Prioritizing Democracy: A Commentary on Smith's Presidential Address to the Society for Business Ethics

Abraham Singer, Amit Ron

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

In his 2018 presidential address to the Society of Business Ethics, Jeffery Smith claimed that political approaches to business ethics must be attentive to both the distinctive nature of commercial activity and, at the same time, the degree to which such commercial activity is structured by political decisions and choices. In what we take to be a friendly extension of the argument, we claim that Smith does not go far enough with this insight. Smith's political approach to business ethics focuses solely on the outcomes of political choices. But if we think of politics in terms of processes-as in, ongoing disagreement and contest-and not merely a series of legal, administrative, or institutional outcomes, a different view of business ethics emerges. In particular, we argue that such an emphasis points us toward seeing business actors as having a normative duty to preserve the integrity and functioning of democracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-153
Number of pages15
JournalBusiness Ethics Quarterly
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Fingerprint

Presidential Address
Business Ethics
Democracy
Business ethics
Integrity
Contests
Functioning

Keywords

  • democratic theory
  • division of moral labor
  • market failures approach to business ethics
  • PCSR
  • realist political theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Philosophy
  • Economics and Econometrics

Cite this

Prioritizing Democracy : A Commentary on Smith's Presidential Address to the Society for Business Ethics. / Singer, Abraham; Ron, Amit.

In: Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 1, 01.01.2020, p. 139-153.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

@article{eb0c179119724bbba04c79a141e89a46,
title = "Prioritizing Democracy: A Commentary on Smith's Presidential Address to the Society for Business Ethics",
abstract = "In his 2018 presidential address to the Society of Business Ethics, Jeffery Smith claimed that political approaches to business ethics must be attentive to both the distinctive nature of commercial activity and, at the same time, the degree to which such commercial activity is structured by political decisions and choices. In what we take to be a friendly extension of the argument, we claim that Smith does not go far enough with this insight. Smith's political approach to business ethics focuses solely on the outcomes of political choices. But if we think of politics in terms of processes-as in, ongoing disagreement and contest-and not merely a series of legal, administrative, or institutional outcomes, a different view of business ethics emerges. In particular, we argue that such an emphasis points us toward seeing business actors as having a normative duty to preserve the integrity and functioning of democracy.",
keywords = "democratic theory, division of moral labor, market failures approach to business ethics, PCSR, realist political theory",
author = "Abraham Singer and Amit Ron",
year = "2020",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1017/beq.2019.38",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "30",
pages = "139--153",
journal = "Business Ethics Quarterly",
issn = "1052-150X",
publisher = "Philosophy Documentation Center",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Prioritizing Democracy

T2 - A Commentary on Smith's Presidential Address to the Society for Business Ethics

AU - Singer, Abraham

AU - Ron, Amit

PY - 2020/1/1

Y1 - 2020/1/1

N2 - In his 2018 presidential address to the Society of Business Ethics, Jeffery Smith claimed that political approaches to business ethics must be attentive to both the distinctive nature of commercial activity and, at the same time, the degree to which such commercial activity is structured by political decisions and choices. In what we take to be a friendly extension of the argument, we claim that Smith does not go far enough with this insight. Smith's political approach to business ethics focuses solely on the outcomes of political choices. But if we think of politics in terms of processes-as in, ongoing disagreement and contest-and not merely a series of legal, administrative, or institutional outcomes, a different view of business ethics emerges. In particular, we argue that such an emphasis points us toward seeing business actors as having a normative duty to preserve the integrity and functioning of democracy.

AB - In his 2018 presidential address to the Society of Business Ethics, Jeffery Smith claimed that political approaches to business ethics must be attentive to both the distinctive nature of commercial activity and, at the same time, the degree to which such commercial activity is structured by political decisions and choices. In what we take to be a friendly extension of the argument, we claim that Smith does not go far enough with this insight. Smith's political approach to business ethics focuses solely on the outcomes of political choices. But if we think of politics in terms of processes-as in, ongoing disagreement and contest-and not merely a series of legal, administrative, or institutional outcomes, a different view of business ethics emerges. In particular, we argue that such an emphasis points us toward seeing business actors as having a normative duty to preserve the integrity and functioning of democracy.

KW - democratic theory

KW - division of moral labor

KW - market failures approach to business ethics

KW - PCSR

KW - realist political theory

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85077335930&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85077335930&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1017/beq.2019.38

DO - 10.1017/beq.2019.38

M3 - Review article

AN - SCOPUS:85077335930

VL - 30

SP - 139

EP - 153

JO - Business Ethics Quarterly

JF - Business Ethics Quarterly

SN - 1052-150X

IS - 1

ER -