Man whispering secret
Jan 26, 2022

Trust and Gossip

Decades ago, my sister and her friend were sharing gossip about their junior high classmates. My Mom overheard them and admonished them: “Don’t gossip.” The lesson still resounds, as the friend has recollected to me recently.

Amazon Return Sign
Jan 05, 2022

Consumer Abuse of Retailers' Return Policies

Internet shopping precludes trying things on before purchasing. Free shipping has become the industry norm. As with any resource, “free” shipping leads to wasteful behavior. Customers order two or three sizes of a particular style, since they don’t pay directly for shipping. Retailers hope that maintaining customer goodwill will be beneficial.

Person in Thought
Dec 13, 2021

What if... We focused on the problems we actually have?

Periodically, my wife will give me homework assignments.  Not the “honey do” jobs around the house that most partners get—she knows I create more problems than I ever fix—but reading or writing chores, just like I give my students.  Her most recent dictate was to read a 30-year-old article from the Harvard Business Review, “What’s the Matter with Business Ethics?” by Andrew Stark.  Because business ethics is my home field, I decided to comply.  My study of business ethics began in the mid-1990s, not long after the article was originally published, so it also served as a way for me to review

Dec 06, 2021

Federal Judges Lax About Recusing Themselves

Federal judges rule on cases that can affect the profitability of particular companies and even whole industries. Imagine a judge handling a case with a large retailer. What would you think if this judge owned shares of stock in this large retailer and even bought or sold shares during the trial? You would be shocked and suspicious.

Man as a Marionette
Nov 22, 2021

What If... Capitalism Did Not Involve Exploitation

Recently, I have been reading about race relations in the USA.  Caste by Isabel Wilkerson and The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee approach the topic from different angles, but both point out the fact that African Americans have suffered, in large part, as a result of our economic system.  History, indeed, provides an egregious example of how US society has treated certain groups of people; but it is still seen in the putative mistreatment of workers in today’s economy, through the concepts of Striketober and The Great Resignation.

George Graham Rice
Jun 17, 2021


George Graham Rice? Never heard of him. Who is he? A century ago, though, he was a famous flamboyant scammer, a pied-piper of stock manipulation.

While incarcerated for the third or fourth time, he wrote a series of periodical articles that eventually coalesced into a book. As with other scammers, Rice was brazen, even boastful about his felonious escapades. He wryly entitled his book My Adventures with Your Money.

Closed Sign
May 06, 2021

Good-bye, mom and pop restaurants and shops

Most of my readers are familiar with small towns in Iowa that have longstanding family-owned businesses, such as family eateries. Grandparents, parents, and children may own and work in these restaurants. They often have loyal employees that are “part of the family.” These owners may be unable to afford to pay their workers much more than $10 per hour, to say nothing of the proposed $15 per hour minimum wage.