Ethics Roundup – Sunday – June 6th, 2010


Could British Petroleum cease to exist? Check out this article from Minyanville.

Chris MacDonald in his June 5th blog entry discusses the play between rapidly developing technological complexity and regulatory science. MacDonald quotes from Kenneth Rogoff’s article, The BP Oil Spill’s Lessons for Regulators.

Chris MacDonald in a totally successful effort to keep my off balance has a new post on June 6th. Entitled Galarraga’s Corvette, MacDonald while admitting that everyone is entitled to an opinion points out that even though tax payer dollars are involved in the company’s continued operation that doesn’t mean every corporate action should be second guessed. He says managers are there to manage. I doubt that Chris MacDonald will be very surprised (or bothered) that I don’t always agree with him but he’s dead on this time. Nit picking day to day decisions is a waste of everybody’s time and the giveaway was a shrewd PR move. jp

Dani Rodrik writing in Project Syndicate, A World of Ideas, argues that the nation-state, globalization and democracy are all incompatible with each other and that at the most we can only have two of the three. It’s a thought provoking argument.

Gael O’Brien writing on her blog, The Week in Ethics, discusses the message of John Wooden. During his lifetime, Wooden created a “pyramid of success” comprised of fifteen elements. (The diagram is included in the article.)

Edward Lotterman writing in Twin Cities dot com discusses how salaries in different currencies vary, can be compared effectively and when they can’t be compared effectively. It’s a pretty piece of writing.

Jeffrey Seglin writing in his blog, The Right Thing, tells us that Panera Bread is opening a store where you pay what you believe is appropriate for their baked goods. The new store is opening in Clayton, Missouri. Seglin is interested in your opinion. I’d go to his site and let him know. (There was only one comment when I left.)

Rod Dreher writes that the BP spill is a rolling apocalypse.

Michael Hiltzik writing on the Los Angeles Times business page discusses online privacy. He is a champion of preserving the rights of the individual and when he talks people should listen. This is an issue of considerable importance to me.

Marian Wang writing in ProPublica reports that illnesses reported by the clean up workers on the gulf coast are caused by the oil and not by the host of other possibilities the oil company or the government will cook up.

Elizabeth Warren prophecies the coming collapse of the middle class.

Ethics Round Up – June 4th 2010


Karl Stephan writing on his blog, Engineering Ethics Blog, discusses the flap over facebook and privacy. The article is far more philosophical than you world expect from an engineering blog. He refers to the phrase, digital suicide, which is so mind grabbing and delicious I can barely wait until Monday to try it out on the poor college freshman in Business Law I.

One of the editor’s picks on the web site, Ethical Corporation, is an opinion piece by Mallen Baker discussing BP recent shift to corporate villain.

Timothy Egan writing an opinion piece in the New York Times say that the “millennials” should save us. He might be right. As a 53 year old, I find my generation disappointing.
(I was going to link to an article by The Ethicist, Randy Cohen, but he chose to write about a woman who was 36 but wondered if maybe she should falsify her age on her online dating profile as 34, so you’re getting Timothy Egan.)

I just found a web site called Principled Profit, created by Shel Horowitz. His latest blog entry recommends the Department of Justice get ready for criminal investigation into the British Petroleum catastrophe. One of his subtitles is “award winning blogger.” I can’t claim that one. Maybe someday. (One of the guys who does good work in the Business Ethics field linked to me on his blog just a couple of days ago, so I am moving up in the world!)

Jonathon Tasini writing in his blog, Working Life, has some unkind things to say about Wal-Mart. (He is referring to a New York Times article.)

Loren Steffy of the Houston Chronicle discovers that the federal government’s Minerals Management Service sometimes means no when they say yes.

Chris MacDonald writing on his site, The Business Ethics Blog, has a new post up before I got finished with the last one. (I still have to read the attached paper, An Adversarial Ethic for Business or When Sun-Tzu met the Stakeholder, which he tells me is amazing so you better click on the link.) MacDonald’s new post deals with the issue of alternative medicine and is a “meta blog,” a compendium of the current blog and all previous related blogs. (You watch, one day I will have a meta-blog of my own!)

Jon Talton of the Seattle Times discusses a jobless recovery.

Jay Hancock of the Baltimore Sun discusses underfunded pensions in a video.

Rod Dreher of BeliefNet offers a simple but moving take on the crisis in the gulf.

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports that state BP filling stations are starting to feel the discontent.

Sri Sri calls for spiritual values in corporate culture –

Why Is BP Running Things?


Why Is BP Running Things?

Rod Dreher has written on this subject before. Today, he has found an article he recommends from Mother Jones that further develops his narrative of government incompetence and complicity. He also recommends John Robb’s take on the subject from Robb’s web site, Global Guerrillas.

It is obvious that British Petroleum and the Obama White House are choking off news coverage of the oil spill disaster. This has so far served to dampen the rage and concern over the catastrophe.  Both the White House and BP benefits by BP retaining control of the spill. The government does not want control of a sticky and difficult to manage situation as well as the multi-billion dollar cost of dealing with it. BP benefits by avoiding government oversight of its actions in dealing with the spill and limiting its financial liability. Of course, the nation does not benefit from letting this disaster continue supervised only by those responsible for the disaster in the first place. I think in years to come this will be used in textbooks as a classic case of government failure both before and after the disaster.

James Pilant

One angry commentator discusses the issue –

Student Loan Debt, A Crisis?


Student Loan Debt, A Crisis?

Rod Dreher writes about student loans and prudent educational expenditures. (He doesn’t think loans are a good idea.)

At the time I read his musing there were more than forty comments. You should give those a look, very perceptive comments, not what I find on many web sites. (I am most fortunate with the comments on mine.)

I am less than impressed by the student loan system in the United States.

(I was going to write this great big article talking about all the problems and incredible stupidity in paying for education this way and then, I thought about it. We can’t stop banks from gambling on $600,000,000,000 of derivatives. [World GNP is about 60 trillion] They can destroy our way of life, our entire economy, and the rest of the worlds leaving only subsistence farming. We can’t do that. What chance is there to protect students just out of high school from banking predators? There isn’t any. They are sheep. They live only to be sheared. They have no protectors, no legislators, no federal agency, and no public concern. What point is there is me telling you how foolish this is? I can’t think of any.)
jp