BEJR author Interview: Peter Jaworski

Peter_JaworskiPeter Jaworski is Assistant Teaching Professor of Business Ethics in Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. He’s the author of “Moving Beyond Market Failure: When the Failure is Government’s”, published in BEJR in February of 2013 and downloaded 300 times since then in PDF format.

BEJR co-editor, Alexei Marcoux, caught up with Peter to talk to him about his experience publishing in BEJR and his current projects.
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Alexei Marcoux: What inspired you to submit a Commentary to BEJR?

Peter Jaworski: I thought it would be a great way to engage with the literature. I didn’t have a significant criticism, just a small disagreement. I thought BEJR would be perfect for that. And I was right.

AM: Was your Commentary in BEJR part of a larger project? What was it?

PJ: In my case it was. I ended up writing a longer piece [Journal of Business Ethics, “An absurd tax on our fellows”] that expands on and refines my comments for BEJR. Reading the response to my Commentary gave me the opportunity to clarify my meaning and, I think, to more relevantly engage with the material. I’m still interested in that broader project — of discussing rent seeking and crony capitalism as a government failure, of more importance to our understanding of the professional obligations and role morality of politicians and government actors, rather than thinking of it as a problem for market actors.

AM: How did writing for BEJR fit into your workflow?

PJ: Sometimes, when reading an article, I write a few pages in response to that article. Like when you have a nagging criticism, or just a small worry, or what you hope is a clarification or better way of putting something. I think we all probably do that. That doesn’t always turn into a larger project. And with BEJR, it doesn’t have to be a bigger project. So it fit in brilliantly.

AM: What was the editorial experience like?

PJ: Is this where I say nice things about you and Chris? There’s some sort of journalistic problem with you asking me this question, I’m sure, but I’ll answer anyways: It was great. Feedback came quickly, a decision was faster than any place else I’ve ever submitted to, and the instructions were clear. A model for others to follow, I’d say.

AM: Did your Commentary get some attention on social media? We try hard to get the word out about everything we publish. Did it work?

PJ: Yes, some. I think a lot of people read it, and I did get more email on account of it than anything else I’ve published in an academic journal.

AM: BEJR published your Commentary on Joseph Heath in February of 2013, and less than a month later we published a Response from Heath. What was it like having Heath respond to your Commentary?

PJ: You know, Joe Heath really sparked a strong interest on my part in business ethics. He wasn’t alone, but I look forward to reading his articles because each time I feel like he’s onto something important, significant, and is making moves in the literature that push all of us forward. So it was exciting to see his Response (even though it was a pretty grumpy response overall).

AM: How has being published in BEJR changed your attitude toward publishing?

PJ: That’s a bit of a tough question. It’s changed my attitude about what publishing might be like. I love how fast and responsive the process was at BEJR, which I’d like to see copied at other places. In a way, it makes me realize that it’s at least possible to have an academic conversation, in print, with others where the turnaround time for salvos is less than 12 months.

AM: What are you working on currently?

PJ: Most importantly, I’m working in the moral limits of markets research area. With my colleague, Jason Brennan, I have an article forthcoming in Ethics entitled “Markets without Symbolic Limits,” and we expect to publish our book, Markets Without Limits: Commercial Interests and Moral Virtues, in October of this year. I hope this helps spark some interest, and so I expect to spend my 2015 talking about markets in kidneys in blood and about commercial surrogacy and so on. Apart from that research area, I’m also active in issues surrounding “ownership.” I’m interested in whether or not we can continue to claim an ownership stake in some object after some passage of time, and I’m interested in what objects or things in the world are “fit” for the ownership relation (rather than guardianship, or stewardship, for example).
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You can see Peter in action in this Learn Liberty video, “Should Collegiate Athletes Be Paid?”



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