Economic profits differ from accounting profits. Accounting profits are usually defined as revenues minus costs, and those costs as fixed and variable. Economic profits enlist a third cost, opportunity costs. While these costs are difficult to determine with mathematical precision, they are nonetheless significant, especially for decision making in business. They reflect social costs and benefits, tensions between individual and corporate interests, and all internal and external considerations which enter into decision making in business. It is precisely within opportunity cost (...) decision making that Primeaux and Stieber situate business ethics. (shrink)
The authors propose a model for business ethics which arises directly from business practice. This model is based on a behavioral definition of the economic theory of profit maximization and situates business ethics within opportunity costs. Within that context, they argue that good business and good ethics are synonymous, that ethics is at the heart and center of business, that profits and ethics are intrinsically related.
How do we determine value? What are the ethical implications of valuing goods and services with respect to economic profit maximization? To answer those questions, Primeaux and Stieber move their discussion of the ethical principles inherent to economic profit maximization from production to distribution, from internal costs to external pricing and consumer demand.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is commonly viewed as a safety net for individual athletes, for universities, and for inter-collegiate sports programs. They help reduce injury to athletes, they participate in the marketing of athletic events, and they continue to change the rules of college sport to make it more fun for the spectators. There is another view that argues the NCAA is a buyers' cartel or monopsonist that engages in price-fixing for colleges and universities. The prices they fix (...) are the wages of student athletes and they accomplish this through regulations that prohibit the athlete from receiving any income other than in-kind scholarship payments. Students who receive other kinds of scholarships are not subject to these same restrictions. For example, students who receive scholarships in music can and do augment their income by performing for pay. It is the opinion of some that these price fixing scholarship agreements limiting the income of student athletes discriminates against a whole class of scholarship recipients. They also believe that this kind of behavior on the part of colleges and universities that make up the membership of the NCAA is highly unethical and may even be illegal. (shrink)
Current teaching, writing and thinking in business ethics reflects (more than) a tendency to subsume business into the theoretical, idealistic and impractical objectives of philosophical ethics. Professors Primeaux and Stieber argue against this tendency. They propose the basic business model of economic efficiency as a practical and appropriate paradigm for business ethics. Understood from a behavioral perspective, economic efficiency reflects all of the ethical considerations of the academic study of philosophical ethics, but in a much more concrete and applicable manner. (...) In effect, they are proposing that any study of business ethics defines its starting point and focus of reference in terms of economic efficiency. qu]Is there a need for business ethics? Yes, of course! Can business ethics be taught? Well, yes. But ... But, what? But, how? (shrink)