blank

Archive | January, 2012

New Book: How to be Profitable and Moral: A Rational Egoist Approach to Business

A basic dilemma confronting today’s manager is how to be both profitable and moral. Making profits through immoral means—such as deceiving investors or customers—is unsustainable. Likewise, remaining moral while losing money will cause a business to fail. According to conventional morality, either a business manager maximizes profits and necessarily compromises on ethics, or necessarily sacrifices profits in order to be moral. Woiceshyn explains why this is a false dichotomy and offers rational egoism as an alternative moral code to businesspeople who want to maximize profits ethically.

Through logical argument and various examples, How to be Profitable and Moral: A Rational Egoist Approach to Business shows how to apply principles such as rationality, productiveness, honesty, justice, and pride for long-term self-interest.

Jaana Woiceshyn holds a Ph.D. in applied economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She has taught business ethics for over twenty years to undergraduate, MBA, and Executive MBA students and to various corporate audiences at the Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, and elsewhere. This is her first book.

BB&T grew from $4.5 billion to $152 billion in assets during my tenure as chairman and CEO and weathered the recent financial crisis as one of the strongest financial institutions in America.
The foundation for this success is unquestionably the principles outlined by Jaana Woiceshyn in How to be Profitable and Moral. —John Allison, retired chairman and CEO, BB&T and
Distinguished Professor of Practice, Wake Forest University

Jaana Woiceshyn’s book is much needed and timely. Filled with concrete examples, it provides practical guidance for making successful daily decisions—based on a moral code that works and will make us proud of what we do. —Doug Arends, chairman, Canadian Bank Note Company Ltd.

Professor Woiceshyn has provided a well-reasoned, clearly-written explanation showing . . . why business people need to live by rational moral principles as a necessary means to maximize profit. This cogent book deserves a careful reading by businesspeople, academics, and intelligent laymen alike. —Andrew Bernstein, Ph.D, author of The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic, and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire

0

Democracy and Self Determination of Peoples: Euphenisms for Mob Rule in the Middle East

Writes Raymond Ibrahim in Jihad — When Elections Fail over at Jihad Watch:

The Obama administration supports “democracy” and “self determination” in the Middle East—two euphemisms that, in the real world, refer to “mob-rule” and “Islamic radicalization,” respectively. Yet, as Jimmy Carter recently put it: “I don’t have any problem with that [an “Islamist victory” in Egypt], and the U.S. government doesn’t have any problem with that either. We want the will of the Egyptian people to be expressed.”

Sounds fair enough. The problem, however, is that Muslim clerics openly and unequivocally characterize democracy and elections as tools to be discarded once they empower Sharia law. Thus Dr. Talat Zahran holds that it is “obligatory to cheat at elections—a beautiful thing”; and Sheikh Abdel Shahat insists that democracy is not merely forbidden in Islam, but kufr—a great and terrible sin—this even as he competed in Egypt’s elections.

The Obama administration can overlook such election-exploitations because the majority of Muslims are either indifferent or willing to go along with the gag—with only a minority (secularists, Copts, etc.) in Egypt actually objecting to how elections are being used to empower Sharia-enforcing Muslims.

But what if Muslims do not win elections? What if there are equal amounts of non-Muslims voting—and an “infidel” wins? What then? Then we get situations like Nigeria.

While many are aware that Boko Haram and other Islamic elements are waging jihad against the government of Nigeria, specifically targeting Christians, often overlooked is that the jihad was provoked into full-blown activity because a Christian won fair elections (Nigeria is about evenly split between Christians and Muslims).

According to Peter Run, writing back in April 2011:

The current wave of riots was triggered by the Independent National Election Commission’s (INEC) announcement on Monday [April 18, 2011] that the incumbent President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, won in the initial round of ballot counts. That there were riots in the largely Muslim inhabited northern states where the defeat of the Muslim candidate Muhammadu Buhari was intolerable, [but] was unsurprising. Northerners [Muslims] felt they were entitled to the presidency for the declared winner, President Jonathan, [who] assumed leadership after the Muslim president, Umaru Yar’Adua died in office last year and radical groups in the north [Boko Haram] had seen his ascent [Christian president] as a temporary matter to be corrected at this year’s election. Now they are angry despite experts and observers concurring that this is the fairest and most independent election in recent Nigerian history.

Note some key words: Muslims felt “entitled” to the presidency and seek to “correct” the fact that a Christian won elections—which they assumed “a temporary matter.”

Of course, had elections empowered a like-minded Muslim, the same jihadis would still be there, would still have the same savage intent for Christians and Westerners—Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden.” But there would not be a fullblown jihad, and Obama would be singing praises to Nigerian democracy and elections, and the MSM would be boasting images of Nigerians with ink-stained fingers.

Yet the same jihadi intent would be there, only dormant. Like Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood—whose ultimate goal is “mastership of the world”—they would not need to expose themselves via jihad, would be biding their time and consolidating their strength.

Now, back to the Egyptian clerics, specifically Sheikh Yassir al-Burhami—yet another leader in Egypt’s Salafi movement, who teaches that Muslims must preach peace when weak but wage war when strong. Discussing the chances of a fellow Salafi, Burhami asserts:

We say—regardless of the outcome of the elections—whether he [his colleague, the aforementioned al-Shahat] wins or loses, we will not permit an infidel [kafir] to be appointed to a post where he assumes authority over Muslims. This is forbidden. Allah said: “Never will Allah grant to infidels a way [to triumph] over the believers [Koran 4:141].” We are not worried about losing elections or al-Shahat losing votes. We will not flatter or fawn to the people.

What will you and your associates do, Sheikh Burhami—wage jihad? Of course, that will not be necessary: unlike Nigeria, most of Egypt is Muslim; one way or another, “elections” will realize the Islamist agenda.

Thus, whether by word (al-Burhami) or deed (Boko Haram) those who seek to make Islam supreme prove that democracy and elections are acceptable only insofar as they enable Sharia. Conversely, if they lead to something that contradicts Sharia—for instance, by bringing a Christian infidel to power—then the perennial jihad resumes.

The Islamists behave similar to the American “Progressives” who only support free elections as a vehicle to put their particular brand of collectivism — egalitarian socialism in place. As an example observe their praise of the Castro regime and communism, and their attacks on the profit motive, freedom and capitalism.

0

Private Schools for the Poor

James Tooley writes in Private Schools for the Poor:

The accepted wisdom is that private schools serve the privileged; everyone else, especially the poor, requires public school.
The poor, so this logic goes, need government assistance if they are to get a good education, which helps explain why, in the United States, many school choice enthusiasts believe that the only way the poor can get the education they deserve is through vouchers or charter schools, proxies for those better private or independent schools, paid for with public funds.

But if we reflect on these beliefs in a foreign context and observe low-income families in underprivileged and developing countries, we find these assumptions lacking: the poor have found remarkably innovative ways of helping themselves, educationally, and in some of the most destitute places on Earth have managed to nurture a large and growing industry of private schools for themselves. ["Private Schools for the Poor", The Catholic Education Resource Center]

1

Holleran on Anti-Hero Worship

Writes Scott Holleran at his blog:

“You’re our hero,” read a sign at a statue of the late government-college football coach Joe Paterno, who died on Sunday at the age of 85. But Paterno, who by his own admission sidestepped, ignored or evaded allegations of child rape, is not a hero. He was a football coach at a state college and he made crucial errors of judgment which, by the kindest interpretation of his involvement, which was under investigation, may have aided or abetted serious crimes against children. Nevertheless, government-financed Penn State declared that it will hold a public memorial service, where signs, photography and video will be forbidden. [Anti-Hero Worship]

Read the rest…

0

Salsman on the Anti-Capitalist Conservatives

Writes Richard Salsman in Mitt Romney’s Uphill Battle Against Anti-Capitalist Conservatives over at Forbes:

Most people assume GOP conservatives are reflexively pro-capitalist, that they embrace free markets, profit-making, and the pursuit of happiness through worldly success. But this assumption is far from the truth, as should now be evident after the anti-capitalist harangues launched at GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney by the much-touted “conservative alternatives” in the race – Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry.

Now conservative voters in South Carolina have through the ballot box stated that they prefer Mr. Gingrich, with his ethically challenged public and private lives, to Mr. Romney, whose personal life and professional career have been morally and productively impeccable. Evangelicals representing 60% of GOP voters in the South Carolina primary claimed to care most about family values and the sanctity of marriage, yet revealed their hypocrisy by disproportionately favoring Gingrich to Romney.

Sad to say, but conservatives and leftists alike don’t actually believe Mr. Romney’s career as a financier has been moral, because they assume the finance profession itself is fundamentally unproductive and parasitical, that it somehow saps or robs the “real” economy, which is popularly defined as that mass of common folk who work not with their minds for profits, but with their muscles, backs and callused hands for plain wages. This is the age-old Marxist myth that only manual labor creates wealth or value-added (profit). It’s one of the worst myths in the whole history of political economy, because in truth the mind is the main source of wealth; widespread ignorance of that basic truth makes people demonize financiers as exploitative thieves.

Myths aside, one of the world’s hardest jobs is that of financial capitalist, and sustained success at such work simply isn’t had by luck. It’s akin to being a consistently successful investor. Who can say this is a commonly held skill? It isn’t. The venture capitalist or private equity specialist must study and comprehend how best to allocate pools of capital (savings) to their most productive, efficient and profitable use. He must choose among thousands of potential companies, industries, and financial instruments. Most people find such work to be far too complex, too difficult, too time-consuming, and too ill-paid to undertake alone; yet most such spectators are also suspicious or even hateful toward the very few who earn millions succeeding at finance.

The profession of financial capitalist aside, it’s even more difficult today being a consistent ideological capitalist – i.e., an advocate of capitalism as a moral socio-economic system that enshrines rational self-interest, profit seeking, individual rights, the rule of law, and the pursuit of earthly happiness. Historically, capitalism is the radical system, and most religions (Marxism included) have decried it.

Read the rest…

0

New Website: Checking Premises

From checkingpremises.org:

This site is being created by serious students and proponents of Objectivism in response to the danger that some, who may seem in agreement with the philosophy, are in fact subverting it. The tabs representing the subjects are arranged, left to right, in chronological order.

The “Context” tab is where we suggest you begin. Here we have quoted from Dr. Leonard Peikoff’s 1989 essay, “Fact and Value.” The first passage clearly defines what is, and what is not, Objectivism. The second passage describes how he “finally” identified the common denominator of past, and future, schisms. This essay was seminal for many of us. It helped us to understand the past more clearly, and, we think, to identify current detractors disguised as Objectivists. A link to the entire essay may be found under the “Resources” tab, and we encourage everyone to study it.

We understand there are different levels of Objectivist detractors, from outright enemies of Objectivism to those who are “Objectivish” and who need to recognize and admit their differences with Objectivism.

0

Job Creators: Who Do those Immigrants Think They Are?

TD Waterhouse: Markets > News & Commentary

Immigrants founded or cofounded almost half of 50 top venture-backed companies in the United States, a new study shows, underscoring some of the high stakes in potential immigration reform.

The venture capital community argues the study, completed by research group National Foundation for American Policy, proves the need to overhaul rules governing how entrepreneurs can immigrate to the United States to spur job development.

0

On Mitt Romney and Bain Capital

Review & Outlook: The Bain Capital Bonfire – WSJ.com

About the best that can be said about the Republican attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital is that President Obama is going to do the same thing eventually, so GOP primary voters might as well know what’s coming. Yet that hardly absolves Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and others for their crude and damaging caricatures of modern business and capitalism.

Bain’s business model is little more than “rich people figuring out clever legal ways to loot a company,” says Mr. Gingrich, whose previous insights into free enterprise include years of defending the taxpayer-fed business of corn ethanol.

[...]

We have our policy differences with Mr. Romney, but by any reasonable
measure Bain Capital has been a net job and wealth creator
. Founded in
1984 as an offshoot of the Bain consulting company, Bain Capital’s
business is a combination of private equity and venture capital. The
latter means taking a flyer on start-ups that may or may not pan out,
something that neither Mr. Gingrich nor Mr. Obama seem to find offensive
when those investments are made by Silicon Valley firms in “clean
energy.”

[...]

One Bain investment during Mr. Romney’s tenure was to back an
entrepreneur named Tom Stemberg, who was convinced he could provide
savings for small-business owners if they were willing to shop at a
store instead of taking deliveries. Today, the Staples chain of
business-supply stores employs 90,000 people
.

[...]

Imagine what might have happened if Chrysler or GM had been bought by
private equity two or three decades ago. They might have been turned
around much earlier, at far less pain to fewer workers, and without any
taxpayer cost
.

0

Free Courses on Ayn Rand’s Ideas

The Ayn Rand Institute Campus is an all-encompassing e-learning center for learning about Ayn Rand, and her revolutionary philosophy of Objectivism. There are courses on each of her timeless literary classics: We the Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged; courses on specific aspects of Rand’s thought and how to apply her ideas to everyday life; and courses aimed at understanding the vast impact of Ayn Rand’s ideas on the intellectual and political landscape. For those interested in delving more into an in-depth analysis of her ideas, there are advanced courses taught by top Objectivist scholars. ARI expects to be adding courses on politics, law, religion, economics, science, philosophy, history, morality over the next few months.

The Ayn Rand Institute Campus has created dozens of advanced features that easily allows for each student to learn at their own pace. Each course can be stopped, rewound, and played again. Their active community is a great place to interact with fellow classmates and have a friendly chat, or a rigorous intellectual discussion on a course.

Best of all? Enrollment is free, so sign up and immerse yourself in a world of new, exciting, and practical ideas.

http://campus.aynrand.org/

0