Documents are in PDF format.

 

Published Papers

  • “Enabling Good Housing Decisions: Choice Architecture” Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Communities and Banking vol. 20, no. 4 (Fall 2009) [Link]

     
  • "The Most Stable Just Regime” Journal of Social Philosophy (forthcoming) [Draft]
     
  • “Autonomy, Frankfurt, and the Nature of Reflective Endorsement” Journal of Value Inquiry (forthcoming)
     

  • “No More Lemmings, Please—Reflections on the Communal Authority Thesis” Journal of Business Ethics (forthcoming) [Draft]
     

  • “The Limits of a Pluralist Commonwealth” The Good Society vol. 15, no. 3.

     

  • “The Ethical Dimension of the Class Society” Social Theory and Practice vol. 33, no. 2 (April 2007)

     

  • “Democratic Capitalism and Respect for the Value of Freedom” International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics vol 2, no 3/4 (2006) [Abstract]

     

  • Book note for Charles Lindblom, The Market System, Business Ethics Quarterly vol. 16, no. 3 (July 2006).

     

  • “A Philosophical Critique of Fazlur Rahman’s Islam and Modernity” Harvard Middle Eastern and Islamic Review 6 (2000-1).

     

  • “Interpreting the Tradition: The Modernist Argument and the Sources of Islam” American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 18/1 (Winter 2001)

     

Working Papers

  • Consumer Culture and the Hope for a Just and Free Capitalist Democracy
    Abstract:

    Many liberal egalitarian theorists, such as John Rawls, believe that a suitably structured capitalist democracy represents a realistic ideal that we should strive to achieve.  But the progress of globalization in recent years has brought more sharply into focus the degree to which capitalist democracies tend to encourage consumer culture.  In this paper, I argue that there is a genuine tension between consumer culture and moral values such as justice and freedom.  Moreover, the standard liberal egalitarian account of how a just capitalist democracy would control consumer culture is inadequate because it does not address the structural features of market institutions that contribute to consumer culture.  I conclude that we must revise the standard liberal egalitarian conception of the realistic ideal for our basic institutions. 
     

  • Profit Maximization and the Boundary Problem
    Abstract:

    One of the most important and widespread beliefs in market societies today is that corporations have a duty to maximize profits.  The most prominent justification for this belief is the efficiency theory of profit maximization, which says that corporations have a duty to maximize profits because this is the course of action that will lead to a welfare-maximizing social state.  My aim in this paper is to show that the efficiency theory is more deeply at odds with commonsense moral intuition than most people recognize.  Although some organizations in society are plausible candidates for a duty to maximize profits—Exxon-Mobil, for example, or General Electric, others are not.  These are typically civil associations that citizens form to pursue shared ends—e.g. the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Any plausible theory must constrain the duty to maximize profits so that it applies only to the right subset of organizations.  This is the "boundary problem."  I argue that theorists have largely ignored the boundary problem and it remains unclear how exactly the efficiency theory can meet the challenge.

     

  • Worker Autonomy and the Right of Exit
    Abstract:

    Many people believe that worker autonomy requires only that workers have the ability to enter and exit firms freely.  Once workers can move freely between firms, we can regard the individual worker's activities on the job as an expression of his own choice to remain at the firm.  In this paper, I argue that worker autonomy requires more than the freedom to enter and exit firms.  Distinguishing between a choice-centered and an attitude-centered conception of autonomy, I argue that worker autonomy is best understood in terms of the worker achieving a certain kind of psychological integration with his activities at work.  An implication of this view is that worker autonomy requires more than labor mobility; it requires that firms incorporate mechanisms of deliberation and consultation that allow workers to reflectively endorse their activities at work.  The "codetermination" system in Germany provides a good illustration of how we might provide for worker autonomy within the framework of capitalist democracy.

     

  • An Alternative to the Fiduciary Theory of the Firm
    Abstract:
    According to the dominant view of corporations today, managers have an obligation to maximize returns for shareholders because they act as the agents of shareholders when they manage the firm's assets. I argue that this view fails completely to acknowledge an essential aspect of corporations, which is their impersonal character. I go on to explore the possibility of formulating a better understanding of managerial responsibilities based on an analogy between capital markets and consumer markets. If consumers have a right to expect that the products they buy are safe, then perhaps investors have a similar right to expect that their investments are profit-oriented. In both cases, the rights in question place corresponding duties on managers. The end result would be a greatly deflated view of the requirement that managers increase returns for shareholders.