PHIL 235.3 — Business and Professional Ethics

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2014 Q2 Section (01)

Can Programs be (Legal) Agents? (06..06.14)

In view of our discussion in class this afternoon, the following article by philosopher Samir Chopra (Brooklyn College, CUNY) is almost too tasty:

Computer Programs are People, Too (The Nation, 05.29.14)

The Corporation (2003) (06.03.14)

Since I'll be making mention of their views a few lectures hence--and since, in my experience, it is bound to come up--I include below the 2003 documentary film The Corporation, written by UBC law professor Joel Bakan and directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott. As it happens, I don't endorse the main argument presented in the film, but it certainly is an interesting thesis and definitely worth considering in connection with arguments from Peter French and Patricia Werhane concerning the purported moral agency of corporations.



CEO Pay in Canada (06.02.14)

Since the topic will be coming up in a few days, I thought I'd pass along the following, which is more or less self-explanatory:

Pay is on the Rise for Canada's Top Executives, Globe and Mail, June 1, 2014

Also, for fun, see how long it takes top Canadian executives to make your annual salary:

Interactive: How long does it take Canada's top CEOs to make your entire salary?, Globe and Mail, June 2, 2014

Apparently Gerald Schwartz (ONEX Corporation) makes my salary in less than two hours.




2008 T1 Section (M01)

Inevitable Video Link: The Corporation (10.10.08)

Mentioned in class today (it had to come up sooner or later): The 2003 Canadian documentary film The Corporation. Quite a few of the views presented in the film are at least debatable. Nonetheless, at a minimum, the film provides a very useful, very interesting, and highly entertaining overview of some the issues that we've discussed in class in connection with corporate moral and social responsibility. Turns out, no surprise, you can watch the whole thing online:

The Corporation (2003)
Directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, written by Joel Bakan

Worth a watch while you are digesting your turkey this weekend (assuming that sort of carnivorous behaviour is your cup of tea).

Does the free market corrode moral character? (06.10.08)

As Chris MacDonald reports on The Business Ethics Blog, that's the topic of a recent online symposium sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. It's certainly worth a look for anyone interested in the topic. Moreover, Chris's blog is an excellent source of topics and material for the term paper assignment in this course.

Does the free market corrode moral character?
(Chris MacDonald, The Business Ethics Blog, 06.10.08)


Some Supplementary Material: Friedman in His Prime (29.09.08)

The link below points to a 1975 video from Open Mind, featuring Milton Friedman at perhaps the height of his rhetorical powers. There are several interesting aspects to the video. For instance, the completely unselfconscious use of the term "man" when referring both to human beings in general and to individual workers. Also, the weird dissonant theme music and modernism-on-a-budget, Brancusi-esque opening graphics--you just don't see that sort of thing any more. Perhaps the most interesting aspect, however, is that Friedman's views--near orthdoxy for the last 30 years--are presented in 1975 as radical.

Open Mind: Milton Friedman
(YouTube, link via Marginal Revolution)

This isn't required viewing for the course, but I thought it might be interesting to some students, especially those who are unfamiliar with Friedman's views. Libertarianism of that sort seems to be under threat these days, in light of recent events in the U.S. financial markets. Whether or not that turns out to be true, it is definitely the case that Friedman helped to establish the economic/ideological orthodoxy that has predominated over the last 25 years or so.


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Last Updated: 19.06.2014