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Business EthicsAn Economically Informed Perspective$
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Christoph Lutge and Matthias Uhl

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780198864776

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198864776.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 July 2021

Historical-economic background

Historical-economic background

Premodernity and modernity

Chapter:
(p.41) 3 Historical-economic background
Source:
Business Ethics
Author(s):

Christoph Lütge

Matthias Uhl

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198864776.003.0004

First, this chapter distinguishes between an ethics of individual behavior that focuses on the individual’s actions and an ethics of conditions that focuses on the circumstances under which the individual is supposed to act. It is emphasized that much of today’s ethics was developed against the background of premodern societies, which implies the absence of economic growth and a high social control, both of which are in stark contrast to modern conditions. The ethical benefits of markets and competition are outlined. The market is interpreted as an instrument for the use of distributed and local knowledge, a method of discovery, an engine of innovation, a control mechanism, and an instrument of disempowerment and of self-discipline. Traditional concepts of business ethics are illustrated by the historical examples of the just price and the prohibition of lending money at interest.

Keywords:   ethics of behavior, ethics of conditions, market, competition, distributed knowledge, discovery and innovation, disempowerment, self-discipline, fair price, interest and usury

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