The Moral Economic Man
Ethics in the Economy: Handbook of Business Ethics, Forthcoming
19 Pages Posted: 14 May 2007
Economic behavior is multifaceted and context-dependent. However, the so-called Homo Oeconomicus model states that agents are perfectly rational, self-interest-maximizing beings. This model can be criticized on both empirical and normative grounds. Understanding economic behavior requires a more complex and dynamic framework. In the I & We paradigm developed by Amitai Etzioni, economic behavior is co-determined by utility calculations and moral considerations. Two major factors can explain the ethicality of economic behavior; namely, the moral character of the agents and the relative cost of ethical behavior. Economic agents are moral beings, but the ethical fabric of the economy determines which face of the Moral Economic Man predominates.
Keywords: economic behavior, rational choice, I & We paradigm, ethical fabric of the economy
JEL Classification: M10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation