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Business Ethics Journal Review

Volume 2, Issue 4, 2014

Wayne Norman
Pages 22-28

Is There ‘a Point’ to Markets? A Response to Martin

Dominic Martin attributes to me and other adherents of the market-failures approach to business ethics a narrow account of justification, focused solely on economic efficiency. On the contrary, I argue the appeal to efficiency and market failure is best seen as a pragmatic, Rawlsian, strategy to find common ground and a shared vocabulary for business ethicists who have long been Balkanized by overly ideological “theories.” So understood, the market-failures approach is not the reductivist program Martin portrays it to be. Efficiency and the taming of market failures should be seen as one of many grounds (albeit usually the most important) for both regulatory and beyond-compliance norms for business in a capitalist democracy.

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