Archive | Business

Michelle Freeman’s “Night in the Box”

Business executive Michelle Freeman recently spent a night shivering in the cold with homeless teenagers. What “good” will that achieve when the teenagers can’t find work? What moves wealthy individuals to do “penance” for their wealth?

SEC Attacks SAC Capital

Insider trading is when someone trades with knowledge they have but which others do not. The question is whether this should be a crime.

Corporate Welfare is Immoral

In its recently released budget the Canadian (Conservative!) government announced $6.4 billion of new corporate welfare spending. The aerospace sector will receive $1.2 billion of it over the next five years, Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario $920 million, forestry companies $92 million, Venture Capital Action Plan $60 million, and $325 million will go […]

Why Whole Foods CEO John Mackey Was Right to Call Obamacare “Fascist”

Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey recently backed off his description of Obamacare as “fascism.” Mackey stated, “I made a poor word choice to describe our health care system, which I definitely regret. The term fascism today stirs up too much negative emotion with its horrific associations in the 20th century.” Actually, he should have stuck […]

Magical Thinking Won’t Stop the Layoffs

Associated Press and reports: Medical supply giant Stryker is the latest company to announce job cuts in anticipation of coming costs associated with Obamacare, even though the man who inherited a fortune from the company’s founder is a fan. The company will cut 1,170 jobs, or five percent of its worldwide workforce, despite the […]

Teamwork and the Virtue of Independence

If we are to believe people like President Obama who famously said: “You didn’t build that”, individual accomplishment is insignificant; only as a group we can build something. While collaboration, trade, and learning are great benefits of living in a society and we can often achieve more by hiring others and working together, such collaboration […]

Altruism is Not a Guide for Living—or for Business

Most of us pursue self-interest every day: we eat nutritious food,  engage in productive work (to have a purpose and to make a living), look after our health, enjoy recreation and entertainment, spend time with friends and loved ones, and go to the mall to buy things we need and want.  Business firms also pursue […]

Why Governments Should not Interfere in the Sale of Publicly Traded Companies

This is an issue mostly in countries with abundant natural resources and governments bent on economic nationalism, but it nevertheless poses an interesting ethical dilemma. Canada’s economy is dominated by resource companies: in oil and gas, minerals, the forest sector, hydro power. Often those companies become attractive takeover targets to foreign-owned firms, at which point […]

What Drives Innovation, the Engine of Economic Growth?

Many economists today are arguing that the unprecedented era of innovation—the last 250 years or so since the industrial revolution—is going to be over soon, ending economic growth. Why should we care about economic growth? Because our well-being depends on it—the alternative is the subsistence living of the pre-industrial times. Human flourishing—nutritious food, better medicine, […]

Mud Pies from the Labor Department

The funny thing about the Labor Department’s monthly unemployment report is that the number-crunching bureaucrats act like they’re delivering high carat diamonds when the real worth of what they’re reporting is closer to the value of a mud pie. First, a college graduate with a degree in biomedical engineering who gets a $90,000 job in […]

Business Success: A source of guilt or a source of pride?

One of the points of contention among the commentators on the U.S. presidential campaign is whether Mitt Romney’s business experience and success is an advantage, as those on the Republican side think or a source of guilt, as his critics argue. The Democratic critics have portrayed Romney as a heartless “robber baron” and an exploiter […]

Why business (and the rest of us) needs limited government

Many people take government involvement in the economy for granted. They agree that government should, among other things, determine who business should hire (equal opportunity/affirmative action legislation), what and how to pay employees (minimum wage laws, insider trading laws) and how to protect their health and safety (health and safety regulations), with whom it can […]

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