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FSN Seminar – March 19 at 1 pm EDT

Abstract and Bio of Derek Ireland for FSN Session on “Behavioral Ethics, COVID, and the Wicked Problem of Lockdown Fatigue”

Date, Time and Location Webinar on March 19 at 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM [Ottawa – EDT]


As indicated in previous FSN presentations, Derek Ireland is able to find wicked problems virtually anywhere, including the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.  COVID in many ways represents the goliath of all the wicked problems of our lifetime and is making many other wicked problems even more complex and difficult to tame.  About 7 months ago, Derek prepared and placed on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) a working paper on the behavioral ethics challenges of the COVID-19 crisis to recovery.  The major argument of this article is that the insights from the behavioral ethics literature on bounded ethicality, ethical blind spots, ethical fading, erosion, corrosion, numbing, and fatigue and good people acting badly and doing unethical things, can be readily extended to the behaviour of individuals and organizations during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis of 2020/2021.

Special emphasis in the paper was placed on the behavior and misconduct of normally good people when jurisdictions are moving from the crisis to the recovery stage of the pandemic after a long lockdown period and other periods that restricted our behaviour and “personal freedoms”.  This presentation will summarize and update the insights from that article, and will then extend the insights to the behaviour of other often “not-so-good” people including governments, politicians, business people and the media who at times are acting even more badly and opportunistically (consistent with the wicked problem concept) because of their own forms of lockdown fatigue including frustration and boredom.  For those of you who are interested, the earlier article dated August 5 2020 is available at

Brief Bio

Dr. Derek Ireland has been a senior economist and manager in the Canadian public and private sectors for well over five decades.  He has a BA in Economics and Asian Studies from the University of British Columbia in 1968, an MA in Economics from Carleton University, which he received in the mid-1970s; and he returned to university in the Fall of 2003 as a student in the PhD program in Public Policy at Carleton University in Ottawa Canada, and received his PhD in February 2009.  His area of specialization over the last two and a half decades has been the interactions between law and economics with emphasis on competition policy and law; regulatory reform and impact analysis; consumer policy and consumer protection law; trade policy; intellectual property and innovation policy; urban, regional, rural and infrastructure development; and public administration.

His international experience includes more than 30 major consulting assignments in China, as well as research and policy development work in several other developing countries such as Nepal, Malaysia, Yemen, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, the Mongolia Republic, and in Botswana working with the Secretariat of the Southern Africa Development Community on competition and consumer protection policies and laws in the SADC Member States.  He has been a member of FSN for well over a decade and has made previous presentations on: marketing foresight to the boundedly rational; uncertainty, novelty, innovation, Canada’s innovation challenge and the consumer; and foresight, behavioral economics, disruptive technologies, the crisis of democratic capitalism, and other problems with wicked characteristics including the wicked challenge of developing the Nepal economy.

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