ow much do you value your eyesight? Would you be willing to trust your eyesight to a pair of “safety” spectacles retailing for $1.99? Oregonians are mesmerized by the solar eclipse that will occur on August 21. Some people will experience the total eclipse from their homes; many other people will have to brave traffic […]

Although the Chinese are well-equipped with electronic gadgets, including smart phones and tablets, they buy most things with cash. They have yet to develop a credit economy. Chinese consumers’ inexperience with credit make them susceptible to fraud on a massive scale. Then again, Chinese retailers’ inexperience with credit also make them susceptible to fraud on […]

America’s extractive industries, including fishing, timber, and mining, have receded in relative importance during the past century. Whenever I venture into stores, however, I realize the nature of the extraction has merely shifted venue. Multi-floor department stores, for instance, have escalators set up in such a manner that you can’t simply keep going down or […]

The recent controversy regarding United Airlines, the Chicago police, and a recalcitrant passenger highlight the vulnerability of companies to social media. I am not defending or condemning United Airlines’ actions. I am a long-time flier with the company, and I have found their service representatives to be consistently helpful. I have qualms about their MileagePlus […]

“What’s an economist like you doing writing a column on business ethics?” readers might be thinking. What can economists, who are renowned for their celebration of self-interested behavior, add to the discussion on business ethics? Economists, indeed, discuss and even laud self-interested behavior. Most of the time, they are using self-interested behavior as an assumption […]

Abraham Lincoln liked to eat beef. His chef somehow got army commissary officers to deliver choice cuts from the military herds around Washington, D.C. When Lincoln realized where his steaks originated, he put a stop to the practice. He noted that the largest scandals often erupted from some minor indiscretion, such as getting the choicest […]

For regular fans dreaming of obtaining Super Bowl tickets for a few hundred dollars, they face similar odds to those of a “Hail, Mary” 60-yard pass at the end of a game.

A recent article in Ideas at Work depicted the limitations of teaching business ethics to college and MBA students. The dean of the Columbia University Business School reflected that his students lacked experience dealing with people without fancy degrees or living on below-average incomes. These students displayed little empathy and perhaps a large dose of […]

If some white-collar employees must be paid overtime, what is the ethical argument for precluding other white-collar workers from being paid overtime?

The citizens of San Diego have rejected Dean A. Spanos’, San Diego Chargers owner, plea for public funding of a new stadium for his team of highly-paid mercenaries. Proponents of publicly-financed stadiums claim that the stadium will attract visitors from outside of the metropolitan region. These visitors will not only spend money at the stadium […]