Session 9 Nozick, Rawls, and Justice

Session 9 notes

Featured image is John Rawls…


Most people find the Nozick and Rawls readings a bit tough, but just keep in mind they are both dealing with the question of distributive justice and that they are in dialogue with each other.  Distributive justice is basically “fairness” in the sense of how can we deal fairly with who gets what in material society.  We could call it “equality” except no one argues for total equality, but rather the fairest way to have inequality.

If you WANT to sign up for Food Inc, let me know right away.

Blog post:  It is up.  “Who do you choose for the apocalypse?”  Hats off to Mona and Ben for a creative addition to the panoply of prompts.

Paper 1- you will get yours by class if you have not.  We will discuss revision plans in class.

BRING to class

  1. a) Computer
  2. b) Your copy of Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace.

HW questions. (Length is minimum, not maximum).

1)   Why are “time slices” important to Nozick’s argument? (2-3 sentences)

2)   Pick one to answer

  1. Why is the “veil of ignorance” important to Rawls’ argument? (2-3 sentences?”
  2. Under what condition are inequalities in wealth or material goods acceptable?  Why (hint: second principle)? (2-3 sentences).

3)   If this is the first time you have seen Food Inc,  what was most impressive to you about our food system?  If this is the second (or more, sorry) time, what did you notice that seems new or different than your previous reaction? (2-3 sentences).

4)   What is one aspect of Whole Food’s management or practices that Rawls or Nozik would like?  Be specific?  Would the OTHER philosopher than the one you chose disapprove?  Why? (one paragraph).

Session 7 Questions, Ashoka, Kant

1) Consequentialism and utilitarianism are usually seen as useful but a school of ethics no one actually embraces. Haines offers two reasons why consequentialism is worthwhile. What are they? Which one do you find more convincing?
2) Norman Bowie argues that Kant can be the basis for business ethics. What is one part of his argument that you see illustrated or explained in either the Ashoka case or the readings last week on social entrepreneurs?
3) What was Drayton’s initial insight about Ashoka and social entrepreneurs in terms of how social entrepreneurship happens? What was the role of the individual?
a. As Ashoka grew and embarked on everyone a changemaker, did Drayton’s initial insight change? Are there any tensions between early Ashoka and the EACH program/strategy?

Featured image: Immanuel Kant

Session 6 Preparation Questions

  • You are an accountant with Arthur Andersen in 1998. You are assigned to the lucrative Enron account as an auditor.  Enron asks you to approve a financial report that you think misrepresents Enron’s liabilities due to the use of Special Purpose Entities [SPE].  You are unsure what to do, ethically.  You go to visit an old friend who took business ethics with you.  Your friend, (insert name) reminds you of three major schools of ethical decision making- utilitarian, deontological, and virtue-based.  Describe in 1-2 sentences (or more) for each school what criteria it would use to make an ethical decision about the Enron situation.   You can write this as a conversation with your friend as long as you are clear about the ethical ideas.  (1-2 paragraphs total).
  • Discuss either the chapter on Fabio Rosa or on the rise of social entrepreneurs. What is a key lesson or insight for this class?  Use a quotation at least. (3-4 sentences, at least).
  • How does the Grameen bank and Muhammad Yunus’ perspective on poverty alleviation differ from a traditional idea of charity or helping the poor? (2-3 sentences)

Muhammad Yunnus Talking to Grameen Loanees.

yunuus and grameen

The “Asshole Story”: Enron, Skilling and Information Literacy

“You appreciate it?” was Richard Grubman’s response to Jeff Skilling dodging his persistent questions about the financial health of Enron on April 17, 2001.

Next, Skilling called him an “asshole” on a conference call with investment managers and analysts. I had heard about this infamous and perhaps symptomatic of the problems with Enron moment for years.  I decided to see if I could actually hear it.

  1. First, I’ll say something about that the conversation.
  2. Then, I’ll discuss research process.

According to the account in the book, Smartest Guys in the Room, by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, the investor relations manager, Koenig, I think, knew they had problems as soon as the “asshole” hit the fan, so to speak..  Others had their jaws metaphorically or even literally hit the floor.  Why? Continue reading The “Asshole Story”: Enron, Skilling and Information Literacy

Session 5 Notes

  1. Enron Case A and B [HBS].  Part B is HARD copy that was theoretically mailed to you.

______Ian Glecker__________________ (wed)

As sometimes this causes problems, I am including my pdf copy here under the assumption that you did PAY for it and I am just giving you an easier to access copy.

  1. Watch Bigger than Enron   You can find the link on the Stakeholder Hub on the left menu under “Multimedia.”  Tricky, I am that way.  J
  2. Stout, Shareholder Value Myth Ch 5-end.

_____ Daniel C _______________ (wed)

Optional: I have the actual Powers Report if you are interested in seeing it.  Ask me.

Optional: Al Dunlap, one of the key people discussed in the documentary, was also part of an interesting TAL program about sociopathy.  The journalist investigates whether or not Dunlap is a sociopath which ties in to some of Stout’s critiques of the shareholder ideology as encouraging sociopathic behavior.  Link.


Daily Prep HW questions (meant to be slightly less.)

1)      Why study Enron now?  Is it “only” history, or does it point out current issues in business and society? (2-3 sentences)  BE specific and use case or film.

2)      If you have to pick ONE cause of the collapse of Enron, what would you pick and why (use at least cases Enron A and B, if not ALSO the documentary). (one paragraph)

3)      In Stout’s book, which chapter did you find had the most important critique or possible solutions?  Summarize why this chapter is your choice (one paragraph)


Featured Image: Enron logo being removed from a stadium in Texas

A Different Way to Manufacture in South East Asia

Interesting story about how Ball manufacturing, who make cans, approached expanding production into newly reforming Myanmar.   My favorite part is when exploring where to build and a local says they can dump waste into the local river and the company is like, “um, no thanks.”

Listen here:

Session 4 Questions (Green Mountain, etc)

  1. The two Green Mountain cases are ten years apart in publication date (2004, 2014). Describe any major changes in the company. Be specific and use the exhibits if you can (2-3 sentences).
  2. What is the demonstrable progress towards reducing hunger in Latin America? What further information would you have liked (Be specific). (2-3 sentences).
  3. Lynn Stout in the Shareholder Value Myth describes how the SVM is “wrong’ on law, economics, and evidence. Pick ONE of these and summarize her argument (1 Paragraph).
  4. Describe how you would use one technique from Managing for Stakeholders in one context or moment at Apple, Nike, or Green Mountain Coffee. (One paragraph)

By the way, Green Mountain Coffee acquired Kuerig in 2006.   Also,  Keurig Green Mountain was acquired by a private equity fund last year so it is no longer a public corporation, but privately held.


Featured image is from a Guardian report about Fair Trade compared to Starbucks.

Daily Prep HW Questions, Session 3

Daily Prep HW Session 3 Spring 2016

Featured image: From Ballinger’s twitter account.  I assume it is him?

1)      Jensen believes he is improving stakeholder theory.  Why?  Use quotations where you can.  (1-2 paragraphs).

2)      What would Jensen advise Nike and Phil Knight at a particular point in its history of labor outsourcing and its role in its strategy?  Be clear about which point in time you are advising Nike (1 paragraph).

3)      Imagine you are a senior executive at Nike in 1995-1999.  You have a healthy dose of “sociological imagination.”  What kinds of approaches or solutions to Nike does that provide you? (1 paragraph)

4)      In the Nike case, what do you think is a key issue?  What additional information (be specific) would you like?  Does the case provide the best information for your issue? (2-3 sentences)

Bonus: Profile of anti-sweatshop activist Jeff Ballinger.

“The educated do not share a common body of information, but a common state of mind.” – Mason Cooley