chapter  5
17 Pages

Ethics

In addition to the emphasis on individualism and rights, capitalism was also supported by an ethical system that helped to form a capitalistic culture based upon a set of values that required certain behavioral traits of its adherents. Economic systems do not develop in a vacuum but emerge in a social and moral context that facilitates and supports their development. Culture and its institutions mutually affect each other. Business institutions, which are the dominant economic force in our society, affect the culture, and as the culture adjusts to changing conditions, this adjustment affects the direction of and ongoing development of economic activity. As these dynamics have worked themselves out over time, the changes taking place can be viewed in terms of successive conceptual shifts among moral frames in which capitalism and market activity have been placed. Through this process, the market system has gradually gained its independent stature and dominating force in society.