Profits and morality / edited by Robin Cowan and Mario J. Rizzo.

Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1995.
vii, 183 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


Summary note
  • Are profits morally justifiable? While neoclassical economists have traditionally endorsed the pursuit of profits, many moral philosophers have challenged profit making on a variety of ethical grounds. Through the lenses of economics, philosophy, and law, these six essays explore the morality of profits from libertarian, utilitarian, and more general consequentialist perspectives.
  • Presenting arguments for and against the morality of profit making, the contributors examine the nature of profits and the ethical theories that can support them. Two essays address how profits are made: one explores entrepreneurship as a legitimate source of profit, while another argues that recent advances in welfare economics weaken the case for the morality of profits.
  • The other chapters focus on ethical theory, covering the right to profits from economic rent; the morality of how profits are used - those directed toward library or university endowments, for example, are considered morally acceptable - and whether or not profits are deserved.
Bibliographic references
Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • Preface / Robin Cowan and Mario J. Rizzo
  • 1. Fundamental Issues in the Justification of Profits / Robin Cowan and Mario J. Rizzo
  • 2. The Nature of Profits: Some Economic Insights and Their Ethical Implications / Israel M. Kirzner
  • 3. Deserving Profits / Jan Narveson
  • 4. The Moral Status of Profits and Other Rewards: A Perspective from Modern Welfare Economics / Peter J. Hammond
  • 5. Rights to Natural Talents and Pure Profits: A Critique of Gauthier on Rights and Economic Rent / Eric Mack
  • 6. The Cultural Justification of Unearned Income: An Economic Model of Merit Goods Based on Aristotelian Ideas of Akrasia and Distributive Justice / Robert D. Cooter and James Gordley.
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