The Moral Economic Man

Ethics in the Economy: Handbook of Business Ethics, Forthcoming

19 Pages Posted: 14 May 2007

See all articles by Laszlo Zsolnai

Laszlo Zsolnai

Corvinus University of Budapest - Business Ethics Center

Abstract

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

Zsolnai, Laszlo, The Moral Economic Man. Ethics in the Economy: Handbook of Business Ethics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=986169

Laszlo Zsolnai (Contact Author)

Corvinus University of Budapest - Business Ethics Center ( email )

F?vámtér 8.
P.O.Box 489
Budapest, 1828
Hungary

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