Articles & Blogs on the Ethics of Markets / Economics / Business

Climate Action Must Now Focus on the Global Rich and Their Corporations

“It is really important that we […] move past ‘national action plans’ and start to take action immediately against two groups largely responsible for climate change. They are the 100 or so corporations responsible for 71% of global carbon emissions and the wealthiest 10% of the global population responsible for 50% of consumption emissions. […] Focusing on the wealthy and their corporations would enable us to bring about an immediate cut in carbon emissions. But it would also form part of a just transition”

When a Country is Facing Political and Human Rights Issues, Should Businesses Leave or Stay?

“Over the course of the last few decades, multinationals have entered and left ‘frontier markets’ like Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, Vietnam, Myanmar, and others. How did they, and how can they, make decisions about entering or leaving these markets, knowing it is never certain when a political, financial, or diplomatic crisis will happen?”

Has Consumerism Taken over Christmas? Two Marketing Experts Discuss

“Christmas is a time of cheer – and shopping. For some, the commercialisation of this festive period – from column inches about Christmas adverts to the appearance of gifts and merchandise on shelves three months before – eats into the spirit of things. […] Isabelle Szmigin, professor of marketing, and Caroline Moraes, senior lecturer in marketing, talk about the balance between giving and economics, and what the season is really here for.”

When Competition Between Coworkers Leads to Unethical Behavior

“In our research, recently published in the journal Human Resource Management, we found that performance evaluation schemes based on peer comparison can encourage unethical behavior. […] We propose a subtle and simple intervention we call consequential reflection: prompt individuals to reflect on the positive and negative consequences of their decisions.”

The Sharing Economy Was Dead on Arrival

“In their early stages, these startups promised that their services would heal a society ravaged by out-of-control consumerism, restore authentic communal bonds, reduce carbon emissions and other environmental impacts, and finally replace the outmoded hierarchies of corporate life with new, networked economic structures where everyone could be their own boss. But the good intentions of yesteryear soon evaporated to reveal a markedly different reality. […] Why didn’t we see it coming? How did sharing economy companies manage to evade scrutiny for so long? Answering that question requires tracing the origins of the idea of the sharing economy.”

Piketty’s Plan for Europe Would Mean More Power to the Politicians

“all this extra cash will simply come from Evil Corporations and the rich, so the masses will remain unaffected – except if those companies compensate for higher taxes by raising prices and holding down wages. Nor do the authors seem concerned that raising corporate taxes will have a dampening effect on investment or growth, which is one of the core problems the Manifesto seeks to tackle in the first place.” – response to a manifesto launched by Thomas Piketty and others.

Neoliberalism Has Led to a Crisis in Care – And We Urgently Need to Solve It

“neoliberalism is not merely an economic system of financialised capitalism. Rather, it is also a form of reason that remakes everything into the image of the market. […] The value of people, the Earth’s resources, and all other living things are increasingly being judged by market categories such as profitability, dividends, and value appreciation — precisely like stock portfolios.”

Our Manifesto to Save Europe from Itself

“If Europe wants to restore solidarity with its citizens it can only do so by providing concrete evidence that it is capable of establishing cooperation and by making those who have gained from globalisation contribute to the financing of public-sector good. That will mean making large firms contribute more than small and medium businesses, and the richest taxpayers paying more than poorer taxpayers. This is not the case today.” – article by Thomas Piketty accompanying the launch of a Manifesto for the Democratization of Europe

Business Leaders Must Make the Moral Case for Free Markets

“Both Labour and Conservative politicians seem trapped by the prevailing wisdom that dictates that there needs to be more regulation and increased government spending and control of the economy. Few politicians are putting forward policies that suggest they believe that freedom and free markets really matter for prosperity and the quality of life.”

Woke Washing: What Happens When Marketing Communications Don’t Match Corporate Practice

“Brand activism has become the new marketing tactic of choice, and a brand’s stance on societal and political issues can offer a differentiating factor in a fast-paced corporate marketplace. […] However, while consumers expect big brands to take a stand, they may not believe them when they do.”

How the Neoliberal Obsession with Valuing Nature Changes Our Understanding of It

“Some of the arguments [against putting a price on nature] are philosophical, pointing to the inability of economics to capture the extraordinary, intrinsic character of nature. Other arguments are more practical, highlighting the difficulty of determining the economic value of a public good, such as nature, that is not traded. Both perspectives have their merits. But here I want to take a different approach, and consider what we do to nature in order to make it amenable to calculation.”

We All Buy Slave-Made Products: Here’s How We Avoid Feeling Guilty

“We consume the products of slavery every day. All of us. Today’s globalised supply chains make it is almost impossible to avoid goods or services free of the fingerprints of slavery. […] Our research, based on in-depth interviews with 40 consumers, shows the strategies people use to shrug off feeling guilty about their purchasing decisions.”

Vice or Virtue? Commercial Politeness according to Eighteenth-Century Thinkers

Commercial society as we know it today first arose in the eighteenth century. ‘Politeness’ was a buzzword in the fierce debate that was held on the newly arisen society’s moral (de)merits. Rousseau and Ferguson asked challenging questions about the conditions of political liberty, and the difficulty of, and potential limits to establishing a sincere, meaningful cosmopolitan moral culture. These questions still demand our attention, says Rudmer Bijlsma.

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