Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

An Absurd Tax on Our Fellow Citizens: The Ethics of Rent Seeking in the Market Failures (or Self-Regulation) Approach

25 Pages Posted: 7 May 2013  

Peter Martin Jaworski

Georgetown University

Date Written: May 6, 2013

Abstract

Joseph Heath lumps in quotas and protectionist measures with cartelization, taking advantage of information asymmetries, seeking a monopoly position, and so on, as all instances of behavior that can lead to market failures in his market failures approach to business ethics. The problem is that this kind of rent and rent seeking, when they fail to deliver desirable outcomes, are better described as government failure. I suggest that this means we will have to expand Heath’s framework to a market and government failures approach. I then try to defuse objections that as a government failure, rent seeking may not appear relevant to what managers ought to do. Solving this conceptual issue will also give us an excuse to revisit a separate conceptual issue: the normatively thick conception of “rent” and rent seeking behavior that some use. This normatively thick conception is problematic, I argue, and I offer the beginnings of a novel, normatively neutral conception that is useful for our purposes in making the ethics of rent and rent seeking behavior more than a merely trivial exercise.

Keywords: Business Ethics, Regulation, Self-regulation, Rent seeking, Stakeholder theory, Market failures approach, Market failure, Beyond-compliance obligations

Suggested Citation

Jaworski, Peter Martin, An Absurd Tax on Our Fellow Citizens: The Ethics of Rent Seeking in the Market Failures (or Self-Regulation) Approach (May 6, 2013). Journal of Business Ethics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2261300

Peter M. Jaworski (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
44
Abstract Views
636