Business Ethics in Our Era

This Chronicle post reports on a meeting where business schools continue to re-think the content of their curricula in the wake of the financial crisis. As I have noted elsewhere, the MBA is already under some scrutiny for its role in offshoring (aka outsourcing) so much of our productivity. (I am suddenly reminded of the line from Bruce Springsteen’s “My Hometown” when he sings “The foreman says ‘those jobs are going boys and they ain’t coming back.'”)

Essentially, liberal business faculty are arguing that businesses should be more social responsible. While I agree, that is not the nature of capitalism, which is really about efficiency and not about doing the right thing. Thus I find myself in agreement with Aneel Karnarni, of the University of Michigan, whom the Chronicle reports as saying: “business schools should stop demonizing government and regulation and recognize that the fiscal crisis was caused not by a lack of ethics but by a lack of regulation. Publicly held businesses should just follow rules set by the government and not try to solve the world’s social problems if doing so cuts into their profits.”