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Podcast: Jules Coleman, Moral Philosopher in the Boardroom

business ethics

Jules Coleman

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It sounds like the set up for a bad comedy routine: What is the role of morality in business — business ethics — today?

But in an age where reputation matters – where a business’ brand and customer connections can be ruined almost faster than you can “Tweet this” – not just understanding, but doing, the right thing is more than nice… it’s a business imperative.

But what is “the right thing?” For example, how should businesses balance social benefit with bottom line revenue? For whom does a business operate? And is there a place for morality in the boardroom?

My conversation today is with someone who sits, as they say, in the room where it happens. Jules Coleman is one of the nation’s preeminent moral philosophers. For years, he was the Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld Professor of Jurisprudence and Professor of Philosophy at Yale Law School. He then became the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Planning at New York University. Today, Coleman serves on a number of corporate boards as a Senior Strategic Advisor, bringing his decades of theoretical thought and analysis to the practical application of global business.


Chris Riback: Jules, thanks for joining me. I appreciate your time.

Jules Coleman: My pleasure, Chris.

Chris Riback: I guess we should start with the obvious, which is one, what is a moral philosopher? And two, perhaps more significantly, what in the world does morality have to do with business boardrooms?

Jules Coleman: Well, those are two very good questions, and I wish I could provide concise, short answers to both of them, but let me begin with the first. A moral philosopher is someone who thinks deeply about a range of questions having to do with our moral life, and our moral life has to do with a variety of different kinds of things. Namely, both our personal, our social, our political, our economic, and I’m inclined to believe our business life. But in terms of the broadest outlines, it would be we have a range of moral concepts and evaluative concepts like good, bad, right, wrong, just, unjust, fair, unfair. We also have a range of moral sentiments, of resentment, indignation, guilt, shame. I’m sorry I’m focusing only on the negative ones. Joy, happiness. We have a range of normative concepts that are essential to how we think about our relationship with others as well, like harm, benefit, to treat fairly, treat unfairly, and so on.

And so they’re a range of different kinds of issues, which are issues that are a large part of our personal lives, our social lives, our economic and political lives, so for example, what rights do I have, that is that other people would be wrong if they were to interfere with them? What is it that I must do in order to exhibit certain kinds of virtues like kindness, generosity, courage, bravery? When is it appropriate for me to have certain kinds of moral sentiments or emotions, to feel resentment, to feel guilt, to feel shame, to feel remorse? What are the conditions under which it would be appropriate for me to forgive? And so on.

Then there are a set of questions that we think that are important about regulating our affairs with other people. When am I justified, if at all, in harming anyone? And of course, that’s a very serious question, like the question, what is it to actually harm someone as opposed to merely offend them? Why is that difference between offending and harming important? When are we justified in harming? What are my responsibilities to come to the aid of others and benefit others, to provide opportunities to others? When is my providing opportunities to others a matter of charity or beneficence, and when is it an obligation upon me? When do I have responsibilities to come to the aid of others? People who think about these questions in a systematic way are moral philosophers, whether they have professional training or not, and I think there’s a sense, therefore, in which we’re all, to the extent to which we’re reflective people, moral philosophers.

Chris Riback: And yet some of us, meaning you, are likely slightly better at it than others, meaning me, and you surely spend more time and thought on it. But you just hit on a point, as you were going through those. I’m listening to you and what’s coming to mind is, so I understand why these questions would drive a nonprofit. I understand how these questions might drive my behavior in everyday life interactions with friends, with my family, with my kids. What do they have to do with business?

Jules Coleman: Well, it’s interesting. I mean, perhaps in some ways the distinction between profit and nonprofit doesn’t seem to cut as strongly as you might suggest, so you can have an education business that’s formed as a nonprofit, and if what you said is correct or what you suggest is correct, then it would be appropriate for the education business as a nonprofit to be thinking about these kinds of issues with regard to their students, how they treat their faculty, what the responsibilities are of the various stakeholders, and so on. What duties they might have to educate, and so on. But it would be odd to think that if the education business had organized itself as a for-profit, that it wouldn’t have the exact same questions facing it, so I don’t think that the distinction really is between for-profit or not-for-profit. If there’s a distinction to be had, and I’m not absolutely sure that there is, it would be more based on the content of the business, not whether it’s a business versus a nonprofit.

Chris Riback: So what types of companies do you work with?

Jules Coleman: Well, most of my relationships are with education businesses and also with investment groups.

Chris Riback: So how does a company … I understand they look around a boardroom and they say, “Okay. Well, we’ve got a financial person. We have a marketing person. I know what we’re missing. We’re missing a moral philosopher.” How does that come about and how do you get involved with the boards?

Jules Coleman: Well, that’s interesting. I guess I forgot the question a bit, because it seems that people aren’t asking themselves that question very often. How is that I need a moral philosopher? Well, the answer seems to me to be pretty straightforward. You have people. You have an organization. You relate to the public in certain ways. You live under legal regulations and rules. And all of those things raise moral questions. One, with regard to the health of the organization. That is, is the organization an organization that people enjoy working with and is it regulated by norms? Are the norms norms that display respect, concern for the interest of individuals who work there?

I’m a great believer that an industry or a company that is regulated by norms, and norms that reflect respect for the people who work there, concern for their wellbeing and the like, is a healthier organization, more likely to be stable. Even if one thought about it entirely instrumentally, you wouldn’t want to devote most of your time in an organization to be on searches to replacing people who will leave all the time. So you have to show a certain kind of appropriate regard for the interest for others, and they have to show an appropriate regard for one another. And the questions are, what are the norms that are appropriate to that environment? So that’s one set of very simple questions that have to do with the overall health of an organization.

With regard to implementing those norms, you’d certainly want the HR department to ask, “What’s our place in the lives of the individuals who work for us?” That is, “What kinds of benefits should we be providing for them that are appropriate to how the world is organized now and what the world will look like five, 10, or 15 years from now? For example, is it appropriate for us to be providing educational opportunities?” I mean, I just make this point because it seems to me a non-trivial fact about the future that while we’ve typically associated education with educational institutions and educational buildings, schools, that education is going to be a lifelong activity for individuals, both for their personal growth, for their capacity to manage the world as it changes, and for other job opportunities that arise for them.

Now, you can think of these things all from the point of view of self-interest, but you can also think of them from the point of view, you’re a company, you’re an organization; what displays of care and concern and respect do you want to see inside your organization? Those are internal questions. For social related questions, the natural thought would be, what is it that you owe your customers, clients, consumers? How much are you prepared to just rely upon notions that are very familiar, that no doubt the economists on the board will bring up, which is, “Let the market take care it”” That, have adequate or sufficient competition in an area and that will drive prices to their marginal cost, and that is for other institutions, larger institutions, like the marketplace, to deal with.

But, of course, there are a whole range of other issues that you need to deal with. For example, safety. You make products that are risky. It’s very hard for people in the market to gather all the relevant information about the safety or risk associated with the products that you make. What degree of disclosure do you think is appropriate? Are you satisfied with meeting the standards that regulations happen to have at any particular time? Are those adequate? You know they’re not adequate with regard to your legal liability, so for example, I just happen to be a lucky person here to have on your board and you certainly would want me on your board, because not only am I capable of helping you think about what sort of disclosure you think is appropriate with regard to safety, it’s also true that I’ve taught torts 35 years, 30 years at Yale Law School, and in teaching torts I can assure you that satisfying the minimum regulations is not a defense against a negligence suit if those standards which are expressed in the regulation are themselves not adequate, do not constitute the exercise of reasonable care. So that’s “you’re facing your clients” kinds of issues.

How about your general social responsibility? That is, you’re a part of a community. As a corporation or a company, you’ve already begun to take on many of the roles that citizens typically have. You can make investments and exercise so called free speech rights with regard to your supporting a certain kind of candidates and making contributions during election periods. Well, with those along with those citizenship related rights, will, I would think, come a variety of broadly speaking and loosely speaking citizen related responsibilities. That is, what is it that you owe the community in which you’re located, the region in which you’re located, and the country as a whole? What do you owe them, and what do you owe, if you do business internationally? What do you owe the countries in which you’re located of generally? These are not just technical issues. They’re serious issues that help define and create an identity of a company.

Chris Riback: But Jules, these moral questions that you’re raising in a capitalist society, in an economic environment, in a business where in the end they stay in business or not based on, let’s just take it to the extreme, their ability to earn $1 more than they spend, net-net. Right? That they can actually stay profitable. Why should not all of these decisions come down to the economics? How should I treat my customers? Well, I should treat them in a way such that they’re going to return, and if they don’t return, then I lose business, and so that’s my incentive. How should I treat the society locally? Same thing. How much should I focus on the legal risks around my business? Well, same thing. If I don’t handle it sufficiently, then I’ll get sued, I’ll have other issues, I’ll have reputational issues. That’ll hurt my bottom line. Why could/should it not all be reduced to an economic question? Because A, wouldn’t that simplify things? Isn’t the binary economic question a whole lot easier than the moral question? And why should I not boil it down in that way as opposed to having to do the hard work of thinking about it from a moral point of view?

Jules Coleman: Well, I’ll give you my favorite answer to that. I don’t believe that there are economics questions or institutional market questions that aren’t themselves also moral questions.

Chris Riback: Explain that to me.

Jules Coleman: So for example, maybe I’ll give you an example and then we’ll try to generalize from this example, or if the example is not adequately suggestive. I think the example is adequately suggestive in the following way. Ronald Coase won a Nobel Prize for two important papers that he wrote. One was on the nature of the corporation. The other was on what ultimately became the Coase theorem, the nature of externalities. The example he used, one of the examples is you have cows and corn, and the cows come trample on the corn. The question that is raised is, who’s responsible for the cost of the corn, the lost corn? The more cows, the more lost corn. Okay? Now, typically you might say, you might hold a view that there’s an easy answer to this. The cows trampled the corn, and therefore the cows have to pay. All right? And therefore it’s a cost to the rancher. Another view is, well, I should ask who came first? Was the corn there first or was the cow there first? I mean, did the farmer come to the danger or did the rancher present the danger? It’s a historical question.

Well, Coase’s famous theorem was that we should think of this question from the point of view, what’s economically efficient? It doesn’t matter as long as the costs of transaction are zero between the parties and they’re fully rational, because they will bargain with one another to produce the optimal amount of cows and corn. And this is a question whether fencing in or fencing out, is whether it’s a cost … the damage to the corn is a cost of ranching or a cost of farming. Coase says it doesn’t really matter. Whether we call it a cost of ranching or a cost of farming, it will ultimately be resolved by the market, provided there’s full rationality and full information. Now, it seems to me that all the things that we’re talking about have that form. You’re assuming that the market will determine who bears the costs, that you have a competitive market. At a certain point, the liability or the cost fall to the consumer unless there are market forces which force those costs to go to the company.

Now, my view is we first have to decide. Whether something is an externality or not is a question about who has what rights? So for example, it’s an externality of ranching only if the farmer has a right that you not impose liability upon him. Now, in a perfectly competitive market that issue may not be important. That’s what Coase’s theorem is designed to show. If people were fully rational, had full information, and everything was perfectly competitive, it’s not that there wouldn’t be a moral question. It’s just that the moral question wouldn’t matter, but as soon as you have less than full information, less than perfect competition, and less than full rationality and capacity to determine the costs, it matters whether individuals have the right, whether it’s a right against cows trampling on you or not. So the moral question determines what’s an externality of your activity.

And it matters when the conditions of perfect competition are not met, so leaving it up to a market is a very vague way, because the first thing I want to know is, how competitive is the market? How fully informed? How much information? What’s the cost of search for the consumers? Right? So the fundamental economic questions make the moral questions irrelevant only under a very narrow set of conditions. Once those conditions are not satisfied, the moral questions are fundamental.

Chris Riback: But if we do live in a marketplace or a series of marketplaces without perfect information … and I would argue that we do. In theory, they’re supposed to be perfect information. In a marketplace that’s what drives it, but frequently there isn’t, and business A is kind of inclined to want to do the right thing and all those really good behaviors that you described at the beginning of this conversation, and they hire a moral philosopher to help them stay on the straight and narrow.

Jules Coleman: Right.

Chris Riback: Then they realize, “But what it is that a minute. Company B, my competitor, they ain’t so worried about morality. They’re not so worried about doing the right thing.” And what is the incentive then? Should a business worry about morality? Worry is maybe not the right word. Should a business employ moral thinking in a marketplace where competitors might not be? Is one obliged to do the right thing when doing the right thing might put me at a competitive disadvantage?

Jules Coleman: Well, of course that’s obviously an excellent question. I have two thoughts about that. The first one is, it would be nice to get people thinking about identifying what the right thing is and getting a discussion going in the group as to whether or not it’s appropriate to do the right thing under the circumstances where others are not, you know? The conversation you and I are having …

Chris Riback: Yep.

Jules Coleman: … does this mean a lot of value that a moral theorist or a moral philosopher has already presented? Because it has the board thinking about, “It’s appropriate for us to think about what the right thing to do is as opposed to thinking that our only responsibility is to maximize shareholder value or some such thing or maximize our profit.” So we’re far along already. That’s the first thing I’d say.

The second thing I’d say is twofold. We already have lots of examples in which governments act as, let’s say, imperfect moral agents by solving these kinds of coordination collective action problems where otherwise … I mean, basically what you’ve raised for me is you’ve now put me in a prisoner’s dilemma problem.

Chris Riback: Yes, yes.

Jules Coleman: Which is something like, everybody will defect all the time because if the other guy defects, and the rational strategy is for me to defect, if the other guy complies, the rational strategy is for me to defect because I don’t absorb the cost that the other person is taking on.

Chris Riback: I am worried that you are forcing me into the bottom right hand box.

Jules Coleman: Exactly. Exactly, and when we have such prisoner dilemma problems, sometimes, sometimes those issues are thought to be appropriate domain for a legal intervention, right? If in fact the best strategy is to get everybody to comply and to get everybody to do, broadly speaking, the right thing, so your prisoner’s dilemma is set up, do the moral thing, don’t defect from doing the moral thing, right? And the fear is, we’re never going to do the moral thing because it’s a prisoner’s dilemma, and some people think, “Well, the best solution to that prisoner’s dilemma is of course for government intervention.” But government intervention, of course, produces its own set of problems, okay? So the question is, how can we coordinate our behavior with other individuals to do the right thing? Or should we just always find ourselves in a position of not doing the right thing as long as others are not doing the right?

Chris Riback: Or should we do the right thing despite the fact that others aren’t, because maybe we believe that we can create a business advantage out of that. You know, we can be the good guys, and in today’s society, in an age where business reputation has increased value to the point where people hire reputation repair companies to manage this for them, perhaps, than it did previously, and reputational risk management is so important, maybe it forces one into that area. I mean, I agree. I totally take one of the points that you made, that this is exactly the conversation the boards should be having, and having somebody like you in there with them probably encourages to have that, and perhaps even they were self-selected a bit in the first place. They were the type of board or the type of individuals who want to be grappling with these issues, so they bring in somebody like you, who can help them to do so in a disciplined way.

I guess my question is, what does that disciplined way look like? Is there a paradigm to struggle with these prisoner dilemma type issues or do you just kind of plow down the road and make the best decisions one can while going through, but remaining cognizant of the choices and tension that kind of inform the decision that you’re making?

Jules Coleman: Well, I think the following set of considerations are likely to come into play. The first thing, there is a framework for thinking about this problem, because there’s a framework for thinking about the prisoner’s dilemma, generally. Right? So one framework is the following. The prisoner’s dilemma is a problem for people when it’s a single play, when it’s just one opportunity, and the question is, I’m a company; how do I want to think of myself. As a rational utility maximizer at each step, at each decision, for every decision I reach? Or do I want to think of myself as a rational constraint or a constrained rational utility maximizer? That is, I want to impose constraints on my utility maximizing, because ultimately will be a more beneficial strategy for me that I’ll absorb certain kinds of costs, but ultimately it will be in my interest. That’s a familiar way of thinking about it, and it goes something like this, if you want to make it real.

That is, norms individually, complying with norms when other people are not complying with norms, or when there are no norms in place in general and other people aren’t even thinking about the issue, they impose relatively costs on me compared to other people. That’s absolutely true. Right?

Chris Riback: Yes. That makes sense.

Jules Coleman: So now the question is, why would it ever be rational for me to impose constraints on myself?

Chris Riback: Yes.

Jules Coleman: Right?

Chris Riback: Yeah.

Jules Coleman: That’s the question you’re asking.

Chris Riback: Yes.

Jules Coleman: And the answer to that is, who am I? Who am I? Now, if you don’t want to ask that question of yourself, now the one thing I could say is, surely, I want to impose some constraints on myself whether or not other people are doing so, because I want my organization to be healthy, a happy place for people to work, and those costs are well worth taking for me. They’re well worth taking for me up to a point, of course. If what I had to do was provide free college education for all people who work there and for their children, it would be extremely expensive and I couldn’t do it and I’d be out of business, and so I would start to obviously look for some limitations no matter what the competitive advantage. Now, I think of course there’s a competitive advantage for me in doing this. In that competitive advantage is workers who are higher skilled workers will be more … consider working for me because I provide a healthy environment for individuals.

You see some version of this out in Silicon Valley where all these companies are providing benefits of one sort or another. They have to do with free food, or I know at law firms, people who work at the law firms, they get free rides home and dinner if they stay until 10 o’clock or something along these lines. Now everybody does that. But the first person who did it, the first mover did it for reasons that was either it would provide a competitive advantage. I doubt that that was true. I doubt that they thought it would provide a competitive advantage, that they would get the best students from Yale Law School. They weren’t getting them before. Now they’re going to get them because they’re going to give free dinner and a free ride home in a chauffeured car if you stay until after 10 o’clock. I think they thought it’s the right way to treat your people you have working god knows how many hours a day, and to keep them happy and healthy and well-functioning, and it’s otherwise unfair to them. Okay?

So one thing you do is you get to do this because sometimes it does set, provide a competitive advantage, and sometimes it does set the norms about kind of internal institution you want to be, all right? Now the question is, what about externally? What about providing information about risk or about products that involve levels of risk that other people are not providing, that other companies are not providing? Well, it seems to me one thing you could be doing is, from a purely self-interested point of view, is you can … you are reducing your legal liability to an extent, in which you’re giving fair warning when other people are not yet giving fair warning. You’re giving people full disclosure when other people are not giving full disclosure. So you’re absorbing some costs in order to do that, perhaps, but you are potentially reducing your legal liability.

But, more than that, you are letting people know that you are being honest and transparent with them, and other companies are not. You could do it for the right reasons. It could still turn out to be a competitive advantage, ultimately, but from the point of view of defining what kind of institution or company you are, you always have to make that choice. You always have to make that choice, and you do it incrementally. I’m not saying you walk in and you say, “I’m going to comply with everything that I think is morally right in every conceivable manner and every conceivable way,” but I can give you lots of other little examples in which having a moral philosopher can suggest something about the appropriateness of rewarding charitable behavior, good fellowship to employees.

Why? Because there are worthy things, that it’s appropriate to show respect and admiration for, not just because they now have a new watch or a better parking spot for a month or something like that. You want people to internalize the idea that it’s admirable behavior, and you’re taking note of it and you want people to take note of admirable behavior, and so on.

Chris Riback: Some of the words that you use and maybe even some of the adjectives that you use to describe the way companies could behave, admirable, good, charitable, are adjectives that one would think, under normal circumstances, more about, I think, more about people than about companies. You touched on this point a little bit earlier briefly, and citizens united was kind of one of the references, but from a … and I almost … and maybe I can’t, so I want to separate the legal from the moral, but if you go through it and you tell me, “No, Riback, we can’t,” then I’ll listen to you. But from a moral point of view, are companies people?

Jules Coleman: Well, from a metaphysical point of view they certainly aren’t, but they are composed of people and they have responsibilities. They have liabilities. They have rights. They have moral responsibilities and moral rights, and quite apart from where they have legal rights and legal responsibilities. For example, groups which are … so if we didn’t talk about companies and we just talked about groups, groups of individuals are not necessarily just the individuals who happen to be in the group at any particular time, because those individuals can change and whole new people can come in, and you’re still a particular group like the boy scouts or the New York Yankees. Or let’s imagine that the New York Yankees was not a business but just a team, so the team changes, the boy scouts change and other organizations change their membership, but there are all sorts of responsibilities and rights that go along with membership in that group.

So moral rights, moral responsibilities, moral duties, showing courage, being brave, being small-minded, something we have a recent experience of, these are things and attributes that are properly associated with behavior groups. Now, a company is a particular kind of group, right? It typically will have a kind of corporate structure. It will often a hierarchy. Some are flatter than others in their organizational structure, but there’s nothing about being a corporation that makes the case that it’s inappropriate to think of you as having range of duties and responsibilities even if we tend to associate that primarily with persons.

Chris Riback: Jules, to close out, does every business need a moral philosopher? I don’t mean that as a commercial or a publicity for you or people like you. I mean in terms of, is that … where we are in society, so for example, we’re not the early 1900s, and so we have now greater sets of laws, greater awareness around the different rights and responsibilities, whether those are to employees or to customers or to society and communities, the full range of shareholders. Do we need moral philosophy as part of running a business today?

Jules Coleman: Well, I don’t want to say yes to that because it seems too obvious, a form of self-promotion.

Chris Riback: Yes. Exactly. I don’t mean it to be self-serving. I mean it to be … you understand.

Jules Coleman: Right. Absolutely, and it’s a really good question, but I’d rather reframe it in a slightly different question. There are a lot of forces in play in a mature political economy that constrain what companies can do, right? So they’re constrainers. They’re constrainers. They’re legal constrainers. There’s social constrainers, and there are economic constrainers, and many of those will have the salutary effect of something companies to behave better than … and by better I don’t assume that … I’m not assuming that they behave badly otherwise, but let’s just say they’ll be more likely to conform to what we would think would be an appropriate or justified or fair way of interacting with the various stakeholders or people who are affected by what they do. There are a lot of constrainers that will drive companies towards that, but that’s as a constrainer. It’s not as part of the self-identification and motivation of the company.

If we rely entirely upon that form of incentive structure as opposed to self-reflection … right? It’s very similar … none of these analogies are perfect. They’re not intended to be perfect. They’re just supposed to be suggestive. Oliver Wendell Holmes said we should think of the law from the point of view of the bad man, the person who in the absence of the law is likely to do something that we would prefer or desire that he or she not do, and so that we have to put law in place from the point of view of the justification of the law as constraining a person who would otherwise not be inclined to do what we want them to do. Another view about the law is the one that I’m pressing. Let’s think of the law from the point of view of the uncertain person who wants to do the right thing but doesn’t know what it is.

Let’s think of our companies not from the point of view of putting in place lots of external constraints elsewhere, relying on law, newspapers, social arrangements, all of which are very important, to have the behavior of companies being more socially sensitive, impactful, fair, just. Let’s think of companies from the point of view, especially large companies that are extraordinarily impactful in the areas in which they are, they live, in the regions in which they are central, and in the world large companies, let’s think of them as asking the question … I want to do what’s just and fair. I want to do what works to the benefit of a large number of people. I want to be charitable and beneficent where appropriate. I just don’t know what it requires of me. Not, I want to be informed. I want to be informed.

That’s what the moral philosopher does. It gets you informed and gets you to think about your motivation, your self-identity, your place in society rather than assuming that what you’re out to do is maximize your profits against a range of constraints, because all you’re doing from the perspective that you articulated, not you personally but the one that you’re offering up as an alternative, is just more things that are constraints against which I optimize.

Chris Riback: And what are those conversations like? How do business people react when they have the opportunity to have those kinds of conversations?

Jules Coleman: Well, actually I think people find it exactly valuable. For example, without talking about a company that I sit on the board, it’s a company that’s going to be in 40 cities around the world, right?

Chris Riback: Yes.

Jules Coleman: So it is going to have innovation centers in 40 cities around the world. It’s going to bring in entrepreneurs and young people filled of ideas in 40 different locations around the world, right? So it’s going to be in a variety of different kinds of cultural settings, and to be norm governed is completely different in this regard because it makes you sensitive to what are the norms in particular countries around the world, in particular regions in how we set up the building, how we set up the classrooms?

Same thing in education. I consult with a large education company that is going to be in 30 to 35 schools K through 12 around the world, and there are a range of moral questions which have to do not only with the culture … right? Which are enormous issues in education and academic freedom of faculty members, right? But also responsibilities that we owe to students who we want to have travel from place to place, so people welcome these kinds of issues. I know that Apple, for example, hired a friend of mine from Stanford who is a political philosopher, a moral/political philosopher, because they’re interested in these kinds of issues themselves. Now, I think they have a whole division of people who are thinking about these kinds of issues.

It’s a funny question. Can everybody afford to have a moral philosopher on board? It makes it sound like … well, if you think of moral philosophers in a certain way, can everybody afford to have a crook on board? No, because they’ll kill their reputation, so can everybody have a moral philosopher on board? You know, they’re going to cost us so much money in so many ways. Well, no. You don’t have to listen to the moral philosopher and do what the moral philosopher … the moral philosophers are going to tell you what to do. The moral philosopher is going to help you thinking about what kind of company you are and where you’re situated in the world, and not allow you to simply say, because I’m a company and I have shareholders, public or private, my job is to maximize their outcomes. That is a mistake in conception of what a company’s place in the world is, and so that message is more important to me than the message of whether you have a moral philosopher on board, but I do think having the discussions inside the boardroom are valuable.

Chris Riback: Jules, thank you. Thank you for your time and for your insights.

Jules Coleman: It’s absolutely my pleasure, Chris, and I hope that your audience finds this of interest and value. However, they may disagree with me, and if it stimulates the discussion with them, that would be great. I would appreciate it.