David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Business Ethics 28 (2):109 - 119 (2000)
There are varying opinions about whether or not the field of business ethics has a history or is a development of more modern times. It is suggested that a book by a Dominican Friar, Johannes Nider, De Contractibus Mercatorum, written ca. 1430 and published ca. 1468 provides a basis for a history of over 500 years. Business ethics grew out of attempts to reconcile Biblical precepts, canon law, civil law, the teachings of the Church Fathers, and the writings of early philosophers with the realities of expanding economic activity. Nider's background is discussed as well as his book as an example of incunabula.Nider was one of the Scholastics who provided a link between Aristotle and later Reformation thinkers. In Nider we find caveat venditor as his moral guide to merchants as well as other surprisingly modern ideas such as justice in exchange; restitution for defective goods; the market as the final arbiter of value; and the importance of creating utility in products.
|Keywords||business ethics caveat venditor contracts of merchants incunabula just price medieval moral philosophy scholastic economic thought usury|
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