v4 n10 Silver on Heath on the Market Failures Approach

david_silver“Competition, Value Creation
 and the Self-Understanding
 of Business?” by David Silver

A COMMENTARY ON Joseph Heath (2014), Morality, Competition, and the Firm: The Market Failures Approach to Business Ethics (New York: Oxford)

In defense of his Market Failures Approach to business ethics Joseph Heath relies on an understanding of business as essentially oriented towards competition and profit maximization. In these remarks I defend an alternative understanding of business that is centered on the creation of valuable goods and services. It is preferable because it: (a) creates less pressure to take advantage of vulnerable stakeholders, (b) can readily recognize “beyond compliance” norms that do not relate to efficiency, (c) provides a more meaningful framework for people who work in and with corporations, (d) may mitigate negative moral impacts outside the market, and (e) better captures the range of what actually counts as business activity.

To download the full PDF, click here: Silver on Heath

One Comment on “v4 n10 Silver on Heath on the Market Failures Approach”

  1. David Jacobs says:

    Thank you to David Silver for this provocative comment. I find the MFA particularly problematic with regard to the employment relationship. Do employees regard themselves primarily as competitors or as soldiers in the market competition of their employers? They may, on the other hand, think of themselves as creators of value, the same role Silver attributes to businesspeople. Perhaps I am incorrect and the competitive process is equally relevant to the self-concept of both employee and employer, or perhaps such role congruence is superfluous. However, it seems to me that employees must be understood equally as agents within the enterprise; a theory of business ethics should not be indifferent to their identities.

    I am underscoring a point that Silver makes in passing.

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