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Ethics for Capitalists cover

  • Paperback Edition
    • 978-1-03-917398-9
    • 5.5 x 8.5 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 276 pages
  • Hardcover Edition
    • 978-1-03-917399-6
    • 5.5 x 8.5 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 276 pages
  • Keywords
    • Ethics,
    • Business ethics,
    • Ethics for capitalists,
    • Capitalism,
    • Free enterprise,
    • Competition,
    • Market failure

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Ethics for Capitalists
A Systematic Approach to Business Ethics, Competition, and Market Failure
by Joseph Heath

Ethics for Capitalists offers a powerful new statement of the Market Failures Approach to business ethics. While the competitive context of the market economy provides economic actors greater freedom to pursue their interests, it also imposes moral constraints on the range of strategies they may employ. The pursuit of profit must be consistent with the overall objective of market institutions, which is to promote efficiency in the production and allocation of goods and services. Ethics for Capitalists draws out the implications of this view for business strategy, corporate governance, managerial authority, and shareholder primacy. The result is a philosophically rigorous, comprehensive approach to business ethics that will be foundational for all future reflection in the field.

"For anyone troubled by ethics in business, or indeed for anyone with an interest in business ethics, this book is essential reading.” —John R. Boatright, Quinlan School of Business, Loyola University Chicago “This book should cause scales to fall from the eyes of scholars of political economy, management, and philosophy. Heath shows how the arguments used by economists to justify a system of regulated markets will also generate obligations for businesses to behave better than required by law. Longtime fans of Heath will be delighted that he draws out here, for the first time, many implications of this argument not just for firms competing in the market, but for managers, employees and other contract workers who are supposed to be cooperating inside the firm.” —Wayne Norman, Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke University “Until Joseph Heath came along, philosophical business ethics was in a bad way... Heath has to some degree rescued the field by providing what is perhaps the only good general theory of business ethics, which Heath calls the Market Failures Approach.” —Jason Brennan, Georgetown University, Kennedy Institute for Ethics Journal

Joseph Heath is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. He is the author of several influential works in applied ethics, including Morality, Competition and the Firm (Oxford, 2014), which brought together his early work on business ethics, and The Machinery of Government (Oxford, 2020), which won the Donner Prize for Best Book in Public Policy in 2021. He is also the author of Enlightenment 2.0 (HarperCollins, 2014), which won the Shaughnessy Cohen prize for political writing in 2015.


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