Lockean Proviso

July 21st, 2012 by Kara in News

This proviso is an ‘enough and as good’ clause on original acquisition, stating that we can only appropriate unowned property if we leave enough and as good for others.

Veil of Ignorance

July 21st, 2012 by Kara in News

A hypothetical mental state, in John Rawls version of Social Contract Theory, in which we imagine ourselves as being situated behind a “veil of ignorance” in which we are ignorant of our particular characteristics such as sex, race, IQ, financial status, family background, religious ideology, personal philosophy, etc. The “veil of ignorance” forces us to imagine ourselves in a position, free of bias, and one in which we are unaware of any particular skills or abilities we may have. According to Rawls, valid principles of justice are those we would ...


July 21st, 2012 by Kara in News

Utilization of others with the motive of self-interest. One person taking an unfair advantage of another, for selfish reasons.

Caveat Emptor

July 21st, 2012 by Kara in News

Latin term meaning “Let the Buyer beware”. This term adheres to the basic premise that when it comes to a transaction, the buyer is the one held entirely responsible for the transaction, as well as the product(s) that come with it. In other words, it is the buyer’s responsibility to choose well when making a transaction, and this can be done in the form of testing a product, making sure that the product being purchased has no defects, etc. Currently, the United States rejects such a philosophy as ‘Caveat emptor’, ...

Double (Moral) Standard

July 21st, 2012 by Kara in News

An ethical or moral code which allows for greater freedom to one person or group than to another. In other words, a double standard is a set of principles which apply more strictly to one group than to another.

Moral Standard

July 21st, 2012 by Kara in News

A moral standard refers to the norms which we have about the types of actions which we believe to be morally acceptable and morally unacceptable. Specifically, moral standards deal with matters which can either seriously harm or seriously benefit human beings. The validity of moral standards comes from the line of reasoning that was taken to back or support them, and thus are not able to be formed or changed by particular bodies of authority.

Political Pluralism

July 21st, 2012 by Kara in News

Political pluralism begins with the basic claim that there exists a variety of differing value systems in the world today and thus a variety of positions regarding this claim. The overall concern of political pluralism is what sort of limits are governments able to put on people’s freedoms in order to act within their specific value system.

Moral Absolutism

July 21st, 2012 by Kara in News

Moral absolutism is an ethical view claiming essentially that all forms of human conduct can be classified as either being right or wrong in any context. Regardless of intention or purpose, committing bad actions are always going to be bad, and they cannot be justified. In other words, certain actions are always right and certain actions are always wrong, no matter how one tries to rationalize it.

Interview with Bill Black

July 16th, 2012 by Kara in News

Travis Strawn recently interviewed Bill Black for Seven Pillars Institute. William (Bill) Black is a lawyer, academic, author, and a former bank regulator. He developed the concept of ‘control fraud‘, in which a business or national executive uses the entity she controls as a ‘weapon’ to commit fraud. Black was a central figure in exposing Congressional corruption during the Savings and Loan Crisis. Black is the author of, among others, The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry. He ...

Let’s Try Free Markets…with Ethics

July 5th, 2012 by Kara in News

June was a cruel month for those in high finance and who made poor ethical choices. The list of the month’s charges, convictions, sentences, and ethical lapses run as follows: 1. Barclays Bank fined US$450 million for manipulating the London interbank offered rate (Libor); other top tier banks are being investigated and more charges are likely to follow. Libor is set daily and is a key benchmark rate.  Messing with it is like messing with your interest payments or interest earnings, without your knowing. 2. Rajat Gupta, the former global head of McKinsey ...