John Hasnas is a professor of business at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business and a professor of law (by courtesy) at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC, where he teaches courses in ethics and law. Professor Hasnas is also the executive director of the Georgetown Institute for the Study of Markets and Ethics, whose tripartite mission is to produce high-quality research on matters related to the ethics of market activity, improve ethics pedagogy, and educate the broader, non-academic community about ethical issues related to the functioning of markets.
Professor Hasnas has held previous appointments as associate professor of law at George Mason University School of Law, visiting associate professor of law at Duke University School of Law and the Washington College of Law at American University, and Law and Humanities Fellow at Temple University School of Law. Professor Hasnas has also been a visiting scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics in Washington, DC and the Social Philosophy and Policy Center in Bowling Green, Ohio. He received his B.A. in Philosophy from Lafayette College, his J.D. and Ph.D. in Legal Philosophy from Duke University, and his LL.M. in Legal Education from Temple Law School. His scholarship concerns ethics and white collar crime, jurisprudence, and legal history.
Professor Hasnas is also the author of The Obviousness of Anarchy [pdf] and The Myth of the Rule of Law.
At the end of August, another academic year began, bringing with it the raft of broadcast e-mail messages from Georgetown's administration reminding us of our duty to treat all members of the University community respectfully. In addition to welcoming us back to campus, these messages exhort us "to reiterate our commitment to diversity and civility as we commence the school year," to act so as "to ensure Georgetown is an inclusive, welcoming community," to support University "efforts and initiatives to foster an inclusive and respectful social culture," and to recognize that at Georgetown "[w]e
In the much beloved movie, The Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya has spent his life seeking revenge against Count Rugen, the man who murdered his father. When he finally confronts Count Rugen, he keeps repeating, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." Finally, in utter frustration, Count Rugen yells, "Stop saying that!" I know just how Count Rugen felt. Everywhere I go, people begin arguments for a wide variety of normative conclusions with the premise, "Corporations have the special privilege of limited liability." Thus: “Corporations have the special privilege
The current controversy over the removal of Confederate monuments from public spaces is producing a great deal of rancor and strife. People on both sides seem to feel that their identity is under attack, and frequently react with anger or dismay. And yet, oddly enough, the emotional reaction that I had on hearing of the controversy was neither anger nor dismay, but nostalgia. The question of what public displays should be supported by the government immediately made me recall my days as a young boy growing up on Long Island in New York. This unusual reaction requires some explanation. I grew up
Many political commentators have accused Donald Trump of “undermining democracy.” This accusation appears to stem from Trump’s penchant for uttering obvious falsehoods. Over the past month, Trump has asserted that 3 to 5 million illegal votes were cast in the presidential election, that more people attended his inauguration than Barack Obama’s, that the murder rate in the United States is at its highest level in 47 years, that only 109 people were affected by his travel ban, that the media is not reporting on terrorist attacks, that a failed military raid in Yemen was a success, and that
I find democracy very confusing. Before the election, everyone seemed concerned with the problem of poorly informed voters. During the primaries, commentators and academics continually decried the fact that voters had too little information about the candidates. Not enough was known about their character, or where they stood on the issues, or what their policy proposals were. I don’t know how many op-eds I read railing against the danger of the ill-informed voter. During the general election campaign, the elite commentators were similarly up in arms about what the public did not know. Donald
Last month, I criticized Harvard’s decision to cancel the remainder of its men’s soccer season because some members of the team created “scouting reports” on the women’s soccer team — reports that assigned women players numerical scores on the basis of their perceived sex appeal, and included photos of the women accompanied by vulgar descriptions and suggested sexual positions. I objected to Harvard’s collective punishment of the team for the wrongdoing of some of its individual members, arguing that this was a violation of the liberal values that the university professes to uphold. At
On November 3, Harvard University cancelled the remaining regular season games of its men’s soccer team because some members of the team created and maintained sexual “scouting reports” on the members of the women’s soccer team. These reports assigned numerical scores to the women on the basis of their sex appeal, and included photos of the women accompanied by vulgar descriptions associated with hypothetical sexual positions for each. In announcing the cancellation of the remaining games, Harvard Athletic Director Bob Scalise stated “We strongly believe that this immediate and significant
As I write this, polls show that 59% of the American people have an unfavorable opinion of Hillary Clinton. Other than Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton is disliked by more Americans than any other candidate for president in recent history. What accounts for this? As far as I can tell from the press accounts, the public’s dislike seems to stem from Clinton’s tendencies to Shade the truth — as with the continually evolving explanations for her use of a private email server Tell different things to different audiences — as revealed in her comment that it was necessary to have “both a
Over twenty years ago, I published an article that argued that the rule of law was not only a myth, but an extremely dangerous one that causes people "to be willing not only to relinquish a large measure of [their] own freedom, but to enthusiastically support the state in the suppression of others' freedom as well." The current reaction to FBI Director James Comey's announcement that he was not recommending that criminal charges be filed against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton provides an excellent illustration of the thesis of that article. Director Comey had hardly finished speaking
Increasing the diversity of university and college faculties is a perennial problem. Every year, year after year, demands for a more diverse faculty increase. Last fall, a wave of protests from student groups representing people of color, women, and LGBT individuals caused universities to redouble their efforts to diversify their faculties. For example, Yale announced a $50 million, five-year, university-wide initiative to enhance faculty diversity. Similarly, Brown has committed $100 million to hiring 60 additional faculty members from historically under-represented groups over the next five to
It would not be remarkable to observe that politicians lie. Many people lie. What is remarkable is that politicians keep telling the same lies over and over again. Few people do this. (Donald Trump, who tells a new lie almost every time he opens his mouth, is not a counterexample to this observation because he is not really a politician.) I am unable to recall a time when politicians were not promising to balance the budget by eliminating "fraud, waste, and abuse," or to help the poor by increasing the budget of a federal program, or to create energy self-sufficiency, or to stem the tide of illegal
Many public intellectuals and political pundits were surprised by Donald Trump's ascendancy to the Republican nomination. In my opinion, this is because they succumbed to what has (unfairly) become known as the “Pauline Kael syndrome.” Pauline Kael is the New Yorker critic who was reputed to have remarked after the 1972 Presidential election that "Nixon couldn't have been elected. No one I know voted for him." (She actually never said this; hence the unfairness.) You see, political commentators spend so much talking to each other about public policy that they eventually come to believe that
A perennial complaint about democracy in America is that too large a portion of the electorate is poorly informed about important political issues. This is the problem of the ignorant voter. This problem was exacerbated in the current presidential election cycle by the large number of candidates vying for the Republican nomination that made keeping track of their various, and often shifting, policy positions extraordinarily difficult. As a result, many of those who voted in the presidential primaries cast their ballots with little idea of where the candidates stood on many important issues. Wouldn't
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