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Business Ethics

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Business Ethics ­MGT610
VU
LESSON 10
EGALITARIANS' VIEW
Some egalitarians have tried to strengthen their position by distinguishing two different kinds
of equality: political equality and economic equality. Political equality refers to an equal
participation in, and treatment by, the means of controlling and directing the political system.
This includes equal rights to participate in the legislative process, equal civil liberties, and
equal rights to due process. Economic equality refers to equality of income and wealth and
equality of opportunity. The criticisms leveled against equality, according to some egalitarians,
only apply to economic equality and not to political equality.
Capitalists argue that a society's benefits should be distributed in proportion to what each
individual contributes to society. According to this capitalist view of justice, when people
engage in economic exchanges with each other, what a person gets out of the exchange should
be at least equal in value to what he or she contributed. Justice requires, then, that the benefits a
person receives should be proportional to the value of his or her contribution. Quite simply:
"Benefits should be distributed according to the value of the contribution the individual
makes to a society, a task, a group, or an exchange."
The main question raised by the contributive principle of distributive justice is how the "value
of the contribution" of each individual is to be measured. One long-lived tradition has held that
contributions should be measured in terms of work effort. The more effort people put forth in
their work, the greater the share of benefits to which they are entitled. The harder one works,
the more one deserves. A second important tradition has held that contributions should be
measured in terms of productivity. The better the quality of a person's contributed product, the
more he or she should receive.
Socialists address this concern by stating that the benefits of a society should be distributed
according to need, and that people should contribute according to their abilities. Critics of
socialism contend that workers in this system would have no incentive to work and that the
principle would obliterate individual freedom.
The libertarian view of justice is markedly different, of course. Libertarians consider it wrong
to tax someone to provide benefits to someone else. No way of distributing goods can be just or
unjust apart from an individual's free choice. Robert Nozick, a leading libertarian, suggests this
principle as the basic principle of distributive justice:
"From each according to what he chooses to do, to each according to what he makes
for himself (perhaps with the contracted aid of others) and what others choose to do
for him and choose to give him of what they've been given previously (under this
maxim) and haven't yet expended or transferred."
"If I choose to help another, that is fine, but I should not be forced to do so." Critics of this
view point out that freedom from coercion is a value, but not necessarily the most important
value, and libertarians seem unable to prove outright that it is more important to be free than,
say, to be fed. If each person's life is valuable, it seems as if everyone should be cared for to
some extent. A second related criticism of libertarianism claims that the libertarian principle of
distributive justice will generate unjust treatment of the disadvantaged. Under the libertarian
principle, a person's share of goods will depend wholly on what the person can produce through
his or her own efforts or what others choose to give the person out of charity.
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Business Ethics ­MGT610
VU
John Rawls' theory of justice as fairness is an attempt to bring many of these disparate ideas
together in a comprehensive way. According to his theory, the distribution of benefits and
burdens in a society is just if:
1. Each person has an equal right to the most extensive basic liberties compatible with
equal liberties for all (the principle of equal liberty); and
2. Social and economic inequalities are arranged so that they are both:
a) To the greatest benefit of the least advantaged (the difference principle), and
b) Attached to offices and positions open fairly and equally to all (the principle of
equal opportunity).
Rawls tells us that Principle 1 is supposed to take priority over Principle 2 should the two of them
ever come into conflict, and within Principle 2, Part b is supposed to take priority over Part a.
Principle 1 is called the principle of equal liberty. Essentially, it says that each citizen's
liberties must be protected from invasion by others and must be equal to those of others. These
basic liberties include the right to vote, freedom of speech and conscience and the other civil
liberties, freedom to hold personal property, and freedom from arbitrary arrest. Part of Principle
2 is called the difference principle. It assumes that a productive society will incorporate
inequalities, but it then asserts that steps must be taken to improve the position of the most
needy members of society, such as the sick and the disabled, unless such improvements would
so burden society that they make everyone, including the needy, worse off than before. Part b
of Principle 2 is called the principle of fair equality of opportunity. It says that everyone
should be given an equal opportunity to qualify for the more privileged positions in society's
institutions.
Therefore, according to Rawls, a principle is moral if it would be acceptable to a group of
rational, self-interested persons who know they will live under it themselves. This incorporates
the Kantian principles of reversibility and universalizability, and treats people as ends and not
as means. Some critics of Rawls point out, however, that just because a group of people would
be willing to live under a principle does not mean that it is morally justified.
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Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION:Business Issues
  2. INTRODUCTION (CONTD.)
  3. THEORY OF ETHICAL RELATIVISM
  4. MORAL DEVELOPMENTS AND MORAL REASONING
  5. MORAL REASONING:Arguments For and Against Business Ethics
  6. MORAL RESPONSIBILITY AND BLAME
  7. UTILITARIANISM:Utilitarianism: Weighing Social Costs and Benefits
  8. UTILITARIANISM (CONTD.):rule utilitarianism, Rights and Duties
  9. UNIVERSALIZABILITY & REVERSIBILITY:Justice and Fairness
  10. EGALITARIANS’ VIEW
  11. JOHN RAWLS' THEORY OF JUSTICE:The Ethics of Care
  12. THE ETHICS OF CARE:Integrating Utility, Rights, Justice, and Caring
  13. THE ETHICS OF CARE (CONTD.):Morality in International Contexts
  14. MORALITY IN INTERNATIONAL CONTEXTS:Free Markets and Rights: John Locke
  15. FREE MARKET & PLANNED ECONOMY:FREE TRADE THEORIES
  16. LAW OF NATURE:Theory of Absolute Advantage, Comparative Advantage
  17. FREE MARKETS AND UTILITY: ADAM SMITH:Free Trade and Utility: David Ricardo
  18. RICARDO & GLOBALIZATION:Ricardo’s Assumptions, Conclusion
  19. FREE MARKET ECONOMY:Mixed Economy, Bottom Line for Business
  20. COMPETITION AND THE MARKET:Perfect Competition
  21. PERFECT COMPETITION
  22. MONOPOLY COMPETITION:Oligopolistic Competition
  23. OLIGOPOLISTIC COMPETITION:Crowded and Mature Market
  24. OLIGOPOLIES AND PUBLIC POLICY:Ethic & Environment, Ozone depletion
  25. WORLDWATCH FIGURES:Population Year, Agriculture, Food and Land Use
  26. FORESTS AND BIODIVERSITY:The Ethics of Pollution Control
  27. THE ETHICS OF POLLUTION CONTROL:Toxic Chemicals in Teflon
  28. THE ETHICS OF POLLUTION CONTROL
  29. THE ETHICS OF POLLUTION CONTROL:Recommendations to Managers
  30. COST AND BENEFITS:Basis of social audit, Objectives of social audit
  31. COST AND BENEFITS:The Ethics of Conserving Depletable Resources
  32. COST AND BENEFITS:The Club of Rome
  33. THE ETHICS OF CONSUMER PRODUCTION AND MARKETING:DSA Comments
  34. THE ETHICS OF CONSUMER PRODUCTION AND MARKETING:Should Consumers Bear More Responsibility?
  35. THE CONTRACT VIEW OF BUSINESS' DUTIES TO CONSUMERS
  36. THE CONTRACT VIEW OF BUSINESS' DUTIES TO CONSUMERS:The Due Care Theory
  37. THE SOCIAL COSTS VIEW OF THE MANUFACTURER’S DUTIES
  38. ADVERTISING ETHICS:The Benefits of Advertising, The harm done by advertising
  39. ADVERTISING ETHICS:Basic Principles, Evidence, Remedies, Puffery
  40. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:Psychological tricks
  41. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:Criticism of Galbraith's Work
  42. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:Medal of Freedom
  43. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:GENERAL RULES, Substantiation
  44. ADVERTISING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY:Consumer Privacy, Accuracy
  45. THE ETHICS OF JOB DISCRIMINATION:Job Discrimination: Its Nature