In Uncategorized on March 28, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Capitalism is the social, political, and economic system that lets rights to
property be transferred by market transactions among private individuals,
alone or in groups. Systems of thought that oppose capitalism oppose this
way of fixing legitimate property claims and substitute other criteria for the
legitimacy of property transfers, or prohibits such transfers altogether.

In either allowing or disallowing market transactions, capitalist and
non-capitalist systems either allow or disallow business. Business is a set of
organized human activities which take place in markets. So it is appropriate
to engage in a general consideration of the morality or immorality of
markets and of market institutions, in a business ethics text. Much of what
makes for good business or bad business is the suitability of business
practices to engage in market activity. But if market activities were
essentially bad, that badness would transfer back to the business activities.
On the other hand, if it is a good thing for humans to participate in
markets, then good business can be good human activity.

In any event, this chapter is a discussion of the morality of markets and
of market institutions. Since this is an introductory essay, I shall explain
everything that is taken up in the essay. So I start by explaining what
markets are and what morality is.

What is morality? The study of morality is an attempt to formulate
rational standards that can be used to distinguish between right and wrong
action and also between good and bad things. For example, most people
think that peace and prosperity are good things and should be pursued.

to be continued….


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