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What Price the Moral High Ground?: Ethical Dilemmas in Competitive Environments

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Financial disasters--and stories of the greedy bankers who precipitated them--seem to underscore the idea that self-interest will always trump concerns for the greater good. Indeed, this idea is supported by the prevailing theories in both economics and evolutionary biology. But is it valid? In "What Price the Moral High Ground?," economist and social critic Robert Frank ch Financial disasters--and stories of the greedy bankers who precipitated them--seem to underscore the idea that self-interest will always trump concerns for the greater good. Indeed, this idea is supported by the prevailing theories in both economics and evolutionary biology. But is it valid? In "What Price the Moral High Ground?," economist and social critic Robert Frank challenges the notion that doing well is accomplished only at the expense of doing good. Frank explores exciting new work in economics, psychology, and biology to argue that honest individuals often succeed, even in highly competitive environments, because their commitment to principle makes them more attractive as trading partners. Drawing on research he has conducted and published over the past decade, Frank challenges the familiar homo economicus stereotype by describing how people create bonds that sustain cooperation in one-shot prisoner's dilemmas. He goes on to describe how people often choose modestly paid positions in the public and nonprofit sectors over comparable, higher-paying jobs in the for-profit sector; how studying economics appears to inhibit cooperation; how social norms often deter opportunistic behavior; how a given charitable organization manages to appeal to donors with seemingly incompatible motives; how concerns about status and fairness affect salaries in organizations; and how socially responsible firms often prosper despite the higher costs associated with their business practices. Frank's arguments have important implications for the conduct of leaders in private as well as public life. Tossing aside the model of the self-interested homo economicus, Frank provides a tool for understanding how to better structure organizations, public policies, and even our own lives.


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Financial disasters--and stories of the greedy bankers who precipitated them--seem to underscore the idea that self-interest will always trump concerns for the greater good. Indeed, this idea is supported by the prevailing theories in both economics and evolutionary biology. But is it valid? In "What Price the Moral High Ground?," economist and social critic Robert Frank ch Financial disasters--and stories of the greedy bankers who precipitated them--seem to underscore the idea that self-interest will always trump concerns for the greater good. Indeed, this idea is supported by the prevailing theories in both economics and evolutionary biology. But is it valid? In "What Price the Moral High Ground?," economist and social critic Robert Frank challenges the notion that doing well is accomplished only at the expense of doing good. Frank explores exciting new work in economics, psychology, and biology to argue that honest individuals often succeed, even in highly competitive environments, because their commitment to principle makes them more attractive as trading partners. Drawing on research he has conducted and published over the past decade, Frank challenges the familiar homo economicus stereotype by describing how people create bonds that sustain cooperation in one-shot prisoner's dilemmas. He goes on to describe how people often choose modestly paid positions in the public and nonprofit sectors over comparable, higher-paying jobs in the for-profit sector; how studying economics appears to inhibit cooperation; how social norms often deter opportunistic behavior; how a given charitable organization manages to appeal to donors with seemingly incompatible motives; how concerns about status and fairness affect salaries in organizations; and how socially responsible firms often prosper despite the higher costs associated with their business practices. Frank's arguments have important implications for the conduct of leaders in private as well as public life. Tossing aside the model of the self-interested homo economicus, Frank provides a tool for understanding how to better structure organizations, public policies, and even our own lives.

35 review for What Price the Moral High Ground?: Ethical Dilemmas in Competitive Environments

  1. 4 out of 5

    Justin Samaniego

    Recommended by my MBA 'Designing a Good Life' Professor, Nicholas Epley Recommended by my MBA 'Designing a Good Life' Professor, Nicholas Epley

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

    Was looking for more substance, but turned out to be more about the statistical analysis of cooperation. If you're jonesing for discussion at length about Prisoner's Dilemmas and Game Theory, this book is for you. Was looking for more substance, but turned out to be more about the statistical analysis of cooperation. If you're jonesing for discussion at length about Prisoner's Dilemmas and Game Theory, this book is for you.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Aleksi

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tara Wright

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kevin de Graav

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Schneider

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paul Vittay

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    Peter Jacobsson

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    Maggie

  10. 4 out of 5

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  11. 4 out of 5

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  12. 4 out of 5

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  13. 4 out of 5

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  14. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Maddison

  15. 5 out of 5

    James

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    Jamie Pratt

  17. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

  18. 5 out of 5

    Foxglove Zayuri

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

  20. 5 out of 5

    Renee Liu

  21. 4 out of 5

    William Jenkins

  22. 5 out of 5

    Yevgeniya

  23. 4 out of 5

    Aleksander

  24. 5 out of 5

    Erick

  25. 4 out of 5

    Johannes

  26. 5 out of 5

    Juan Carlos

  27. 4 out of 5

    Josh

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tabita Espinoza

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brian Bailey

  30. 5 out of 5

    Basuki Singh

  31. 5 out of 5

    ne

  32. 5 out of 5

    Josh Rowe

  33. 4 out of 5

    LP

  34. 5 out of 5

    Jurgen Dhaese

  35. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey Swanson

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