ethics (2007)

Sixth Section: Technology, Privacy, and the Post-Internet Era

Maggie Koerth-Baker, "You Can't Opt Out of Sharing Your Data, Even if You Didn't Opt In", fivethirtyeight.com (2018)
Judith Jarvis Thomson, "The Right to Privacy", Philosophy & Public Affairs (1975)
Lee Rainie and Maeve Duggan, "Americans' Attitudes Toward Privacy and Information Sharing", Pew Research Center (2016)
Sam Biddle, "For Owners of Amazon's Ring Security Cameras, Strangers May Have Been Watching Too", The Intercept (2019)
Alessandro Acquisti, Laura Brandimarte, George Loewenstein, "Privacy and human behavior in the age of information", Science (2015)
Cass Sunstein, "Valuing Facebook", Behavioral Public Policy (forthcoming)
Jeffrey Ritter and Anna Mayer, "Regulating Data and Property: A New Construct for Moving Forward", Duke Law & Technology Review (2018)
Steve Jobs, "Rethinking Revolution", Wired (1996)