Archive for March, 2013

Kaizen Weekly Review

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Kaizen Weekly Review highlights activities of The Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship and recent business ethics and entrepreneurship news.
Editor
: Virginia Murr

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Innovative Education: the Computer in the Wall
The winner of this year’s one million dollar TED prize and professor of educational technology at Newcastle University, Professor Sugata Mitra, set up a computer in a New Dehli slum, connected it to the internet, and placed it inside of a wall, protected only by a shield of plastic. After making the mouse accessible, he left. According to this Wired article, Mitra came back eight hours later and saw kids browsing the Internet in English, a language they do not speak.

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Should Olympic Athletes Be More Moral Than Other Athletes?
Professor Shawn Klein, a.k.a. The Sports Ethicist, discusses morality and rule-breaking by analyzing the last Olympics. The London Olympics generated several controversies, including badminton and soccer teams trying to lose or draw to set up more favorable seeding in the next round and a swimmer who admitted to taking illegal, extra kicks in his gold medal race. According to Klein, the fact that some people are “athletically excellent does not mean they are also morally excellent.” Read the full blog post.

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The Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy
This article by Professor Noel D. Campbell introduces the Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, launched in 2012. According to the abstract, “JEPP was created to encourage and disseminate quality research about the vital relationships among institutions, entrepreneurship and economic outcomes.” The latest issue covers such topics as creative destruction and entrepreneurship across disciplines.

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Public Policy, Objectivism, and Entrepreneurship
Stephen Hicks gave a talk on Public Policy, Objectivism, and Entrepreneurship at the 2012 Atlas Summit in Washington, DC. Some of his themes included: Our schizophrenic public policy culture — health, sex, religion, money; what wealth is; entrepreneurism as a cultural asset; Objectivism’s entrepreneurial ethic; and principled strategy in a mixed economy. Hicks will be speaking again at the 2013 Atlas Summit.

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Shawn Klein’s New Sports Ethicist Radio Program
The Sports Ethicist Show premiered on Rockford University Radio this week. Each week Klein and guests will discuss ethical and philosophical issues that arise in and around sport. The first episode on “What is Sport?” featured Professor Michael Perry. Listen to or download the podcast.

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Can Aerobic Activity Improve Executive Function?
Among other things, executive brain function helps us to plan, organize, and formulate strategies. Is it possible to improve this all-important brain function? A study from the Psychonomic Bulletin and Review gives evidence that aerobic activity can do just that. Read more about the study.

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See you next week!

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Previous Issues of Kaizen Weekly Review.

Interview with entrepreneur Magatte Wade

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Forbes magazine named Magatte Wade one of the “20 Youngest Power Women of Africa.” Magatte was born in Senegal, educated in France, and started her entrepreneurial career in the U.S. Her first company, Adina World Beverages, based on indigenous Senegalese beverage recipes, became one of the most widely distributed U.S. brands started by an African entrepreneur. Her second company, Tiossan, sells skin care products based on indigenous Senegalese recipes online and at high-end boutiques. Magatte was also named a Young Global Leader by the 2011 World Economic Forum at Davos and is a frequent speaker on college campuses.

Kaizen: Where in Senegal were you born?

Wade: I was born 80 kilometers south of Dakar on the coast of the Atlantic, in a small town called M’bour. It used to be a very small town but because it’s a beach village, it’s become one of the main leisure and tourist towns.

Kaizen: The Gambia River runs from the west through Senegal?

Wade: Yes. We are about three hours north of that.

Kaizen: What was your education as a child like?

Wade: I never went to school when I was a child in Senegal. I credit a lot of who I am and my love of freedom to that—to the fact that my grandmother allowed for me not to go to school.

Kaizen: So you were raised by your grandmother primarily?

Wade: Yes, for three or four more years. Instead of going to school, I would spend all of my time playing with boys, going on expeditions, and things like that.

Kaizen: At what age did you go to Europe?

(more…)

Kaizen Weekly Review

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Kaizen Weekly Review highlights activities of The Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship and recent business ethics and entrepreneurship news.
Editor
: Virginia Murr

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Is Bitcoin the Free Market Solution to Currency?
Bitcoin, an open-source based digital currency system, divests consumers of banking middlemen and the fees that come with them. Using the Bitcoin network is free, except for a voluntary fee you can use to speed up transactions. See how it works here. But according to this article from Business Insider, there are risks in this new currency system.

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The Telecommuting Controversy
According to this article, Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, caused a stir when she abolished the company’s work-at-home policy. While many employees are frustrated with the change, other CEO’s agree that in-office work is essential to a company’s success. According to John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, “If you want innovation, then you need interaction,” he said. “If you want productivity, then you want people working from home.”

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The 50 Most Innovative Companies 2013
Fast Company released their annual guide to innovation, featuring the businesses with the greatest impact across industries and culture. According to the article, these companies offer many lessons: “social is now a layer for everyone; software is the ‘wow’ factor; data makes a big difference; and in a world of instant gratification, long-term investment still matters.” So who topped the charts? Here’s a hint: the Greed gods would be proud.

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Busy Week in Buenos Aires
Stephen Hicks is in Buenos Aires this week where he will be giving a public talk and participating in two sessions on logic and art. The public talk is sponsored by Fundación Libertad y Progreso, Fundación Atlas 1853, and Fundación Junior Achievement Argentina. Read more about Hicks’s activities while in Argentina.

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Comparing Buenos Aires and Chicago in the 20th Century
In this blog post, Hicks discusses a fascinating working paper by economists Filipe Campante and Edward Glaeser comparing Buenos Aires and Chicago over the last century. According to the abstract, “[D]espite their similarities, Chicago was vastly more prosperous for most of the 20th century.” The paper looks at a number of factors that influenced this discrepancy, including: overall wealth, education, industrial development, and political circumstances.

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See you next week!

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Previous Issues of Kaizen Weekly Review.

Dr. Stephen Hicks Back in Buenos Aires

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Dr. Stephen Hicks is in Buenos Aires this week where he will be giving a public talk and participating in two sessions on logic and art. The talk is sponsored by Fundación Libertad y Progreso, Fundación Atlas 1853, and Fundación Junior Achievement Argentina.

While in Argentina, he will also interview an entrepreneur for an upcoming issue of Kaizen and sign a contract with his publisher for the Spanish translation of Explaining Postmodernism, which will come out later this year.

Kaizen Weekly Review

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Kaizen Weekly Review highlights activities of The Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship and recent business ethics and entrepreneurship news.
Editor
: Virginia Murr

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Magatte Wade Featured in New Edition of Kaizen

In our latest Kaizen (pdf), we feature an interview with Senegalese-American entrepreneur Magatte Wade. Wade, named one of the “20 Youngest Power Women of Africa” by Forbes magazine, owns Tiossan, which sells skin care products based on indigenous Senegalese recipes online and at high-end boutiques. We also a report on a visit by guest speaker Dr. William Kline, Program Director of Liberal Studies at the University of Illinois-Springfield, and student essay winners Yann Biancat and Jeremy Frew.

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Entrepreneurs as Moral Heroes

Stephen Hicks traveled to Brazil where he gave a talk to associates of the Instituto de Estudos Empresariais (IEE) on January 7, 2013. Dr. Hicks spoke on Entrepreneurs as Moral Heroes, in which he discussed how ethical attitudes about value creation, trade, and the pursuit of happiness are at the center of the debates over entrepreneurship—and how respect for entrepreneurs as moral heroes is a key part of cultural progress. Read more about the talk here.
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“Third Way” Politics and Its Fruits

Hicks considers the ideological road to the current state of politics: “Third Way politics became popular in the 1990s after the final collapse of the Soviet Union. Socialists were feeling chastened and adrift, and middle-of-the-roaders were uncomfortable with moving further towards free-market capitalism. The fall of the Soviet Union was an indictment of socialism, but what exactly was the lesson?” Read Hicks’s analysis and conclusion.

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David R. Henderson on the “Robber Barons”

In this blog post, CEE interviewee David R. Henderson examines how the free-market efforts of such entrepreneurial legends as Cornelius Vanderbilt and John D. Rockefeller have become so skewed in public perception that they are commonly referred to as “Robber Barons.” According to Henderson, these men “were neither robbers nor barons.”

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Companies Cultivating Happiness in their Employees

Busting the stereotype of the “evil corporation,” some companies excel at boosting employee happiness. According to this Forbes article, “Fat paychecks, light workloads, and countless vacation days don’t necessarily produce happy employees. In fact, the happiest employees in the US credit their bliss to first-rate employee incentive programs, ample benefits, career advancement programs, and great work-life balance. The companies that were most dedicated to cultivating and advancing these aspects in the past year saw employee happiness soar.”

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African Economist Seeks to End the Vicious Cycle of Humanitarian Aid

The Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati argues that aid to Africa does more harm than good. In this Spiegel article, Shikwati states, “Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need.”

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See you next week!

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Previous Issues of Kaizen Weekly Review.

Dr. Terry Noel to Speak at Rockford University

Monday, March 11th, 2013

On March 28, Dr. Terry Noel will speak on “The Virtuous Entrepreneur.” Noel is Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University where he teaches classes in Entrepreneurship and Management. Dr. Noel’s research has been published in journals including the Academy of Management Journal, the Journal of Business Ethics, and the Journal of Entrepreneurship Education.

All of the campus community is welcome to attend. Scarborough Hall, Rm 212 from 11:00am – 12:15pm.

Kaizen Weekly Review

Friday, March 8th, 2013


Kaizen Weekly Review highlights activities of The Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship and recent business ethics and entrepreneurship news.
Editor
: Virginia Murr

A New Perspective on Business Ethics
Stephen Hicks contributed the essay “Entrepreneurship and Ethics” to the Springer Handbook of the Philosophical Foundations of Business Ethics. In the essay, Hicks argues that business ethics should be refocused away from corporations and the social and toward entrepreneurs and the individual.

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Workplace Safety: The Moral is the Practical
In this blog post, Hicks looks at the safety philosophy of Alcoa’s now retired CEO Paul O’Neill, which was rooted in his determination “to demonstrate that it is possible for a truly great organization to be values based without any reservations.’”

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Fight Club: Empowering Individuality or Nauseating Nihilism?
The Philosophy and Film group, led by professors Shawn Klein and Matt Flamm, met on Monday, March 4. According to Klein, “We had an interesting and engaging discussion of several philosophic issues in Fight Club. Several students liked what they took as the empowering message to fight back against conformity and social pressures. Others focused on the nihilistic elements of the main characters.”

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Olympic Hero and Murderer?
Klein faces a professorial dilemma: should he continue to use Pistorius as a case study in Sports Ethics now that Pistorius faces murder charges? Klein writes: “I do not expect nor demand that the figures discussed in class be moral saints or ideals. That is unrealistic, unnecessary, and contrary to the goals of education. However, Pistorius’ case raises a special problem because so much of the narrative of the disabled athlete triumphing in the quest of fairness is celebratory.” Read the full post.

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Interview with Marta Podemska-Mikluch
CEE guest speaker Marta Podemska-Mikluch talks about succession, elections, and self-governance after her talk at Rockford University. Podemska-Mikluch is a visiting assistant professor of Economics at Beloit College. She recently finished her dissertation at George Mason University on the democratic decline of the Polish-LithuanianCommonwealth.

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Crowdfunding for Inventors, “Ivy-League” Style
Christie Street is a product-focused funding platform that runs a lot like Kickstarter, but with a filtering process. According to lead inventor James Siminoff, “We’re weeding out 90 percent of products that don’t have what it takes to get made,” he said. The goal is to try to ensure that the inventor’s products stand a chance in the marketplace. Read the full article.

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The World at Your Fingertips
Is it possible to replace the mouse? This is what Leap hopes to do with their Leap Motion, which can track up to ten fingers in Kinect-like motion control. According to this article, the Leap Motion can “track movements smaller than a pin tip, and it can track your hands at fingers at up to 290 frames per second. Pretty impressive for a device about the size of a stick of gum.” Here is a video demonstration.

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See you next week!

Previous Issues of Kaizen Weekly Review.

Kaizen Weekly Review

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Kaizen Weekly Review highlights activities of The Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship and recent business ethics and entrepreneurship news.
Editor: Virginia Murr

The Last Mile May Be First Step for Inmate Entrepreneurs

At California’s San Quentin prison, inmates have the opportunity to participate in the Last Mile, an entrepreneurship course modeled on start-up incubators that take in batches of young companies and provide them with courses, informal advice, and seed investments. Start-up ideas from inmates include a cardiovascular health organization and an e-commerce site for artists in prison. Read the full article here.

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The Open Letter that Stopped a Lucrative Marketing Campaign

On September 19, 2012, Thor Halvorssen, Founder of the Human Rights Foundation, published this open letter to Urban Outfitters in The Huffington Post about its Che Guevara marketing campaign and line of fashion merchandise. The letter is useful as a case study for Business Ethics courses in discussions of marketing using popular political figures, especially those with a record like Guevara’s. Urban Outfitters subsequently decided to drop its Che campaign and fashion line.

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The Morality of Capitalism

Stephen Hicks gave a talk to the Bastiat Society in Panama on the debates over the morality of capitalism, contrasting the positions of Friedrich Hayek, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and others. Here is the abstract from his lecture.

Note: The Bastiat Society is named for Frédéric Bastiat, the great nineteenth-century liberal public intellectual.

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.A Quirky Interview

In a recent interview with Dan Schneider for Cosmoetica, Hicks covered such themes as the nature of values, art, religion, corporations, and the meaning of life. Other interviewees in the series include Daniel Dennett, Larry Sanger, and Steven Pinker.

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Would More Regulations Curb NCAA Violations?

Shawn Klein is quoted in this article from Coach and Athletic Director magazine examining the use of more regulations to curb NCAA violations. In the article, Klein states: “I don’t know that stricter policies or punishment would be that much more effective, because part of the problem is that there are so many rules and a lot of them are opaque.” Read the full article.

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CEE Guest Speaker Series

Marta Podemska-Mikluch, a visiting professor of Economics at Beloit College and recent Ph.D. graduate from George Mason University, was CEE’s guest speaker for February. She gave a talk to students and professors on “Succession, Elections, and Self-Governance,” focusing on the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s “nobles’ democracy” of the 16th century.

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See you next week!

Previous Issues of Kaizen Weekly Review.