Transnational pharmaceutical corporations and neo-liberal business ethics in india

Journal of Business Ethics 36 (1-2):165 - 185 (2002)
Abstract
The author critiques the expedient application of market valuation principles by the transnational corporations and other large firms in the Indian pharmaceutical industry on a number of issues like patents, pricing, irrational drugs, clinical trials, etc. He contends that ethics in business is chiseled and etched within the confines of particular social structures of accumulation. An ascendant neo-liberal social structure of accumulation has basically shaped these firms' sharp opposition to the Indian Patents Act, 1970, government administered pricing, etc. The author contends that the practice of neo-liberal economics is strongly associated with a "one dimensional" ethics that privileges market valuation principles over all others. This seems to inevitably generate a social counter-movement that struggles for social protections. He critiques neo-liberal business practices from a perspective that derives from the work of the economic anthropologist Karl Polanyi. Before the present phase of liberalization in India, markets were "managed", but without a "welfare state" in place. Moving toward deregulation of the markets without a welfare state in place is unethical. Keeping the debilities of the institutional framework of public policy in mind, the author adopts a Polanyian perspective that places its trust and hope in the growing social legitimacy of the counter-movement in opposition to both neo-liberal business practices and the degenerate behavior of state agencies.
Keywords Asocial democracy  counter-movement  liberalism  neo-liberal business ethics  neo-liberalism  patents  social democracy  social structure of accumulation  transnational corporations
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