Virtue Ethics' Application To Business Ethics

2410 words - 10 pages

Virtue Ethics' Application to Business Ethics

As with all forms of ethics, whilst written about in a general sense
the ethical thought appear a feasible process and an appropriate way
to act and behave, it however needs to stand up against certain moral
issues to ‘test’ its fallibility. Business ethics would be one such
example.

Aristotle, the farther of virtue ethics felt community care is the
reason for the market system. A business would be selfless economic
structure and ethos. Aristotle’s word, ‘oikonomikos’ is used to show
this household trading and community-based economy

Virtue ethics as described by Aristotle has a central thesis of
improving oneself to be a better person. If everyone strives to do
this then the world would become a more productive and moral
environment to live in. He argues that the rational side of he soul
which revolves around intellectual values is the side which should be
cared for by the individual. He argues that virtue ethics is ‘at
variance with the central feature of the modern economic order.’ He
feels ‘internal goods’ are the most important to produce, these are
unique to a particular activity which use ‘analytic skill, strategic
imagination and competitive intensity.’ Fame, money and power would
therefore not come into this so would be described as unvirtuous
goals.

He gives an example of two fishing communities; the first produces
external goods and is a portrayal of current businesses. The fisherman
catch as much fish as possible to meet the demand and to make profit
which is the overriding goal. As soon as the demand for fish starts to
wane the crew will quit as there will be an insufficient profit for
them to make. In the second example, he gives a more virtuous account;
although a fisherman may originally join the crew for capital gain the
crew show devotion for the excellence of fishing, the achievements of
acquiring goods which will extend to the family of the crew members
and of the society as a whole.

Macintyre would agree that the latter would fail is the tow crews were
in competition, he would however maintain that the sense of pride of
work is more important than the pursuit of profits.

Macintyre would argue that current ethics of Western corporations is
unethical, Milton Freedman’s article explaining a firms only aim is to
maximise profits and has no social responsibility would be absolutely
contested by Macintyre, who would argue that money is not the end
rather a means to a further end of social responsibility.

Kindness would be an important virtue to own, and with this character
trait you would expect the individual to shown compassion and
lovingness in a situation. For example is it acceptable to sack able
workers purely because they are excess to needs of the company and by
saving money on there...

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