Fair markets

Norman E Bowie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The paper challenges a minimalist strategy in business ethics that maintains "if it's legal, it's moral." In hard cases, judges decide legal issues by appealing to moral ideals. Investigation shows that the bedrock concept is fairness. Often judges define fairness in terms of non-coerciveness or equality of bargaining power. The prudent manager must look beyond the legal department to the ethical notion of fairness. Moreover, if the courts were to consistently appeal to non-coerciveness and equality of bargaining power, some practices now considered morally acceptable would be neither moral nor legal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-98
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988


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