Is Economics A Friend Or A Foe Of Ethics Essay

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The purpose of this essay is to argue whether "economics is a friend or a foe of ethics". A concept discussed by Norman Bowie, A.K Gavai and Milton Friedman. Before moving into further detail, what is economics and ethics all about? According to the dictionary, "economics is the science that deals with the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services or the material welfare of human kind." Whereas ethics are the "values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions". (Gavai 2009, 14) From my understanding economics is a foe of ethics mainly because everyone is a psychological egoist, this is where individuals act in manner that is only in their best perceived material self-interest. As a result, it seems that it would be very difficult to have any ethical standards in place, mainly due to the fact that ethics requires individuals to act against our own material self-interest. In Norman Bowie's book Economics, Friend or Foe of Ethics, he mentions that ethics would be pointless if psychological egoism is true. Bowie's approach is based on a "moral point of view that requires an individual to do the right thing, even if it is not in one's perceived best interest". (Bowie 2013, 32)…show more content…
(Bowie 2013, 42) Therefore one could believe that the reason for why economics is a foe of ethics, is mainly because of the classical equilibrium economies, in which the economy is formed by the behaviours of individuals and firms. To expand, Bowie argues that the ideological "assumptions" which underpin equilibrium economics "obliterates ethics" (Bowie 2013, 32) However, Bowie's position is uncertain because he believes that the world of economics has moved past this theory of classic equilibrium
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