A COMMENTARY ON Joseph Heath (2014), Morality, Competition, and the Firm: The Market Failures Approach to Business Ethics (New York: Oxford)
In defense of his Market Failures Approach to business ethics Joseph Heath relies on an understanding of business as essentially oriented towards competition and profit maximization. In these remarks I defend an alternative understanding of business that is centered on the creation of valuable goods and services. It is preferable because it: (a) creates less pressure to take advantage of vulnerable stakeholders, (b) can readily recognize “beyond compliance” norms that do not relate to efficiency, (c) provides a more meaningful framework for people who work in and with corporations, (d) may mitigate negative moral impacts outside the market, and (e) better captures the range of what actually counts as business activity.
To download the full PDF, click here: Silver on Heath
A RESPONSE TO James Stacey Taylor (2016), “What Limits Should Markets be Without?”, Bus Ethics J Rev 4(7): 41–46.
Abstract: James Stacey Taylor offers three interpretations of our thesis, and argues that only one of them goes through. His point is to clarify our view rather than critique our position. In this brief response, we argue that, upon further clarification, we could endorse at least one of the other interpretations, though as Taylor notes, we don’t need to for our book’s thesis to go through.
To download the full PDF, click here: Brennan and Jaworski Respond to Taylor.
A RESPONSE TO Aimee Barbeau (2016), “Deliberative Democracy and Corporate Governance”, Bus Ethics J Rev 4(6): 34–40.
Abstract: Aimee Barbeau advances a thoughtful critique of my article, “The Connection Between Stakeholder Theory and Stakeholder Democracy: An Excavation and Defense.” Although Barbeau does much to push forward the debate about corporate governance, she does it without undermining my thesis. For what Barbeau has shown is not that stakeholder theorists should not endorse stakeholder boards of directors, but that they should also endorse other ways for stakeholders to participate in decision-making processes within firms.
To download the full PDF, click here: Moriarty Responds to Barbeau
“What Limits Should Markets be Without?” by James Stacey Taylor
A COMMENTARY ON Jason Brennan and Peter M. Jaworski (2016), Markets Without Limits: Moral Virtues and Commercial Interests (New York: Routledge)
In Markets Without Limits Brennan and Jaworski defend the view that there are “no legitimate worries about what we buy, trade, and sell.” But rather than being a unified defense of this position Brennan and Jaworski unwittingly offer three distinct pro-commodification views—two of which are subject to counterexamples. This Commentary will clarify what should be the thesis of their volume and identify the conditions that any counter-example to this must meet.
To download the full PDF, click here: Taylor on Brennan and Jaworski
A COMMENTARY ON Jeffrey Moriarty (2014), “The Connection Between Stakeholder Theory and Stakeholder Democracy: An Excavation and Defense,” Bus & Soc 53(6): 820–852. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0007650312439296
Jeffrey Moriarty argues for a return to a robust notion of stakeholder theory involving direct procedural voting by stakeholders. He asserts that such voting offers the best possible chance of restraining firm behavior and taking into account all stakeholder interests. I argue, however, that Moriarty proceeds with an overly narrow conception of democracy, ignoring problems that arise from procedural voting. Specifically, paradoxes in voting procedures, the tyranny of the majority, and the inefficacy of representation advantage well-organized and moneyed interests. A stakeholder democracy may in fact undermine the very interests that Moriarty seeks to promote.
To download the full PDF, click here: Barbeau on Moriarty
A RESPONSE TO Hamish van der Ven (2013), “Bringing Values Back into CSR”, Bus Ethics J Rev 1(16): 99–105.
Abstract: In a recent Commentary, Hamish van der Ven criticizes my strategic rationale-based approach to why firms decide to adopt and implement CSR standards. He argues that my approach is analytically flawed; rather than strategic rationale, values motivate firms in favor of CSR. In this response, I explain why I disagree with his criticism and approach. I maintain that strategic rationale, not values, drive firms’ decision-making for CSR.
To download the full PDF, click here: Thauer responds to van der Ven
A COMMENTARY ON Michael P. Levine and Jacqueline Boaks (2014), “What Does Ethics Have to do with Leadership?” J Bus Ethics 124:225-242.
Levine and Boaks criticize the extant leadership literature for misrepresenting the connection between ethics and leadership. They propose a definition that they claim is novel and based on Aristotelian virtue ethics. This commentary argues that this approach, while it is an interesting idea, is essentially un-Aristotelian and that other approaches, for instance Alejo Sison’s and Joanne Ciulla’s are not only closer to Aristotle, but also do not have the problems that the authors identify in the mainstream of the leadership literature.
To download the full PDF, click here: Schäfer and Hühn on Levine and Boaks