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Anderson, Elizabeth, , . Ethical Assumptions in Economic Theory: Some Lessons from the History of Credit and Bankruptcy
2004, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7.4, 347-360
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by:

Abstract: This paper evaluates the economic assumptions of economic theory via an examination of the capitalist transformation of creditor-debtor relations in the 18th century. This transformation enabled masses of people to obtain credit without moral opprobrium or social subordination. Classical 18th century economics had the ethical concepts to appreciate these facts. Ironically, contemporary economic theory cannot. I trace this fault to its abstract representations of freedom, efficiency, and markets. The virtues of capitalism lie in the concrete social relations and social meanings through which capital and commodities are exchanged. Contrary to laissez faire capitalism, the conditions for sustaining these concrete capitalist formations require limits on freedom of contract and the scope of private property rights.

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Cudd, Ann E., , . Sporting Metaphors: Competition and the Ethos of Capitalism
2007, Journal of the Philsophy of Sport 34 (1): 52-67.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Synopsis: This article examines metaphors that illuminate the competitive aspects of capitalism and its focus on winning but also metaphors that emphasize cooperation and ways that capitalism improves the lives not only of the winners but also of all who choose to play the game by its rules. Although sports metaphors invoked to describe capitalist competition may appear to cast an unflattering light on both capitalism and sport, on a deeper analysis those metaphors appeal to many of us because they reveal a closer resemblance to the Latin root of the word ‘competition’ and its cooperative, pareto-improving implications. Just as healthy competition in sports requires cooperation, healthy capitalism is also,ultimately, a cooperative endeavor. I will argue that metaphors imported from and expanded through our experiences of sport reveal many, while concealing other, aspects of capitalism.

Comment: This text would have a place within a course on business ethics that considers whether competition is good or bad within the context of the market. This would make it an interesting addition to a course that covered Satz's Why Some Things Should Not be for Sale: The Moral Limits of Markets. It is also a good overview of some ideas that are central to the philosophy of sport, such as what constitutes a game, the idea of cooperation, and competitiveness (winning/non-winning).

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