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Business Ethics ­MGT610
VU
LESSON 11
JOHN RAWLS' THEORY OF JUSTICE
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:
3. Each person has an equal right to the most extensive basic liberties compatible with
equal liberties for all (the principle of equal liberty); and
4. Social and economic inequalities are arranged so that they are both:
c) To the greatest benefit of the least advantaged (the difference principle), and
d) 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.
Two final types of justice are retributive and compensatory justice, both of which deal with
how best to deal with wrongdoers. Retributive justice concerns blaming or punishing those
who do wrong; compensatory justice concerns restoring to a harmed person what he lost when
someone else wronged him. Traditionally, theorists have held that a person has a moral
obligation to compensate an injured party only if three conditions pertain:
1. The action that inflicted the injury was wrong or negligent.
2. The action was the real cause of the injury.
3. The person did the action voluntarily.
The most controversial forms of compensation undoubtedly are the preferential treatment
programs that attempt to remedy past injustices against groups.
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Business Ethics ­MGT610
VU
The Ethics of Care
As the Malden Mills fire and rebuilding shows, there are perspectives on ethics that are not
explainable from the point of view of utilitarianism, rights, or Kantian philosophy. The owner
had no duty to rebuild (or to pay his workers when they were not working) from any of these
perspectives; still, he maintained that he had a responsibility to his workers and to his
community. Rather than being impartial (which all of these theories maintain is crucial), this
owner treated his community and workers partially.
This is central to the point of view known as the ethics of care, an approach to ethics that many
feminist ethicists have recently advanced. According to this method, we have an obligation to
exercise special care toward the people with whom we have valuable, close relationships.
Compassion, concern, love, friendship, and kindness are all sentiments or virtues that normally
manifest this dimension of morality. Thus, an ethic of care emphasizes two moral demands:
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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