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Abstract

This chapter seek to clarify the nature of Karl Marx’s views on a variety of related concerns, including the matters of rights, responsibility, punishment, compensation, alienation, and exploitation in capitalist societies. In clarifying such matters, it is hoped that what Marx might say about business ethics will come to light.

It is one of the peculiar ironies of history that there are no limits to the misunderstanding and distortion of theories, even in an age when there is unlimited access to the sources; there is no more drastic example of this phenomenon than what has happened to the theory of Karl Marx in the last few decades. There is continuous reference to Marx and Marxism in the press, in the speeches of politicians, in books and articles written by respectable social scientists and philosophers; yet with few exceptions, it seems that the politicians and newspapermen have never as much as glanced at a line written by Marx, and that the social scientists are satisfied with a minimal knowledge of Marx. Apparently they feel safe in acting as experts in this field, since nobody with power and status in the social-research empire challenges their ignorant statements. – Erich Fromm [1].

Marxism sees history as a protracted process of liberation – from the scarcity imposed on humanity by nature, and from the oppression imposed by some people on others. Members of ruling and subject classes share the cost of natural scarcity unequally, and Marxism predicts, and fights for, the disappearance of society’s perennial class division. – G. A. Cohen [2].

Marxism is not one theory, but a set of more or less related theories. – G. A. Cohen ([2], p. 155).

The language of moral rights is the language of justice, and whoever takes justice seriously must accept that there exist moral rights. – G. A. Cohen ([2], p. 297).

Keywords

Alienation Business Capitalism G. A. Cohen Compensation Environment Ethics Exploitation Labor power Labor value Karl Marx Punishment Responsibility Rights 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA

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