Moral luck and business ethics

Journal of Business Ethics 83 (4):773 - 787 (2008)
Moral luck – which seems to appear when circumstances beyond a person’s control influence our moral attributions of praise and blame – is troubling in that modern moral theory has supposed morality to be immune to luck. In business, moral luck commonly influences our moral judgments, many of which have economic consequences that cannot be reversed. The possibility that the chance intervention of luck could influence the way in which we assign moral accountability in business ethics is unsettling. This paper argues that if we cannot explain moral luck away, we should give consideration to moral risk in our moral judgments and the associated assignment of economic rewards regarding episodes in which moral luck plays a role.
Keywords luck  risk  moral hazard  business ethics  Gauguin  river blindness  executive compensation
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References found in this work BETA
Matt Bloom (2004). The Ethics of Compensation Systems. Journal of Business Ethics 52 (2):149-152.
James C. Dick (1975). How to Justify a Distribution of Earnings. Philosophy and Public Affairs 4 (3):248-272.

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