We should seek an ethic internal to marketing arising from marketing's societal function, rather than imposing some “add-on” ethic. This suggests that marketing should enhance the information and the freedom the potential customer brings to the market transaction. Defining and achieving this information and freedom is difficult, but marketers suggest that the market itself drives out major violators, a suggestion less persuasive concerning increasingly complex goods and services. Marketing also is tempted to appeal to our baser, darker side. These problems are better addressed through self-regulation guided by a vision of advertising and business in the service of society, and by the marketer's own sense of integrity than through external regulation.
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Paul F. Camenisch is Professor and Chair of Religious Studies, DePaul University. His work currently concentrates in business, professional and medical ethics, in which he has published numerous articles and Grounding Professional Ethics in a Pluralistic Society (Haven Publications, New York, 1983).
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Camenisch, P.F. Marketing ethics: Some dimensions of the challenge. J Bus Ethics 10, 245–248 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00382961
- Economic Growth
- External Regulation
- Dark Side
- Potential Customer