Does the “Market Failures View” Provide Real-World Guidance?

business_ethics_highlights_2In the short scholarly article linked below, Steinberg offers a commentary on Joseph Heath’s influential 2014 book, Morality, Competition, and the Firm: The Market Failures Approach to Business Ethics. >>>

LINK: The Inapplicability of the Market-Failures Approach in a Non-Ideal World (by Etye Steinberg for Business Ethics Journal Review [full PDF available for free])

Joseph Heath (2014) argues that the contribution of competitive markets to Pareto-efficiency generates moral constraints that apply to business managers. Heath argues that ethical behavior on the part of management consists in avoiding profit-seeking strategies which, under conditions of perfect competition, would decrease Pareto-efficiency. I argue that because (1) such conditions do not obtain; and (2) the most efficient result – under imperfect conditions – is not achieved by satisfying the largest possible set of the remaining conditions; it is (3) impossible to draw any substantive ethical guidelines from Heath’s approach.

What do you think?

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