Possible Topics

Possible Topics

Listed below are some examples of possible topics. The possibilities are virtually endless. Any topic related to business and ethics is acceptable. It is allowable to use published cases, although judges tend to respond more favorably to current issues.

*Special note on topics: In prior years, a number of teams chose topics that were more closely related to "ethics and economics" or "ethics and public policy" than to "business ethics." Accordingly, for this year's competition, we are asking teams to make sure that their topics relate directly to an issue faced by a company or industry.


CEO compensation
IT, China and human rights
Downloading music and videos
"Slave insurance" and reparations
Food issues: trans-fat, hydrogenated oils
For-profit prisons
For-profit hospitals
Native American casinos
Sales incentives in the pharmaceutical industry
The price of pharmaceuticals
Internet pharmacies
Using off-shore labor: athletic shoes, garment industry, IT support, etc.
Human rights issues and international corporations, e.g., Unocal and Mynmar
Mutual fund scandals
The cost of textbooks
Stem cell research
Gas prices
California power industry
Sale of term papers, etc.
"Living Wage"
Children, advertising
E-commerce, internet and privacy
Genetically engineered foods
Courtney Love and record contracts
Drug and supplement use in professional sports (screening, impact on young, etc.)
Irradiated food
Children, violence, television (Surgeon General's report)

Migrant farm workers
WWII corporations and slave labor
Media images of women (impact on girls)
Cost of prescription drugs
Employee rights: surveillance, drug testing, AIDS testing, privacy (e-mail, dating, health information), procedures regarding hiring and firing
Labor issues: migrant workers, minimum wage, sweatshops
Discrimination: race, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation
Personal executive liability
Potentially harmful products: tobacco [cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco] (especially regarding offshore markets), alcohol, firearms [especially assault weapons], product liability (breast implants)
Violence: television shows, films, video games
Pornography: print, films, videos, Internet
Advertising: misleading and deceptive, use of sex
Abortion: clinics, RU-486 ("abortion pill")
Professional athletics and anti-trust issues
Controversial marketing practices (e.g., "yield management" in the airlines)
Pensions and health benefits
Downsizing; mergers and acquisitions
Toys (Barbie, images of women/violence in video games)
Various issue in biotechnology: cloning, genetically modified organisms, etc.
Bribery (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act)

Business + Environment

Amazon rain forests
Pollution: water, air (automobile industry, CFCs and the ozone layer), acid rain
Disposable products (e.g., diapers)
"Green" marketing and production
Energy: alternative forms (renewable), nuclear
Forests: old growth, endangered species

Offshore drilling
Agriculture: factory farming, pesticides
Waste: toxic, nontoxic
Biotechnology, cloning
Rights of nonhuman animals: product testing, research, food production, zoos, whaling, hunting
Fisheries ("bycatch")