Professor Stephen Hicks applies Ayn Rand’s radical ethical perspective is applied to key issues in business ethics and contrasted to those perspectives that hold business to be essentially amoral or immoral. Special focus is given to the common assumption that conflicts of interest, either because of innate human badness or because of scarce resources, are fundamental to the human condition. That assumption is rejected in Rand’s system, based on her emphasis on the power of human reason to shape one’s character and beliefs and its power to develop new resources and cultivate win-win relationships. This is a reprint edition of an essay first published in the Journal of Accounting, Ethics, and Public Policy, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 1-26, Winter 2003.
Stephen Hicks, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy and Executive Director of the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship at Rockford College, Illinois. He has been a visiting professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and a visiting scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center in Bowling Green, Ohio. He is the author of Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (Scholargy, 2004), The Art of Reasoning: Readings for Logical Analysis (2nd edition, W. W. Norton, 1998; 3rd edition forthcoming), a DVD documentary entitled Nietzsche and the Nazis (Ockham’s Razor, 2006), and articles in academic journals such as The Review of Metaphysics and other publications such as The Wall Street Journal.