Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 109, Issue 4, pp 553–567

Emerging Technologies and Ethics: A Race-to-the-Bottom or the Top?


DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1430-3

Cite this article as:
Gouvea, R., Linton, J.D., Montoya, M. et al. J Bus Ethics (2012) 109: 553. doi:10.1007/s10551-012-1430-3


Does national success with an emerging technology require ethical sacrifices? This question is considered through the simultaneous consideration of ethics, investment, and outcomes in the nine jurisdictions that are making the largest investments in nanotechnologies—an important emerging technology. It is found that while ethical environment has no notable effect on pure and applied research, a more positive ethical environment is associated with measures associated with invention and commercialization. In summary, a race-to-the-top supports invention and commercialization of emerging technologies. A critical finding as it suggests that issues such as corruption and regulation could be critical in limiting the extraction of social and economic benefit from emerging technologies (like nanotechnologies).


Technology entrepreneurshipEthicsEconomic developmentGovernment processesCreative enterpriseRegulationNanotechnologyNanoscience

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Science, Society and Policy (ISSP)University of OttawaOttawaCanada