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On Finding Solutions to Ethical Problems in Agriculture

U of Missouri, Agricultural Economics Working Paper No. 2002-4

24 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2003  

Harvey S. James Jr.

University of Missouri

Date Written: October 1, 2002

Abstract

This paper distinguishes between two types of ethical problems. A Type I ethical problem is one in which there is no consensus as to what is ethical. A Type II ethical problem is one in which there is a consensus as to what is ethical, but incentives exist for individuals to behave unethically. This paper shows that Type I ethical problems are resolved by making, challenging and reasoning through moral arguments, Type II ethical problems are resolved by changing the institutional environment so that people do not have incentives to behave unethically, and that Type I solutions will not be effective in solving Type II problems. Examples in agriculture and elsewhere are provided to show how distinguishing between Type I and Type II ethical problems will help in the identification of solutions to ethical issues in agriculture.

Keywords: Agricultural ethics, environmental ethics, ethical solutions, incentives, moral conflicts

JEL Classification: Q10, Z10

Suggested Citation

James, Harvey S., On Finding Solutions to Ethical Problems in Agriculture (October 1, 2002). U of Missouri, Agricultural Economics Working Paper No. 2002-4. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=380340 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.380340

Harvey S. James Jr. (Contact Author)

University of Missouri ( email )

146 Mumford Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
United States
573-884-9682 (Phone)
573-882-3958 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://hsjames2.wordpress.com/

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