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Corporate Retirement Security: Social and Ethical Issues


How are workers in the United States to secure sufficient funds to make possible a retirement income that is in some essential way consistent with their expectations and their lifetime of achievements? Public policy debate over the topic of corporate retirement – a complex and hotly contested aspect of the larger U.S. retirement income system – continues to illustrate U.S. society’s widespread disagreement over the most fundamental facets of employment in general.

Contributors to this timely volume, edited by renowned business ethicist Robert W. Kolb, embrace a wide range of backgrounds: from business scholars and ethicists, philosophers, attorneys, and business consultants to corporations struggling with the problems of managing their retirement programs in an era of rapid change. The articles, all of which were written for this volume, offer diverse perspectives at the core of the very real issues involved in the employer–employee relationship, central to the social organization of work and the enjoyment of a comfortable and meaningful retirement.

Robert W. Kolb holds the Frank W. Considine Chair in Applied Ethics at Loyola University Chicago. He was formerly Assistant Dean for Business and Society (2003–2006) at the University of Colorado, and John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Finance at the University of Miami. He is author and co-author of numerous texts in finance, including Futures, Options, and Swaps, 5e (with James A. Overdahl, Blackwell, 2007) and Understanding Futures Markets, 6e (with James A. Overdahl, Blackwell, 2006).

“An Introduction”.

Robert W. Kolb.

Part I: Ethical Issues in Pension Plan Structure.

1. "Pension Plan Design: An Examination of Corporate Social Responsibility" (Joanne H. Gavin and Ken Sloan, Marist College).

2. "The Pension that Isn’t: The Defined-Contribution Retirement Plan" (Barry Bennett, Bonneville Power Authority).

3. "Corporate Retirement Security: A Bankrupt Oxymoron" (Patricia Werhane, University of Virginia and DePaul University).

4. “Trust, Portability, and Sustenance in Pension Plans” (Robbin Derry, Northwestern University).

Part II: Pension Plan Changes.

5. “Markets, Promises, and Responsibility: Reconsidering Pensions and Ethics” (Eugene Heath, State University of New York at New Paltz).

6. "Not How Much But How: The Ethics of Cash Balance Pension Conversions" (Michael E. Johnson-Cramer, Bucknell University and Robert A. Phillips, University of San Diego).

7. "Ethics of Corporate Retirement Program Changes" (Duane Windsor, Rice University).

8. “Reflections on Markets, Retirement and Corporate Responsibility” (Jeffery Smith, University of Redlands).

Part III: Investing Pension Plan Funds.

9. "Pensions and the Companies They Own: Fiduciary Duties in a Changing Social Environment" (Peter Kinder, KLD Research and Analytics, Inc.).

10. “Pension Funds and Socially Responsible Investing: More Risky Than Responsible Business” (Sarah Fuhrmann, v-Fluence Interactive Public Relations).

11. “Why Social Investing Threatens Public Employee Pension Funds” (Jon Entine, Miami University)