This course introduces students to important legal and ethical challenges they may face in business. It is designed to raise difficult ethical and legal conflicts and dilemmas, and to provide plausible frameworks for dealing with those conflicts. It is also designed to reveal common patterns of success and failure. It is not intended to convert sinners into saints, preach absolute truths, convey the wisdom of moral philosophers, or deter the morally vulnerable. We begin with the “big” questions about economic life. What are basic ways to think about ethics? What is the rationale for capitalism? After looking at the big issues, we will look at more concrete questions about the obligations of corporations, managers and employees. Do corporations have any obligations besides making money for their shareholders? If a multinational operates in a country where child labor is the norm, does that make it acceptable for the company to hire children?
Readings will be drawn from moral and political philosophy, economics, and business case studies. Class sessions will consist of collaborative case discussions, exercises, and discussions of theoretical frameworks for interpreting ethics and law. An emphasis will be placed on class discussion.