Posts Tagged ‘Business Ethics’

Book Review: The Red Market

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

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Carney, Scott M. The Red Market: On the trail of the world’s organ brokers, bone thieves, blood farmers and child traffickers. William Morrow, 2011.

The first urban legend that I ever heard was about a bathtub filled with ice and two missing kidneys. In the 40 years since, I have never met anyone who lost their body parts after a night of drinking, even though the demand for them is higher now than at any other time in history.

In his new book, The Red Market, investigative reporter Scott Carney shows that besides kidneys, spare parts in high demand include the heart, liver, ligaments, corneas, plasma, ova, and hair.  Whole bodies are needed for the adoption and medical cadaver industries. Economic markets are used to supply bodies and their parts, which have become commodities that are bought and sold every day.  Billions of dollars of human flesh changes hands each year.

Journalist Carney travels the world as he investigates what has gone wrong with the supply side of the system of body procurement and tissue harvesting. Under this system, donors cannot be paid for their contributions and must remain anonymous for reasons of medical privacy. Yet the recipients pay thousands of dollars for the flesh. The supply chain of middlemen profits handsomely from the exchanges, producing unsavory implications, such as the transfer of health and strength from destitute donors to wealthy recipients.

While the book contains harrowing stories about exploitation of people in third world nations, most of the book is a thoughtful treatment about the ethical issues in the economic exchange of human flesh. If you consider that each human life is precious and equal, then you must conclude that the market is not the best way to allocate health and well-being. This well-written book is engaging and thought provoking to the end.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

Book Review: Impact Investing

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

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Bugg-Levine, Antony. Impact investing : transforming how we make money while making a difference. Jossey-Bass, 2011.

This afternoon (Tuesday, December 6) at 4:00pm, the Fuqua School’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship is presenting the 2011 Leadership in Social Entrepreneurship Award to Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund.

Bugg-Levine is also author, with Jed Emerson, of Impact Investing, a new book  that describes how for-profit investments can help address social problems.  In Impact Investing, the authors outline a set of investment strategies that generate financial returns while intentionally improving social and environmental conditions.

Instead of viewing management of financial assets as a tradeoff between social and financial results, the authors show how investors can take an integrated approach, generating a blend of values of shareholders and stakeholders alike.   Impact Investing is an optimistic view of what can be achieved when financial assets are managed in unison with values and beliefs.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

Book Reviews: Devils and Quants

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

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End your summer reading with these two entertaining cautionary tales of devilish greed and hubris.

Click the titles below for information on location and availability.

© Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

Book Review: Poorly Made in China

Monday, October 12th, 2009

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Midler, Paul. Poorly made in China : an insider’s account of the tactics behind China’s production game. Wiley, 2009.

Paul Midler could be said to be biting the hand that feeds him. After all, he has built a lucrative career as a China-based manufacturing consultant, using his expert knowledge and insight into Chinese history, language, and culture. And yet, he has penned a work that, while frank in its admiration for many Chinese cultural idiosyncrasies, is also sharply critical of both the questionable ethical basis on which the Chinese have built their gargantuan export economy, and the impatience and greed of American businesses in rushing to embrace the perceived advantages of having their product lines manufactured in China.

In the 240 smoothly written and eminently readable pages of Poorly Made In China, Mr. Midler recounts his daily experiences in creating and managing relationships between Chinese factory owners and American importers, giving us example after example of why the Chinese, in his opinion, win at every hand dealt at the negotiating table of price and quality. Thus the importer and the U.S. consumer often have a good chance of ending up with a product that either degrades in quality over time or increases in cost without benefit to the consumer, or both.


Bernie Madoff: Booked at Ford Library

Monday, September 28th, 2009

bernie made-off

The end of the Bernie Madoff story has yet to be written, but books are already rolling off the presses, including five books in the month of August alone.

Here is a list of titles just purchased by the Ford Library last week.

Tip: If any of these books are currently checked out, you can recall them by clicking the “Get this Title” text in the catalog record when you follow the links above. More about recalls

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

TED Talk: Business Logic of Sustainability

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

If you have seen the documentary The Corporation you may remember Ray Anderson, owner of the carpet company Interface.  He retooled the company to take advantage of sustainable business practices after reading Paul Hawken’s book The Ecology of Commerce.

He has a new TED talk up on the business logic of sustainability.

Book Review: The Pirate’s Dilemma

Monday, April 27th, 2009

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Mason, Matt. The pirate’s dilemma : how youth culture is reinventing capitalism.. Free Press, 2008.

We are living in a time when music and art can be infinitely reproduced and instantaneously distributed all over the planet without cost. This book is about a new set of market conditions that are emerging, where piracy is just another business model and where remixing is a tool used to create change. Boundaries are coming down. Technology has removed old restrictions on new ideas. The Pirates Dilemma is essentially about sharing and using information in new ways.

Author Matt Mason is unconcerned with file sharing and downloading. File sharing sites make an abundance of music available from aspiring musicians and niche artists. He cites a study that shows downloading has boosted CD sales, and claims that file sharing has attracted a new type of music fan. And iTunes made the music industry more democratic.

This book is an interesting read, but it should not be attempted by readers who don’t know P. Diddy from 50-Cent, or Sex Pistols from the Ramones. Author Matt Mason makes his points through dozens of stories involving cultural icons, most of them from the music industry.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

Book Review: The White Tiger

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

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The white tiger: a novel by Aravind Adiga. Free Press, 2008.

Aravind Adiga’s first novel was requested by several students, who said it was a story about an entrepreneur in India. It turns out that White Tiger is not about business. It is a ruthless portrait of contemporary India.

The main character begins life in poverty and deprivation in a village in northern India. He dreams of leaving his town and finds a job as a driver/servant for wealthy landowners who move to Delhi. Eventually, he commits a brutal murder to free himself from bondage and to obtain the capital to begin a business.

Behind the story of the Indian economic miracle, with glass office towers, luxury apartments and gigantic malls, is another story of those whom the economic miracle is leaving behind. This is the story of social injustice for the poor and uneducated, and about corruption and cruelty in all levels of society.

Some people find this book to be darkly humorous — this reviewer did not. Nevertheless, the novel is a fascinating read. White Tiger won the 2008 Man Booker prize.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business. All rights reserved.

Credit and Credibility

Monday, December 8th, 2008

A recent episode of PBS’ show NOW examined the role the credit ratings agencies had in the current economic crisis. You can watch this episode on the PBS web site. The site also has links to documents from their investigation as well as comments on the future of the free market from James K. Galbraith, David Rothkopf, and Robert A.G. Monks.

Ethics in the Movies: Part 1

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

This week’s movie spotlight is on titles that feature ethics-challenged characters and characters in ethically challenging situations. Enjoy and look for another movie ethics entry soon.

  • The Constant Gardener–Based on a John Le Carre novel, the movie follows Justin Quayle, a diplomat trying to track down his wife’s murderer. Using false identities, Quayle travels across continents trying to piece together the circumstances leading to her death. He learns his wife had uncovered a corporate scandal with very deep roots.
  • Michael Clayton–Michael Clayton’s mentor Arthur Edens, the top litigator in his law firm, turns from advocate to whistleblower in a $3-billion case with a large agricultural products conglomerate, U-North. Edens has discovered U-North engaged in a major cover-up. Once Clayton realizes the extent of the company’s malfeasance, both he and Eden’s lives are in danger.
  • Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead–A dark family drama starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as an overextended broker, and Ethan Hawke as his desperate younger brother. They rob their parents’ jewelry store, but their mother ends up shot. The whole affair is further complicated when their father goes on a hunt for the culprits. Acclaimed filmmaker Sidney Lumet directs this suspense thriller.