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Upcoming Events


FMI Public Speaker Series


CANCELED — Honorable Business: A Framework for Business in a Just and Humane Society

New Event Date To Be Announced

Otteson Event Image

This event is free and open to the TTU community and the general public.

Event Parking will be available in TTU Lot R23, located north of the Rawls College of Business.

About the Program

Many people are suspicious of business, as well as of markets and commercial society. Are they right to be suspicious? Examples like Enron and Bernie Madoff do not help the impression many have of it as prone to dubious behavior and potentially disastrous negative consequences. But there are bad actors in all walks of life, not just in business. Is there something special about business that encourages, or even rewards, bad behavior? Can there be such a thing as honorable business?

While there certainly is dishonorable business, there is indeed also such a thing as honorable business. Honorable business sees as its primary purpose to create value—for all parties. It looks for mutually voluntary and mutually beneficial transactions, so that both sides of any exchange are benefited, leading to increasing prosperity not just for one person or for one group at the expense of others but simultaneously for everyone involved. Done correctly, honorable business is thus a positive-sum activity that can enable flourishing for individuals and prosperity for society.

Prof. Otteson will deliver a public lecture based on his book, Honorable Business: A Framework for Business in a Just and Humane Society (2019). This book offers a conception of what it means for an individual to flourish and what the public institutions are of which honorable business can form an integral part. It also offers original responses to several central objections raised to business, markets, and commercial society. It argues for a new framework for business ethics that articulates the role that the honorable businessperson, and honorable business, can, and must, play in a just and humane society.

About the Speaker

James Otteson is the John T. Ryan Jr. Professor of Business Ethics, the Rex and Alice A. Martin Faculty Director of the Notre Dame Deloitte Center for Ethical Leadership, and Faculty Director of the Business Honors Program.

Prof. Otteson specializes in business ethics, political economy, the history of economic thought, and eighteenth-century moral philosophy. He has taught previously at Wake Forest University, New York University, Yeshiva University, Georgetown University, and the University of Alabama.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the Program of Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame in 1990. His sophomore year was spent abroad studying at the Universität Innsbruck in Innsbruck, Austria. After completing his undergraduate degree, he attended the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, earning a MA in Philosophy in 1992. He then joined the Philosophy Department at the University of Chicago, receiving a PhD in 1997.

His books include Adam Smith's Marketplace of Life (Cambridge, 2002), Actual Ethics (Cambridge, 2006), Adam Smith (Bloomsbury, 2013), The End of Socialism (Cambridge, 2014), The Essential Adam Smith (Fraser Institute, 2018), and Honorable Business: A Framework for Business in a Just and Humane Society (Oxford, 2019). 

His most recent books are The Essential David Hume (Fraser, 2021) and Seven Deadly Economic Sins (Cambridge, 2021). His forthcoming book is Reexamining the Ethics of Wealth Redistribution (with Steven McMullen; Routledge, forthcoming in 2022).

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