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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Facebook Gets Political: Corporate Social Responsibility as Pursuing the Public Good

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, announced in March 2013 that he and Joe Green would co-found a political advocacy group made up of the heads of major technology companies. The group would register as a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” nonprofit—a designation that would allow the group to raise and spend an unlimited amount of money in political lobbying and advertisements. Both strategic and ethical implications exist.
The full essay is at "Taking the Face Off Facebook."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Railroad Boom: On the Ethics of the Drawback

In the first quarter of 2013, North America’s freight railroads were “in the midst of a building boom,” according to the New York Times, “unlike anything since the industry’s Gilded Age heyday in the 19th century. Meanwhile, trucking languished under high fuel prices, crowded highways, driver shortages, and cost-driving regulations. Meanwhile, freight rates were nearly half what they had been in the early 1980s. This cost advantage was also contributing to making North America competitive again in manufacturing. The railroads were doing their part to take up the slack. In 2013 alone, $14 billion was to be spent on rail yards, refueling stations, and additional track. That was the third year in a row of record capital spending. In 2003, it had been a mere $5.9 billion.

The full essay is in The full essay is in Cases of Unethical Business: A Malignant Mentality of Mendacity, available in print and as an ebook at Amazon.com.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Keeping the Free Trade in Free Trade: France in the E.U.

In negotiating free-trade deals with the U.S. and Japan, E.U. officials had to reckon with differing concerns of particular state interests, given the salience of the state governments at the E.U. level. For example, while Germany and Britain were pushing for a deal, Nicole Bricq, the French trade minister, was reflecting the concerns of French producers in urging caution. The impact on trade negotiations could only be to turn them into Swiss cheese.
 Nicole Bricq, French trade minister, seeking to slow the E.U. down in negotiating free-trade deals with the U.S. and Japan.   Getty Images

The full essay is at Essays on the E.U. Political Economy, available at Amazon.