Beyond Utilitarianism and Deontology: Ethics in Economics
This article starts from a methodological position that fact and value are mutually related, both in the real world and in economic analysis. It then discusses deontological ethics. This approach is concerned with equality and dignity, as expressed in right and norms, and how these rights and norms constrain individual choices. Deontology is thus different from the utility maximisation of utilitarian ethics, where ethics appears in utility functions as moral preferences. The paper then argues that, although deontology does better than utilitarianism in analysing ethics in economics, it has its own weaknesses. These weaknesses require another theory of ethics for economics, virtue ethics, which emphasises the interrelatedness of agents and commitment to shared values beyond the rules that a society has institutionalised. Virtue ethics internalises morality not as a preference or a constraint, but through the practices in which agents are related in their pursuit of value added.
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Volume (Year): 19 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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