Steinberg on Heath on Non-Ideal Markets

The Inapplicability of the Market-Failures Approach in a Non-Ideal World by Etye Steinberg

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

Abstract:
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.

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


Etye Steinberg is a PhD candidate in Philosophy at the University of Toronto. He holds a BA in Philosophy, Economics, and Political Science (PEP), and an MA in Philosophy, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he has also been a lecturer.


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)

Abstract:
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