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How to be Profitable and Moral

A Rational Egoist Approach to Business

Jaana Woiceshyn


A basic dilemma confronting today’s manager is how to be both profitable and moral. Making profits through immoral means—such as deceiving investors or customers—is unsustainable. Likewise, remaining moral while losing money will cause a business to fail. According to conventional morality, either a business manager maximizes profits and necessarily compromises on ethics, or necessarily sacrifices profits in order to be moral. Woiceshyn explains why this is a false dichotomy and offers rational egoism as an alternative moral code to businesspeople who want to maximize profits ethically. Through logical argument and various examples, this book shows how to apply principles such as rationality, productiveness, honesty, justice, and pride for long-term self-interest.

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Hamilton Books
Pages: 166Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7618-5699-3 • Hardback • December 2011 • $63.00 • (£42.95)
978-0-7618-6160-7 • Paperback • August 2013 • $30.99 • (£21.95)
978-0-7618-5700-6 • eBook • December 2011 • $28.99 • (£19.95)
Jaana Woiceshyn holds a Ph.D. in applied economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She has taught business ethics for over twenty years to undergraduate, MBA, and Executive MBA students and to various corporate audiences at the Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, and elsewhere. This is her first book. For more information, please see her website: http://www.profitableandmoral.com.

Introduction: How to Be Profitable and Moral
Which Ethics? • Overview
Values as End Goals, Principles as Road Maps
The Necessity of Pursuing Objective Values: An Issue of Life and Death • The Necessity of Guiding Principles: Why Acting on the Spur of the Moment Is Harmful • Rational Moral Principles Are Contextual—But Not Relative
Why Egoism?
The Principle of Self-Interest • Human Nature as the Gauge of Value • Why
Happiness Cannot Be the Standard of Value
Rationality as the Primary Virtue
Thinking as the Main Means of Survival—and of Being Moral • The Virtue of Rationality in Business • What Rationality Requires in Thinking and in Action • The Role of Emotions • Guarding against Irrationality • Applying Rationality
Material and Spiritual Benefits of Productiveness • Productive Work Requires
Thinking and Action • What about Rest and Retirement? • Guarding against
“Unproductiveness” • Applying Productiveness
Why Is Honesty Egoistic? • Honesty in Thinking and Action • Guarding against Dishonesty • Applying Honesty
Justice in Thinking • Justice in Action • Justice as Contextual • Justice as Trade • Guarding against Injustice • Applying Justice
Relevance of Independence in Business • Independence in Thinking • Independence in Action • Guarding against Second-Handedness • Applying Independence
Relevance of Integrity in Business • Integrity in Thinking and Action • How to Guard against Failures of Integrity• Applying Integrity
Relevance of Pride in Business • Pride in Thinking and Action • Pride as Contextual • Humility as Anti-Virtue and How to Guard against It • Applying Pride
Common Misconceptions about Egoism
Selfishness (and Greed) • Charity • Conflicts of Interest
The Social Context of Business: Capitalism, Rights, Government and the Current Reality
Production, Trade and Their Proper Social Context: Capitalism • Individual Rights • Initiation of Physical Force as Evil • The Role of Government • The Current Reality
How to Pursue Rational Self-Interest in a Mixed Economy
Defending Business to Create a More Pro-Business Environment • Running a Business and Resolving Moral Dilemmas Objectively

BB&T grew from $4.5 billion to $152 billion in assets during my tenure as chairman and CEO and weathered the recent financial crisis as one of the strongest financial institutions in America. The foundation for this success is unquestionably the principles outlined by Jaana Woiceshyn in How to Be Profitable and Moral.
John Allison, President and CEO, Cato Institute

Most think ethics is about self-sacrifice (altruism), or sacrificing others (cynical egoism). . . . Professor Woiceshyn presents an ethics that’s good for you and good for business, with no sacrifice. . . . This life-giving, rational ethics leads to personal success and happiness, and long-term profitability for business. It is a moral code for flourishing and prospering. This is an extraordinarily valuable book.
Carl B. Barney, Chairman and CEO, CollegeAmerica and Independence University

Professor Woiceshyn has provided a well-reasoned, clearly-written explanation showing . . . why business people need to live by rational moral principles as a necessary means to maximize profit. This cogent book deserves a careful reading by businesspeople, academics, and intelligent laymen alike.
Andrew Bernstein, author of The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire