Ethics Stories & News

Man as a Marionette

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.
Could We Promote Epiphanies

What If…We Could Promote Epiphanies?

I have long wondered if businesses could somehow promote epiphanies among their employees—those sudden, seemingly unbidden flashes of insight that allow us see an issue from a different perspective or to solve a previously recalcitrant problem.  That may seem like an unlikely preoccupation for a college professor, who is thought to gain knowledge through accretion—hard work, study, and persistence.  Although we all hope for those “light bulb” moments, when we finally “get it” (and they do occur, albeit much less often than any of us would desire).  Most of us experience something more akin…

Themis with scale

What if…We Examine Individuals’ Rights and Responsibilities?

Fall semester, 2021.  First day of teaching.  Three classes.  Eighty-eight students.  Seven masks.  And one of them is mine.  I am officially an “old guy,” more susceptible to the COVID virus than my decades-younger students.  I have been vaccinated.  I wear a mask when around other people.  I have a one-year-old grandson who I am desperate to see as often as I can, even though he lives in North Carolina.

George Graham Rice


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

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.
Dictionary Billionaire

All hail the billionaire

After months of dreary experimentation in her basement, Dr. von Frankenstein, PhD, has concocted an effective antidote and vaccine for a deadly virus sweeping the United States. She files and receives a patent for her discovery.
Piggy Bank

New ways to milk customers

There’s a new way marketers are getting young people to fork over their money. The new tactic revolves around consumers making four payments of one-quarter the retail price of an item (Amanda Mull, “Jeans Now, Pay Later,” Atlantic, January/February 2021, 18-20). This is just the old come-on--“Buy now, pay later”—in a new guise.
news media at press conference

News bias? You choose the news you wish to consume

During election season, people love to accuse the media of bias. Liberals and conservatives assail local and national newspapers, as well as various television newscasts, of tilting in one political direction or another. Since it is unlikely that a news source can be biased in both directions, many people’s perceptions must be erroneous.
UNI business students at career fair

The complete guide to choosing a college major

College is an exciting time in your life, but don’t spend all four years merely enjoying it – you should take advantage of this time to determine exactly what you want to do with your life. This article will help you decide how to choose your college major that fits your long-term goals.