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Document Details :
Title: Economics, Politics and Ethics
Subtitle: In Search of a New Balance
Author(s): BOUCKAERT, Luc
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 3 Issue: 3 Date: October 1996
Economic scandals in the 70's and 80's formed one of the motives behind the emergence and growth of business ethics in the United States. The tendency nowadays is to raise the question of moral integrity against a background of political scandals. At the same time, and in spite of an evident contemporary interest in ethics, the inability to achieve consensus with respect to ethical points of view is striking. Post-modern society is characterised by the assertion of the importance of individual moral judgement side by side with the incapacity to maintain an overarching social ethics. The circle is complete. Economics is no longer supported by a politics of general well-being because such a politics no longer has a reference point in a community ethos. The foundations of an ethos based in individual preference are not up to the task of consolidating society's pluriform desires and interests. In such an individualised environment everyone is free to fall back on the argument 'if you don't do it, other people will do it' as a way of raising personal interest to the level of the highest good.