Capitalism, Ethics and the Paradoxon of Self-exploitation

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GRIN Verlag, 2007 - 84 pages
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Essay from the year 2005 in the subject Business economics - Operations Research, grade: A+, University of Otago (Department of Management), course: Business Policy, 61 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: -The driving force of capitalism is the attainment of increasing rates of surplus value. This is inevitably exploitative and demeaning of the human condition. This makes an increased awareness of ethics in business practise untenable. Discuss.- The statement comprises of three arguments, or, more specifically, one argument and two consequences. They consist of the type argument 'if A then B' and 'if A and B then C'. In addition there is the request to 'discuss' in the statement. 'Discuss' could only apply to 'C'. In this case 'A' and 'B' would be taken for granted. I cannot easily accept this so I apply 'discuss' to 'A', 'B' and finally 'C' and approach each phrase separately. So I can reveal that 'if A and B then C' is only true under prior assumptions made about 'A' and 'B'. Chapter A deals with 'A', capitalism. Here I will provide a definition of capitalism containing its characteristics and effects and arrive at the answer as to whether -increasing rates of surplus value- are the -driving force of capitalism-. Chapter B shall examine whether capitalism -is inevitably exploitative and demeaning to the human condition-. But before the terms 'exploitation', 'demeaning' and 'human condition' are discussed, they need to be defined. This chapter contains an analysis how 'capitalism' and 'humans' interact and interfere each other. Chapter C works on 'untenable (business) ethics'. Ethics, business ethics and their significance for 'humans' and 'capitalism' are presented. The focus here will be on the overlapping areas of 'ethics' with the contents of the other two chapters. The chapter concludes with conditions that fulfil the statement 'if A and B then C', with arguments discussed in light of the essay statement. But, actually, things are not
 

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Page 3 - It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our , dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity, but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages.
Page 9 - It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms. The masters, being fewer in number, can combine much more easily; and the law, besides, authorises, or at least does not prohibit their combinations, while it prohibits those of the workmen.
Page 10 - A landlord, a farmer, a master manufacturer, or merchant, though they did not employ a single workman, could generally live a year or two upon the stocks which they have already acquired. Many workmen could not subsist a week, few could subsist a month, and scarce any a year, without employment. In the long run the workman may be as necessary to his master as his master is to him ; but the necessity is not so immediate.
Page 12 - ... him. At the thought of this, his heart seems to swell and dilate itself within him, and he is fonder of his wealth, upon this account, than for all the other advantages it procures him.
Page 12 - The rich man glories in his riches, because he feels that they naturally draw upon him the attention of the world...
Page 9 - In all such disputes the masters can hold out much longer. A landlord, a farmer, a master manufacturer, or merchant though they did not employ a single workman, could generally live a year or two upon the stocks which they have already acquired. Many workmen could not subsist a week, few would subsist a month, and scarce any a year without employment.
Page 9 - The masters, being fewer in number, can combine much more easily; and the law, besides, authorizes, or at least does not prohibit their combinations, while it prohibits those of the workmen. We have no acts of parliament against combining to lower the price of work; but many against combining to raise it. In all such disputes the masters can hold out much longer. A landlord, a farmer, a master manufacturer...
Page 11 - In our society the thwarting of these needs is the most commonly found core in cases of maladjustment and more severe psychopathology.
Page 8 - For labour, life activity, productive life, now appear to man only as means for the satisfaction of a need, the need to maintain his physical existence. Productive life is, however, species-life. It is life creating life. In the type of life activity resides the whole character of a species, its speciescharacter; and free, conscious activity is the speciescharacter of human beings.
Page 28 - Adherence to the rules, originally conceived as a means, becomes transformed into an end-initself; there occurs the familiar process of displacement of goals whereby "an instrumental value becomes a terminal value.

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