August 20, 2014

Ethics in the Marketplace - Review Notes

Perfectly competitive free markets satisfy three of the moral criteria: justice, utility, and rights.

But, the virtues of loyalty, kindness, and caring will diminish, while the vices of being greedy, self-seeking, avaricious, and calculating are encouraged.


When used to secure the sale of a product, political bribery can also introduce diseconomies into the operations of markets.

The following considerations are relevant to judging bribery issues.

1. Is the offer of payment initiated by the payer or demanded by the payee with the threat of injury to the payer. If the payee demands payment and the threatened injury is large enough, the payer may not be morally responsible for his payment, or the moral responsibility may at least be diminished.

2. If the payment is made to induce the payee to act against official rules, the payer is a party to immoral act. But if the payment is done to induce the party to do his official duty only, the moral responsibility if diminished.

3. There are cases where it is a local custom to make payments in the normal course of things, then it would appear to be ethically permissible on utilitarian grounds. But it might be a legal violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, USA)


Business Ethics: Concepts and Cases, Fourth Edition, Manuel Velasquez, Prentice Hall International

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