Environmental sustainability versus profit maximization: Overcoming systemic constraints on implementing normatively preferable alternatives [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 76 (2):155 - 162 (2007)
Abstract
There is a systemic condition inherent in contemporary markets that compel managers not to pursue more morally preferable initiatives if those initiatives will require actions that conflict with profit maximization. Normative arguments for implementing morally preferable practices within the existing system fail because they are insufficient to counter-act the systemic conditions affecting decision-making that is focused on maximizing profit as the primary operational value. To overcome this constraint we must elevate a more normatively preferable value, ‚ideal environmental sustainability,’ to the level of being the primary filtering value through which other competing values are evaluated, prioritized, and implemented. In order for this to occur in practice, a change must be made relative to the laws, rules, and regulations that define and guide the market. This can be done by suitably defining the epistemic constraint of impartiality utilizing Rawls’ notion of a ‚veil of ignorance’ as a heuristic device.
Keywords decision-making  ideal environmental sustainability  normative  primary filtering value  profit maximization  veil of ignorance  systemic
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