Economics and Ethics I

Formal Ethics
  • Peter Koslowski
Part of the Issues in Business Ethics book series (IBET, volume 17)


The preceding chapter has shown that the market can perform its coordination function fully only when there exists a minimum of mutual, justified trust that the other market participants will comply with ethical rules, because otherwise the transaction costs of the market become too high and the repetition of business relationships is reduced to a smaller and, in terms of allocation theory, inefficient size. Market coordination does not function so ideally that the pursuit of self-interest by market participants leads to the efficiency of the entire economy without consideration of the ethical norms of contract compliance and without transaction costs resulting from the absence of trust. Ethics is, therefore, by no means superfluous in the competitive market. The ethical rules, for their part, are not appropriated to such a universal extent that ethical failure is excluded and the religious assurance of ethics is superfluous. Only if ethics is universally acknowledged and the assurance problem is solved will ethical failure be avoided and will it be unnecessary to compensate for ethical failure by religious assurance and to validate ethics religiously.


Human Person Economic Principle Formal Ethic Ethical Rule Perfect Competition 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Koslowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Forschungsinstitut für Philosophie HannoverHannoverGermany

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