Business Ethics and Indigenous Values

LAW 631Q | 1 credit


8 a.m. to 12:20 p.m., Jan. 26 to 28, 2023

Chris Derickson Mark Selman

Business ethics in the Western world are shaped by two key theories: utilitarianism and deontology. Taken together, these form the basis for Western law, as well as the bases for many social science disciplines, including economics, and public policy. Indigenous ways of understanding are complex, nuanced, and embody the accumulated wisdom of generations. Historically, they have supported the development of thriving nations and Indigenous governance systems. And, more recently, they have survived the failed efforts of colonizers to replace them with Western beliefs and practices.

This course explores the relationships between Western theories of ethics that have shaped Western institutions and the social sciences, and Indigenous understandings, including tribal ethics, that have the potential to be used in creating new institutions and new ways of understanding the world. Some questions to consider include: 

  • How can traditional Indigenous notions of ethics be applied in contemporary contexts? 
  • How do Indigenous values impact economic development?  
  • In what ways are utilitarianism and deontology inconsistent with Indigenous ethics? In what ways might they be consistent?