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Rawlsian Institutionalism and Business Ethics: Does It Matter Whether Corporations Are Part of the Basic Structure of Society?

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    • Abstract:
      In this article, I aim to clarify some key issues in the ongoing debate about the relationship between Rawlsian political philosophy and business ethics. First, I discuss precisely what we ought to be asking when we consider whether corporations are part of the "basic structure of society." I suggest that the relevant questions have been mischaracterized in much of the existing debate, and that some key distinctions have been overlooked. I then argue that although Rawlsian theory's potential implications for business ethics are more extensive than some have suggested, the nature of the concern that we ought to have about the effects of corporate behavior on individuals' economic and social conditions should lead us to reject the view that corporations are bound by principles of justice only if, and insofar as, they are part of the basic structure. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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