Reframing “Morality Pays”: Toward a Better Answer to “Why be Moral?” in Business

Journal of Business Ethics 67 (1):1-14 (2006)
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This paper revisits the “morality pays” approach to answering the “Why be moral?” question in business. First I argue that “morality pays” is weakest when it needs to be strongest, and thus inadequate to the task. Then I examine and reject a proposed virtue-ethics alternative, arguing that it either collapses into “morality pays” or else introduces a new problem. After sketching an account of moral reasons, I go on to argue that “morality pays” can be reframed, not so much as an answer to “Why be moral,” but as a prescription for reforming corporate institutions.



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John Corvino
Wayne State University