Ethics

How Daoism can make a difference in business

Journalists, writers and scholars alike all highlight the necessity of virtues in business, though of course with different emphases. While journalists and writers may be more interested in drawing those business virtues from popular, successful and pragmatic business people, scholars tend to recite classics of virtue ethics, like Aristotle, Adam Smith, Thomas Aquinas or Catholic social teaching amongst others. […]

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    How to ensure future brain technologies will help and not harm society

How to ensure future brain technologies will help and not harm society

Thomas Edison, one of the great minds of the second industrial revolution, once said that “the chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.” Understanding the human brain – how it works, and how it is afflicted by diseases and disorders – is an important frontier in science and society today.

Advances in neuroscience and technology increasingly […]

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    The challenge for impact investing is management, not measurement

The challenge for impact investing is management, not measurement

It feels like we’re at an important point in the evolution of impact investing.  While the field has shown tremendous growth over the past few years, there are far more asset owners still sitting on the sidelines – interested in impact, but not yet investing. So why is it that – to quote the famous impact investor Bono – […]

Ethical problems in business start with biases in judgement

Decision-making is a complicated process. Making decisions that involve ethical choices is even more complex. In fact, many times leaders don’t even recognise when decisions involve an ethical component, which is when disaster can strike.

Unethical choices made by corporate executives and leaders have received increasingly high-profile attention in the media, resulting in far-reaching negative consequences for their organisations. This […]

February 28th, 2017|Ethics, Thomas A. Zeni|0 Comments|

How beneficial are benefit corporations?

Benefit corporations are a new, fast-growing legal form of for-profit incorporation. They are under no legal obligation to maximise shareholder value. Instead, they are legally bound to pursue social benefit. At present, Benefit corporations (or some variant thereof) exist in the UK, Italy, and 31 of the 50 states in the US. Legislation is advancing in Australia, Argentina, Chile, Colombia […]

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    The ethics of New Zealand selling citizenship to tech investor Peter Thiel

The ethics of New Zealand selling citizenship to tech investor Peter Thiel

Billionaire Peter Thiel has never lived in New Zealand and has no intention of doing so. In fact, Thiel has only visited New Zealand four times. But he has New Zealand citizenship. How did he get it? Basically, he bought it.

More precisely, New Zealand’s minister of internal affairs waived the normal requirements for naturalization in Thiel’s case. You normally need to […]

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    The long-lasting and damaging influence of commissions on experts’ advice

The long-lasting and damaging influence of commissions on experts’ advice

Experts often face a dilemma when clients ask for advice on risky decisions. For example, your financial adviser might be tempted to sell you a risky investment on which he earns sales commission or other benefits – even though he thinks that a more conservative investment would suit you better. Such behaviour then collides with the ideal of giving […]

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    When Goldman Sachs hires the former president of the European Commission

When Goldman Sachs hires the former president of the European Commission

Business interests are key to European integration. Without them, there would have been no Single European Act, Schengen treaty or Eurozone. The Founding Father of the European project, Jean Monnet, was himself a member of the early 20th century class of industrial business elites and following his resignation as Vice Secretary General of the League of Nations, he worked […]

What neuroscience can(not) bring to the world of business

Through the clinical application of neuroscience, researchers are now in a much better position to understand and treat brain-related illnesses. However, hardly a day passes without neuroscience being hailed in the media as a panacea for a variety of problems afflicting many non-clinical disciplines. Follow your imagination, and add the prefix ‘Neuro’ to any kind of existing discipline, and […]

Screening job applicants on social media may hurt the firm

In today’s high-tech society, the challenge is no longer how to find information on job applicants, but rather to determine which information is key to one’s recruitment and selection plans. The proliferation of social networks has created means for self-expression, often in many different ways that reflect people’s personal and professional selves. However, we ask this: Is social media content helpful […]

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    Volkswagen affair: global coordination is needed to enforce ethical corporate behaviour

Volkswagen affair: global coordination is needed to enforce ethical corporate behaviour

DECEIT, FRAUD, REGULATORY EVASIONS, WINDOW DRESSING: words that have become far too familiar in business news headlines. The Volkswagen emissions scandal is the latest example of disingenuous corporate malpractice that has already had far-reaching consequences for the ordinary customer, shareholder, and any other stakeholder directly or indirectly impacted by the actions of a few.

The outrage against the VW Group […]

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    A mathematician takes issue with supermarket price promotion gambits

A mathematician takes issue with supermarket price promotion gambits

In the spring of 2015, the consumer magazine Which? issued a report claiming that discounts by supermarkets are often misleading. As a mathematician and game theorist, I was asked to comment on this in the BBC radio show “PM” (for “afternoon”) hosted by Eddie Mair on 21 April. I find that the time to contribute in a live broadcast is […]

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    Ethics will be as central as economics to the future of the news industry

Ethics will be as central as economics to the future of the news industry

I do not know of any industry that has been through such an existential crisis as journalism has in the last decade or so. I spent over 20 years working in news and current affairs before joining the LSE nine years ago where my research has been largely about how the news media tries to discover a new business […]

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    Nudging the pub: a change in choice architecture can help pub-goers drink less

Nudging the pub: a change in choice architecture can help pub-goers drink less

The Government uses various policy tools to reduce alcohol consumption. There are restrictions on promotions, information campaigns, and pricing policies. These policies do not stand unchallenged. Restrictions on promotions irk business, information campaigns fail to reach the less educated, and pricing policies hurt responsible but poor consumers. So what about Thaler and Sunstein’s Nudge? Nudges keep choices open but […]