Business Ethics — Course Modules

The Great Enrichment

Hans Rosling, “200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes — The Joy of Stats,” BBC Four. Video.
Max Roser, Five Charts. Our World in Data.
John V. C. Nye, “Standards of Living and Modern Economic Growth” [CEE]
Deirdre McCloskey, “The Myth of Technological Unemployment.”


Ethical Principles: Egoism, Altruism, Predation

Stephen Hicks, “What Business Ethics Can Learn from Entrepreneurship” (2009).
Plato, “The Myth of Gyges”.
Mother Teresa, excerpt “On Prayer” from No Greater Love (1987).
Supplemental: David Henderson on Richard Thaler, “This Year’s Nobel Economist Makes Sense of Irrationality,” WSJ.


Price Controls

Rent Control
Walter Block, “Rent Control” [CEE]
Optional video lecture: S. Hicks on “Rent Controls” []
Journalism: Stockholm. Mumbai. New York. San Francisco.
Minimum Wages
Linda Gorman, Minimum Wages [CEE]
Optional video lecture: S. Hicks on Minimum Wages []
Journalism:  “The Seattle Minimum Wage Study”.


Tragedy of the Commons

Robert Lawson, “Economic Freedom” [CEE]
Robert Litan, “Regulation” [CEE]
Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons” [CEE]
Optional video lecture: Stephen Hicks, “Tragedy of the Commons” (
Optional video lecture: Mike Munger, “Market failures and Externalities”
Journalism examples: Online Dating Apps. Shared bicycles.



Frédéric Bastiat, “A Petition from the Candlemakers about Unfair Competition from the Sun” (1845).
Timothy Taylor, “The Blurry Line Between Competition and Cooperation” [CEE]
Optional: Burton Folsom, “Political Entrepreneurs vs. Market Entrepreneurs.”
Optional: Stephen Hicks, “Is Life Unfair? My Challenge to the Best Tennis Player in the World.”


Profit and Money

Journalism: John Stossel, “Greed,” ABC News Special.
Notes on ABC News Special “Greed” (1999).
Lester C. Thurow, “Profit” [CEE]
Optional: Stephen Hicks, “Profits–Good, Bad, and Obscene.”
Tara Smith, “Money Can Buy Happiness” [pdf at Reason Papers] (2003).
The Bible: “The love of money is a root of all evil.” “You cannot serve both God and money.”
Charles Mathewes and Evan Sandsmark, “Being Rich Wrecks Your Soul.”
[Optional: Stephen Hicks, Loving Money and Books — Which Is More Evil? ]



Stephen Hicks, What-Is-Government-2015 Excerpted from Political Ethics White Paper.
Ayn Rand, “The Nature of Government”.
François Melese“Corruption”, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.



Free Trade Makes You a Better Person.

Uber, Cuba, and Freedoms Small and Large.
The Trading Game: Arbitrary, Free Trade, Restrictions, Egalitarian, Authoritarian.


Resources — Plenty or Scarcity?

Do we really live in a world of scarce resources?
Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons” [CEE]
Stephen Hicks, “Lifeboat ethics: how scarcity thinking sets us at each others’ throats”.
Garrett Hardin, “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case against Helping the Poor” (1974).



Robert Nozick, “The Tale of the Slave” , from Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974). [HTML]
James Buchanan, “Saving the Soul of Classical Liberalism”, The Wall Street Journal (2000).
Robert Lawson, “Free Markets.”



F. A. Hayek, “The Use of Knowledge in Society” (1945).
Information Asymmetry :



Stephen Hicks, Why power does not corrupt — and it is character that matters most.
Third-Way Politics and Its Bitter Fruits.
Stephen Hicks, “Ethics for a Democratic Republic” (2015).
Economic and Political Power


Property Rights

International Property Rights Index.
The Kelo case.
Journalism: “An entire Manhattan village owned by black people was destroyed to build Central Park.”



Stephen Hicks, Good Monopoly, Bad Monopoly: When Are Monopolies Actually a Problem?
Who Is Really Serious About Monopolies?



Robert Litan, “Regulation
Stephen Hicks, Blamestorming and “Deregulation caused the financial crisis”.


Public Choice

David R. Henderson, “Rent Seeking”.
Wikipedia, “Rent Seeking.”
William Shughart, “Public Choice” [CEE].
Russell Roberts, “If You’re Paying, I’ll Have Top Sirloin” (1995).
Rob Norton, “Unintended Consequences” [CEE].
James M. Buchanan, “Public Choice: Politics without Romance,” Policy Magazine (2003).
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged.


Environmental Values

The Love Canal Environmental Disaster.
The Bhopal Chemical Spill Disaster.



Linda Gorman, “Discrimination.”
Claudia Goldin,
Tom Beauchamp, “McAleer v. AT&T”.
Stephen Hicks, How to Discriminate Properly



Stephen Hicks, Whistleblowing and Government Secrets, Chelsea Manning edition.



Peter Singer, “The Duty to Give to the World’s Poor”.
Stephen Hicks, Who Really Wants to Solve the Problem of Poverty?


Division of Labor

Adam Smith, “Of the Division of Labour”, Chapter 1 of The Wealth of Nations (1776).



Transparency International.
Stephen Hicks, Corruption—Is It Worse in Free or Government-Regulated Markets?



Benjamin Powell:


Child Labor

Jeffrey Tucker, “Let the Kids Work.” FEE.
Antony Davies and James Harrigan, “Child Labor Was Wiped Out by Markets, Not Government,” Words and Numbers.


Michael Munger, “When Is a Potato Chip Not Just a Potato Chip?”



Why are some countries rich and some countries poor?
Gapminder Chart.
Stephen Hicks, NA and LA.


Alexei Marcoux, “Entrepreneurship: Schumpeter, Knight, and Kirzner.”
Kirk O. Hanson, “The Ethical Challenges Facing Entrepreneurs”, WSJ.

Kaizen entrepreneur interviews.
Stephen Hicks, “What Entrepreneurs Can Teach Us All About Life,” The Wall Street Journal

Famous entrepreneurs in history

J. J. Hill
John D. Rockefeller
Cornelius Vanderbilt
Mary Kay Ash
Ray Kroc
Sam Walton
Steve Jobs

Business Ethics Cases

Chris MacDonald and Alexei Marcoux. Business Ethics Highlights.
Tom Beauchamp, “The FCC’s ‘Fairness Doctrine'”.
Telecommunications and the “‘Fairness Doctrine'”.
John Haring, “Telecommunications” [CEE].
Tom Beauchamp, “Putting the Squeeze on Citrus Hill Orange Juice” .
Tom Beauchamp, “Hooker Chemical and Love Canal” .

The Love Canal Environmental Disaster.
Tom Beauchamp, “Venture Capital for Rubbernex” .

The Bhopal Chemical Spill Disaster.



Comparing North and Latin American Economic Performance.
Indices: Index of Economic Freedom, Economic Freedom of the World, and


John Maynard Keynes, The End of Laissez-Faire

Hicks on Keynes, Can We Blame Keynes for Keynesianism?

Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson (1946).
Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson (1946).
Karl Marx, Excerpts from The Communist Manifesto .
Max Weber, excerpt from The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.






Al Gini and Ronald Green, Ten Virtues of Leadership


Bret Swanson, “The i-Phone in Your Pocket Is Worth Millions.” FEE.

Opportunity Cost

Bastiat, “The Seen and the Unseen.”

Unintended Consequences
Dispersed Costs and Concentrated Benefits
Bootleggers and Baptists


Health Care

Tom Beauchamp, “Manufacture and Regulation of Laetrile”.
“Laetrile and Pharmaceuticals”.
Charles Hooper, “Pharmaceuticals” [CEE]
Rationing. Journalism: British decision no surgery for obese or smokers.

Transaction Costs

Michael Munger, “Why We Can’t Break Up With Our Stuff Yet”

Topics to come
The Jones Act

Thomas Grennes, “An Economic Analysis of the Jones Act.”

Self-driving vehicles.
Financial services.
Stoicism and leadership.
Drug Pricing.


Recommended Other Sources

Michael Munger, Introduction to Political Economy course.
Richard Lorenc, “Twelve Economic Concepts Everyone Should Know.”
Debate Evaluation Rubric.