Positive law as an ethic: Illustrations of the ascent of positive law to ethical status in the commercial sector [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 25 (2):115 - 127 (2000)
This article begins with four situations, the first three of which are common to many businesspeople and persons in the United States today and the fourth, unfortunately, is growing: Setting the minimum level at which workers are paid; going bankrupt to avoid paying for credit card purchases, claiming a questionable deduction in calculating one's federal income tax liability, and violating the law in every state by a major U.S. corporation.These cases support the idea that positive law is the operative ethic for persons in a commercial setting. Reasons advanced for this phenomenon are ethical ambiguity, lack of personal responsibility, increasing technicality of contemporary society, and the fact that the law is now seen as the most that is expected of businesspersons. In arriving at the paper's conclusions, positive law theory is discussed. Data are presented to explain why these illustrations are not mere anecdotal examples but represent broad contemporary occurrences in the U.S.
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