An examination of ethical questions relating to business activity. Topics include: economic justice, the moral responsibilities of corporations, rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, business and consumers, regulation of business.
Fall Semester informationAndrew Smith
233A: Ethics & Business
My aim in this course is to provide tools for addressing ethical problems arising in business, to show how to apply these tools to prominent ethical problems arising in business, and to explore ideas about how to improve business practices in light of such problems. Prominent ethical problems we will consider include the ethics of investing and consuming products from morally suspect businesses, deceptive and manipulative sales and advertising tactics, businesses' role in social justice and reducing climate change, and the ethics of whistleblowing. In addressing these problems, we will often ask: do individuals within businesses have ethical duties to respond to these problems; if so, which individuals and what duties? Or do any duties that exist instead lie with the government or society? We will consider how to improve business practices by discussing ethical models for structuring businesses and the ethics and justice of capitalism. Assignments consist of five short papers and weekly online quizzes/assessments. Weekly online participation is expected.