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Business Ethics

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Business Ethics ­MGT610
VU
LESSON 12
THE ETHICS OF CARE
1. We each exist in a web of relationships and should preserve and nurture those concrete
and valuable relationships we have with specific persons.
2. We each should exercise special care for those with whom we are concretely related by
attending to their particular needs, values, desires, and concrete well-being as seen from
their own personal perspective, and by responding positively to these needs, values,
desires, and concrete well-being, particularly of those who are vulnerable and
dependent on our care.
An ethic of care, therefore, can be seen as encompassing the kinds of obligations that a so-
called communitarian ethic advocates. A communitarian ethic is an ethic that sees concrete
communities and communal relationships as having a fundamental value that should be
preserved and maintained.
The demands of caring are sometimes in conflict with the demands of justice, though, and no
fixed rule exists to resolve these conflicts. Critics point out that the ethics of care can easily
degenerate into unjust favoritism. Though the ethics of care can also lead to burnout, the
advantage of the theory is that it is a corrective to the other approaches that are impartial and
universal.
Integrating Utility, Rights, Justice, and Caring
So far, the chapter has outlined four main kinds of basic moral considerations:
1. Utilitarian standards - must be used when we do not have the resources to attain
everyone's objectives, so we are forced to consider the net social benefits and social
costs consequent on the actions (or policies or institutions) by which we can attain these
objectives.
2. Standards that specify how individuals must be treated - must be employed when
our actions and policies will substantially affect the welfare and freedom of specifiable
individuals. Moral reasoning of this type forces consideration of whether the behavior
respects the basic rights of the individuals involved and whether the behavior is
consistent with one's agreements and special duties.
3. Standards of justice - indicate how benefits and burdens should be distributed among
the members of a group. These sorts of standards must be employed when evaluating
actions whose distributive effects differ in important ways.
4. Standards of caring - indicate the kind of care that is owed to those with whom we
have special concrete relationships. Standards of caring are essential when moral
questions arise that involve persons embedded in a web of relationships, particularly
persons with whom one has close relationships, especially those of dependency.
One simple strategy for ensuring that all four kinds of considerations are incorporated into one's
moral reasoning is to inquire systematically into the utility, rights, justice, and caring involved
in a given moral judgment, as in Fig. 2.1. One might, for example, ask a series of questions
about an action that one is considering: (a) Does the action, as far as possible, maximize social
benefits and minimize social injuries? (b) Is the action consistent with the moral rights of those
whom it will affect? (c) Will the action lead to a just distribution of benefits and burdens? (d)
Does the action exhibit appropriate care for the well-being of those who are closely related to
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Business Ethics ­MGT610
VU
or dependent on oneself? Unfortunately, there is not yet any comprehensive moral theory to
show when one of these considerations should take precedence.
An Alternative to Moral Principles: Virtue Ethics
Many ethicists criticize the entire notion that actions are the subject of ethics. The central issue
(as Ivan Boesky's case demonstrates) is the kind of person an agent ought to be and what the
character of humans ought to be. This does not mean that the conclusion of this type of ethics
(called virtue ethics) will be much different, however. Rather, the virtues provide a perspective
that covers the same ground as the four approaches, just from a different perspective.
A moral virtue is an acquired disposition that is a valuable part of a morally good person,
exhibited in the person's habitual behavior. It is praiseworthy, in part, because it is an
achievement whose development requires effort. The most basic issue, from the perspective of
virtue ethics, is the question: What are the traits of character that make a person a morally good
human being? Which traits of character are moral virtues? According to Aristotle, moral virtues
enable humans to act in accordance with their specific purpose (which he held to be reasoning).
Other philosophers, such as Aquinas, have come up with different lists of virtues.
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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