Thursday, April 10, 2014


Kevin T. Jackson on “Virtuosity in Business: Invisible Law Guiding the Invisible Hand” (University of Pennsylvania Press), 2011 HERE 
The recent global financial crisis raises pressing issues that are not exclusively economic. The health of the economy, Kevin T. Jackson contends, reflects the moral health of the wider culture: ethics must be considered along with economics to understand world markets, especially now that globalization and other forces have increasingly complicated the regulation of transnational corporate conduct. "Virtuosity in Business" calls on businesspeople and ethicists to expand their thinking by stressing the profound relevance of philosophy to business and economics.
"Virtuosity in Business" shows that ethics has been the overriding problem for business and that it is the only enduring solution. Drawing on a variety of philosophical sources, including Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and Jean-Paul Sartre, Jackson applies the concept of virtue to the competitive realm of the marketplace. Virtuosity, in all realms of human endeavor, is not merely a display of technical skill or adherence to conventional norms.
The invisible law of virtuosity, which discourages misconduct and rewards good corporate citizenship, guides ethical firms and wise entrepreneurs toward greater success by playing a constructive part in the human enterprise. A pioneering work in the contemporary philosophy of business, "Virtuosity in Business" revivifies business ethics to address concerns arising from the global financial crisis, such as restoration of faith in the market, respect for human rights, and environmental sustainability.
Allowing for publishers’ blurb-writers who are not the books authors and whose knowledge of the origins of the modern myth of the “invisible hand” is next to nothing, this is an extraordinary version of the now standard myth.
Instead of merely having a ‘mysterious’ and “miraculous” entity guiding the vast complexities of the modern economy, we have something described as “virtuosity guiding the invisible hand”!
Er, what guides “virtuosity” that in turn guides the entity known as the “invisible hand” and what does the “invisible hand” do?
How do these imaginative entities operate - in tandem or sequence?  How do they communicate?
Wait!  Is ‘virtuosity’ a subjective property of a player – say, a player in markets, who adopts “virtue”, the necessary content of “virtuosity”, to guide her behaviour in markets, which in turn controls her, or somebody else’s, “invisible hand”?
Markets operate by VISIBLE prices – they cannot work without them - and this construction does not add clarity to an already perfectly clear construct, specifically that markets work through visible prices.
Perhaps  should have posted it in our regular column of "Loony Tunes"? 


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