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

Greed vs. Self-Interest: Toward Markets Driven by Love

“‘When you see the greed and the concentration of power, did you ever have a moment of doubt about capitalism and whether greed is a good idea to run on?’ That question was famously asked by Phil Donahue to economist Milton Friedman in a popular exchange from 1979. If you’re a defender of free markets, it’s a question you’ve surely wrestled with. Friedman’s response is characteristically insightful and straightforward, and was recently captured in a short animated film from PolicyEd”

Making Empathy Central to Your Company Culture

“In Tim Cook’s 2017 MIT commencement address, he warned graduates, “People will try to convince you that you should keep empathy out of your career. Don’t accept this false premise.” The Apple CEO is not alone in recognizing and emphasizing the importance of empathy — the ability to share and understand others’ emotions — at work. At the time of his remarks, 20% of U.S. employers offered empathy training for managers. In a recent survey of 150 CEOs, over 80% recognized empathy as key to success.”

Sharing Profits and Ownership with Workers not only Make Them Happier, It Benefits the Bottom Line Too

“Near-record low unemployment has companies fumbling to find the best ways to recruit and retain workers. Our research suggests a sure-fire way to do just that: give them a real stake. By that we simply mean sharing some of the profits and even ownership with the men and women who are fundamental to their companies’ success. […] After conducting a massive, multi-year study of shared capitalism, we found that not only is it good for workers, it’s good for the bottom line too.”

The Investor Revolution

“Most corporate leaders understand that businesses have a key role to play in tackling urgent challenges such as climate change. But many of them also believe that pursuing a sustainability agenda runs counter to the wishes of their shareholders. Sure, some heads of large investment firms say they care about sustainability, but in practice, investors, portfolio managers, and sell-side analysts rarely engage corporate executives on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. The impression among business leaders is that ESG just hasn’t gone mainstream in the investment community.”

Socialism in Our Time?

“Bhaskar Sunkara […] has released a new book just in time for the 2020 presidential election season called The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality (Basic Books, 2019). In the book, Sunkara makes the case for why a socialist economy, government, and society is necessary, and what it might look like. He also provides an in-depth historical look at the development of socialist intellectual thought over the past 150 years. Our Economics Editor Aaron Freedman speaks with him about the past, present, and future of socialist economics.”

Employee-Owned Companies Perform Better, But Are Resisted by Banks, Lawyers and Governments

“as a form of stakeholder capitalism, the evidence shows that employee ownership boosts employee commitment and motivation, which leads to greater innovation and productivity. […] If research over the years has found that employee ownership is a successful corporate model, this raises the question of why, if this makes companies more successful, it is not more widely adopted.”

‘Do No Harm’ Isn’t Enough. Why the [Australian] Banking Royal Commission Will Ultimately Achieve Little

“Why will the recommendations not be a lasting solution? An important reason is that the royal commission interpreted ‘behaviour consistent with community standards’ in a limited way to refer to situations in which customers were actually harmed. But much of community angst over financial sector conduct relates to the broader use of market power and superior knowledge to extract an ‘unfair’ share of the benefits from transactions with customers.”

Five Reasons ‘Green Growth’ Won’t Save the Planet

“Green growth has emerged as the dominant narrative for tackling contemporary environmental problems. Its supporters […] say that sustainability can be achieved through efficiency, technology and market-led environmental action. Green growth suggests we really can have our cake and eat it – both growing the economy and protecting the planet. But when it comes to tackling the most pressing environmental problems such as climate breakdown, species extinction or resource depletion, green growth might weaken rather than strengthen progress. Here are five reasons why”

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