v6n3: Singer Responds to Welch and Ly, on the Role of Rawls Business Ethics

“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.


3 Comments on “v6n3: Singer Responds to Welch and Ly, on the Role of Rawls Business Ethics”

  1. Kate Jackson says:

    I’m just surprised that folks haven’t reached out to the Okin-Rawls debate for help with this. Of course, feminists attacked Rawls for ignoring one very big ‘private association’ – the family – within which must injustice has been committed throughout history. Some argued that the family was part of the basic structure. Others used it to attack Rawlsian justice ab initio. Rawls himself seemed to modify his own theory to justify bringing justice into the home, at least in certain circumstances.

  2. Abraham Singer says:

    Hi Kate,
    I do discuss the Okin-Rawls debate in my 2015 article, though admittedly briefly. To put it bluntly, I think R pays lipservice but doesn’t seem to quite get the force of Okin’s objection,.
    On a related note: have you read this article? I haven’t yet, but am excited to as it looks fantastic both substantively and methodologically. https://www.politics.ox.ac.uk/news/sophie-smith-wins-apsa-award.html

    • Katharine V Jackson says:

      AGREE re: Rawls. And I’m totally convinced the feminists are right (as are you) – Rawls proper isn’t very helpful when it comes to corporate governance. And I think the inclination to reach to Habermas is correct — but not to apply, literally, micro-level discourse theory to the firm. But rather to think about other constructivist accounts of rights. AND WHEN CAN I READ YOUR BOOK?! It looks amazing.


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