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Does Business Ethics Make Economic Sense?

  • Amartya Sen
Part of the Issues in Business Ethics book series (IBET, volume 4)

Abstract

I begin not with the need for business ethics, but at the other end—the idea many people have that there is no need for such ethics. That conviction is quite widespread among practitioners of economics, though it is more often taken for granted implicitly rather than asserted explicitly. We must understand better what the conviction rests on and why it may be mistaken.

Keywords

Business Ethic Public Good Profit Maximization Moral Sentiment Economic Sense 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

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    Stephen Leacock, Hellements of Hickonomics ( New York: Dodd, Mead and Co, 1936 ), p. 75.Google Scholar
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    Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776; republished, London: Dent, 1910), vol. I, p.Google Scholar
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    Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments ( revised edition, 1790; reprinted, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976 ), p. 189.Google Scholar
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    On this and related matters, see my On Ethics and Economics (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987); Patricia H. Werhane, Adam Smith and His Legacy for Modern Capitalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991); Emma Rothschild, “Adam Smith and Conservative Economics,” Economic History Review,1992 (forthcoming).Google Scholar
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    On this see Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen, Hunger and Public Action ( Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989 ).Google Scholar
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    For a classic treatment of external effects, see A.C. Pigou, The Economics of Welfare (London: Macmillan, 1920). There are many different ways of defining “externalities,” with rather disparate bearings on policy issues; on this see the wide-ranging critical work of Andreas Papandreou (Jr., I should add to avoid any ambiguity, though I don’t believe he uses that clarification), Ideas of Externality,to be published by Clarendon Press, Oxford, and Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
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    A good general review of the literature can be found in A.B. Atkinson and J.E. Stiglitz, Lectures on Public Economics ( New York: McGraw-Hill, 1980 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amartya Sen

There are no affiliations available

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