This chapter clarifies the most fundamental concepts of business ethics. Business ethics problems are characterized as interaction problems emerging from the interdependence of at least two actors. The problem of scarcity and the limits of individual moral action are introduced: business ethics starts where individually virtuous behavior cannot solve the problem of scarcity. The terms ethics and economics are defined. Business ethics is interpreted as an ethics from a broad economic perspective that examines which norms can be established under conditions of global economies. In this context, normative implications of economics are emphasized. Business ethics is then situated within philosophy, and the essential tension between two basic approaches to business ethics, the dualistic and the monistic, is discussed.
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