Business and Professional Ethics Journal

Volume 42, Issue 2, Summer 2023

Constanza GuajardoOrcid-ID
Pages 225-249

Profit Versus Prices

This paper aims to offer a definition of excessive profit for cases of exploitation. Most of the literature that aims to identify cases of exploitation focus on determining a fixed price, and suggests that profit is excessive when individuals deviate from this price. More recently, Joe Horton has proposed an indifferent benchmark between transacting with a vulnerable party and not transacting with her. After arguing against the existing focus on prices, the paper proposes an alternative approach to exploitation which focuses on the profit made by the purported exploiter party. It suggests that profit is excessive when an agent makes more profit than the profit that a non-vulnerable purported exploiter would have made when transacting with a non-vulnerable second party. The focus on profit leads to the conclusion that different prices may be non-exploitative depending on the situation of the agents involved.