Using existentialist themes of personal freedom and responsibility, Irwin makes the claim that government regulation and social agencies do not need to shield people from the darker lures of products like “diet-killing Cinnabons.”
Irwin begins an essential conversation for the 21st century for students, scholars, and armchair philosophers alike with clear, accessible discussions of a range of topics across philosophy including atheism, evolutionary theory, and ethics
Humorous and poignant, Irwin’s article and book, are both must-reads!
We recently had a chance to chat with Ronald Duska who recently retired from The American College. Ron is currently an adjunct at the American College, as well as an adjunct at St. Joseph’s University, and principal of Duska Business Ethics Consulting. Along with Brenda Shay Duska (Del Pizzo & Associates, USA) and Julie Anne Ragatz (The American College Center for Ethics in Financial Services, USA), Ron is author of Accounting Ethics, recently published in a second edition. The book deals with, among other things, the recent financial crises, the nature of corruption and greed, and the responsibility that accountants should feel for the general public. Given the financial meltdown of 2008, and the new challenges to GAAP from IFERS and Mark to Market accounting, a new edition, that went beyond the concerns created by the Enron and Arthur Anderson collapse and the passage of Sarbanes/Oxley, of the early years of the millennium, seemed essential.
Philosopher’s Eye: Why did you decide to write Accounting Ethics?
Ron Duska: It was in response to a request of the series editors, particularly Michael Hoffman who, knowing my interest in business ethics and the fact that my wife was a CPA, thought it might be a project of interest to me.
PE: What’s the central concern of the book, and why is it important?
Maybe here is a “good” way to earn some extra money in recession times: selling body parts. Yes, exactly. Depending on the country and its legislation, you can profit from selling blood to breast milk and even a kidney. Check here what parts of your body you can sell and where; and how much are they paying for them.
Did you like the idea?
On the one hand, if you believe in the free market and you are very serious about private property; markets for body parts will probably sound like the most efficient way of providing organs for those in need. But the other side of the coin can display something unexpected: the fact that the institution of free market for some types of goods can undermine altruistic motivations and, as a result, lead to a decrease in the quantity and in the quality of the good being marketed.
This is exactly the case of organ donation. Richard Titmuss, who was a prominent social policy researcher, showed that instituting markets for blood increases the supply of bad quality blood and decreases the quantity of blood being offered. This is so because when people start getting paid for something they used to do for altruistic reasons, they lose their philanthropic motivation and the activity consequently loses meaning.
Well, maybe this whole body parts markets is not that good of an idea after all…