Business can be understood narrowly as the part of life in which we exchange services and goods. But in contemporary society, many of us spend a large part of our lives conducting business—either working within firms or for ourselves—and all of us engage in, or are affected by, such exchanges. As business activity shapes our lives in this pervasive way, the ethical questions that that activity raises are relevant to, and important for, us all. These questions take many forms. For example, what are the proper aims of the management of firms? Is it only to maximise returns to their shareholders? Or is it for firms to address broader ethical issues that society faces? Can anything and everything be bought and sold? If not, what restrictions should be imposed? And how should we manage businesses whose product cannot be measured in simple economic terms—such as information, health, and education? How does ‘the market’ function here? This module will explore some of these questions.
Can not be take alongside PHIL3aXX - Business, Morality, and Markets.