The Ethical Dimension of Economic Choices
In general, capitalist countries display sustained growth, dynamism and innovation, and a high adaptability in response to external shocks. Yet in the last twenty years discontent over the notorious drawbacks of capitalism – corporate frauds, corruption, abuses of market power – has grown continually. In this paper, we argue that no remedy to these difficulties can be found if ethical dilemmas are not anticipated and addressed at the individual, firm and economy-wide level. While pro-ethical changes in business regulation would help, government action alone may not be effective enough. Given that the social sciences provide the general framework of reference for human action, better integration of the ethical dimension by these disciplines would bring about additional benefits. In particular, economic theory would gain from developing more in-depth reflection on human end-goals and values.
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