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IS BUSINESS ETHICS POSSIBLE AND NECESSARY?

Vol. 3, No 1, 2010

Lech Keller-Krawczyk

 CETRAD-UTAD

Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal

Is Business Ethics Possible and Necessary?

 

 

 

ABSTRACT. In this paper I try to define business ethics, the need for it and discuss if it is possible and necessary. I understand business ethics as a subset of applied ethics relating to business activity of human beings. I also explain the differences between ethics and law, especially business ethics and business law, as well as differences between business etiquette, and business ethics. I also argue that the rising challenge from China and India, strong independence movements in Latin America and prolonged socio-economic crisis in Western Europe, as well as the recent events in the US, made it no longer possible to ignore the ethical dimension of business activities. Finally, I signal the fundamental questions of business ethics, such as.

1.       What is ownership, and is it moral?

2.       Are relationships between labour and capital based on sound moral principles?

3.       Where is the border between ethical and unethical methods in fighting the competition?

4.       What is the definition of “fair profit”?

The conclusion is that as the “invisible hand of the market” rarely solves the ethical problems in business, so business ethics is really a necessity.

 

Received: February, 2010

1st Revision: March, 2010

Accepted: April, 2010

JEL Classification: A14, L29

Keywords: business ethics, business law.