Submission Type

Presentation

Submission Title

Is Risk Taking Beneficial?: An Analysis of John Hobson’s “The Ethics of Gambling” (1905) and Frank Kight’s Risk, Uncertainty, Profit (1921)

Session Title

Session 2-2-D: Ethics and Gambling Development

Location

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Start Date

29-5-2019 11:00 AM

End Date

29-5-2019 12:25 PM

Disciplines

Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics | Ethics and Political Philosophy | Other History

Abstract

In 1905 John A Hobson wrote an article for the Journal of Ethics entitled “The Ethics of Gambling” which provided a thorough analysis not only of what makes a particular act of gambling ethical or not, but also considered to potential social effects of widespread gambling, and what it might mean for general commerce if employees got in the habit of speculating with company resources. He has a suspicious view of gambling’s effects in society and on business.

In 1921 Frank Knight, another economist, published his well known work Risk, Uncertainty, Profit (Chicago) in which he lauded the importance and value of risk taking entrepreneurs. Such risk-taking, he claims, is essential to a vibrant market, and is the basis for why entrepreneurs deserve what they earn by risking their own money.

Here I will compare and contrast these views of the value or danger of risk taking in society at large, and particularly in business. We will try to answer these questions: 1. What is the relationship between risk taking in gaming situations, and risk taking in entrepreneurial situations? 2. What are the potential benefits and harms of risk taking habits for society at large. 3. Insofar as gaming can help habituate a certain tolerance for risk, is it a useful means of developing important characteristics necessary for successful entrepreneurship?

Keywords

Risk taking Frank Knight John Hobson gaming entrepreneurship ethics

Author Bio

Andy Gustafson is a philosopher, and is Professor of Business Ethics and Society at the Heider College of Business at Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska. He focuses on business ethics, business and its societal effects, corporate social responsibility, ethical issues in marketing and public policy, as well as unintended (good and bad) externalities of business, and is especially interested in how business can contribute to the common good. He has presented papers and research at over100 conferences and other events, nationwide, and abroad. He has published in the UNLV Gaming Review, Business Ethics Quarterly, Business and Society Review, Business Ethics: A European Review, Teaching Ethics Journal, International Philosophical Quarterly, The British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Journal of Religion and Business Ethics, Journal of Religion and Society, and others. He has also taught a travel course to Las Vegas since 2005 and has since 2014 led an international travel course to Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Macau.

Funding Sources

none

Competing Interests

none

Comments

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May 29th, 11:00 AM May 29th, 12:25 PM

Is Risk Taking Beneficial?: An Analysis of John Hobson’s “The Ethics of Gambling” (1905) and Frank Kight’s Risk, Uncertainty, Profit (1921)

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

In 1905 John A Hobson wrote an article for the Journal of Ethics entitled “The Ethics of Gambling” which provided a thorough analysis not only of what makes a particular act of gambling ethical or not, but also considered to potential social effects of widespread gambling, and what it might mean for general commerce if employees got in the habit of speculating with company resources. He has a suspicious view of gambling’s effects in society and on business.

In 1921 Frank Knight, another economist, published his well known work Risk, Uncertainty, Profit (Chicago) in which he lauded the importance and value of risk taking entrepreneurs. Such risk-taking, he claims, is essential to a vibrant market, and is the basis for why entrepreneurs deserve what they earn by risking their own money.

Here I will compare and contrast these views of the value or danger of risk taking in society at large, and particularly in business. We will try to answer these questions: 1. What is the relationship between risk taking in gaming situations, and risk taking in entrepreneurial situations? 2. What are the potential benefits and harms of risk taking habits for society at large. 3. Insofar as gaming can help habituate a certain tolerance for risk, is it a useful means of developing important characteristics necessary for successful entrepreneurship?