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June 16, 2009


Kenneth Boyer

I think Mike Maloni raises some very interesting points in his essay. One of the great benefits of tenure is the ability to start debates and stir the pot. Unfortunately, often the easier path is to stay away from issues that might be uncomfortable.

It seems to me that we (academics) ought to try to introduce topics to the classroom for consideration. Here is one - I have often stood in line at a fast food restaurant and watched the employees put on gloves to make food, make the food, then take the gloves off. This makes sense from an operations and economics perspective - the managers of the restaurant want to limit the possibility of food contamination and gloves are cheap. However, these is a huge waste of resources - the latex and plastic in the gloves gets thrown in landfills. So, here's a question - should we discuss things like this in class and examine how/why companies make decisions that may be good for the bottom line but bad for the environment?

I think the answer should be yes. How about we start here with a little online discussion of the issue. Does anyone else have an example of an operationally sound decision that might not be great for the environment?

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