From May 23-25, I’ll be participating in a colloquium on “Virtues and Entrepreneurship,” organized by Sweden’s Ratio Institute. My talk will be an extension of the theme of my “What Business Ethics Can Learn from Entrepreneurship,” arguing that the success traits of entrepreneurship map onto an updated Aristotelian virtue set. The conference will include keynote speeches by Deirdre McCloskey, author of The Bourgeois Virtues, and Saras Sarasvathy, author of Effectual Entrepreneurship.
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Robert Salvino (Economics, Coastal Carolina University) spoke at Rockford College on “Entrepreneurship and Public Policy.” In this follow-up interview, Salvino and I discuss entrepreneurial success traits, the institutional framework within which entrepreneurship best flourishes, the relative success of market-friendly versus government-chosen entrepreneurship policies (including examples such as Google, Apple, Solyndra, etc), the effect of employer-provided healthcare on self-employment rates, Salvino’s suggested general entrepreneurship-friendly public policies, and China’s success in lifting 600 million people out of poverty over the last generation.
The talk was sponsored by the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship.
Posted 2 weeks, 1 day ago at 1:34 pm. Add a comment
In my Business and Economic ethics course, we have started discussing Arnold Kling and Nick Schulz’s From Poverty to Prosperity: Intangible Assets, Hidden Liabilities and the Lasting Triumph over Scarcity. The book was re-issued in paperback with the title Invisible Wealth: The Hidden Story of How Markets Work. As I wrote earlier, it’s a very good book:
I found it an exciting read, in part because I teach business ethics and philosophy of economics and I’m used to being immersed in the mainstream perspective, much of which I disagree with. So it was refreshing to find a kindred approach in Kling and Shulz’s economics that emphasizes:
* The foundational role of entrepreneurs, rather than seeing workers as performing pre-existing functions. (”Entrepreneurs are the heart of the economy, pumping innovation through the system.”)
* Consequently, starting one’s economic analysis with production, not welfarist distribution. (E.g., “although the supply of physical matter on earth is finite, the number of ways to re-arrange matter is infinite.”)
* Studying real human agents, not simplified abstractions that fit one’s models. (E.g., economists “should study economic history to give meat and sinews to the formal models that they’re studying, so that we do not become, God forbid, a branch of applied mathematics.”)
* Highlighting the importance of intangible resources and the knowledge economy, not simply the material resource economy. (E.g., “the average citizen in many advanced industrial nations has over $400,000 in intangible net worth.”)
* That plenty, not scarcity, is normal. (As the authors put it pithily: “To understand the plight of the workers a century ago, we’d read The Grapes of Wrath; to understand the plight of the workers today, we watch Supersize Me.”)
* That, consequently, win-win social relations are normal and the proper benchmark, not the usual expectation of zero-sum.
Kling and Schulz have put it together in a highly readable public intellectual book that draws upon and makes accessible the scholarly work of Douglass North, Robert Fogel, Joel Mokyr, Robert Solow, and Paul Romer.
The layout of the book is also intriguing and well done, alternating between explanatory essays on key economic themes and interviews with major economists: North, Fogel, Romer, Solow, Mokyr, along with William Easterly, Amar Bhide, William Lewis, William Baumol, and Edmund Phelps.
So get this book and learn about what the authors call Economics 2.0.
Posted 1 month, 1 week ago at 10:54 am. Add a comment
On March 28, Terry Noel, Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University, will visit Rockford College to give two talks: “The Virtuous Entrepreneur” and “Entrepreneurship and Management.” Dr. Noel is the author of Empty Nest Egg and a frequent speaker on entrepreneurial themes.
Contact Virginia Murr at CEE@Rockford.edu for more details.
Update: My post-lecture video-interview with Professor Noel on the new entrepreneurial economy, positive and negative ethics, and success traits of entrepreneurs.
Posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago at 3:40 pm. Add a comment
My full interview with Magatte is now up at the CEE site.
From the introduction: “Forbes magazine named Magatte Wade one of the “20 Youngest Power Women of Africa.” Magatte was born in Senegal, educated in France, and started her entrepreneurial career in the U.S. Her first company, Adina World Beverages, based on indigenous Senegalese beverage recipes, became one of the most widely distributed U.S. brands started by an African entrepreneur. Her second company, Tiossan, sells skin care products based on indigenous Senegalese recipes online and at high-end boutiques. Magatte was also named a Young Global Leader by the 2011 World Economic Forum at Davos and is a frequent speaker on college campuses.”
More Kaizen interviews with leading entrepreneurs.
Posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago at 6:33 pm. Add a comment
I was interviewed by David Hutzelman on a variety of topics: entrepreneurial ethics, why business ethics should focus on the positive more than the negative, our cultural progress in developing institutions of trust and becoming comfortable with non-traditional social relationships. Here’s Part I of the interview:
Update: The full interview is now available. In the second half we discuss the exit and voice differences between political and market management, sports ethics, the parallels between sports and business, whether one should be optimistic or pessimistic about the future, Ayn Rand and (briefly) Austrian economics.
Posted 3 months ago at 3:48 pm. 1 comment
I interviewed Arielle John, an economist at Beloit College, Wisconsin, about the influence of culture on entrepreneurship. Professor John focuses her research on Trinidad, and she starts by noting striking differences in entrepreneurship rates among Trinidad’s ethnic groups. Her explanation invokes the distinction between Kirznerian and Schumpeterian entrepreneurship, ethnic social networks, and Trinidad’s post-colonial political culture. Here’s our 15-minute discussion after her lecture at Rockford College:
Also posted at the CEE site.
Posted 3 months, 2 weeks ago at 4:34 pm. Add a comment
Springer’s massive 1,581-page Handbook of the Philosophical Foundations of Business Ethics is now online. The multi-volume work covers business ethics from almost every conceivable perspective–Aristotelian, Marxist, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Kantian, utilitarian, feminist, free market, and more.
I contributed the essay entitled “Entrepreneurship and Ethics,” which appears on pages 1239-1246.
Cite: Handbook of the Philosophical Foundations of Business Ethics. Editor: Christoph Luetge. Springer 2013. ISBN: 978-94-007-1493-9 (Print) 978-94-007-1494-6 (Online).