Theprecapitalist America represents the period before the introductionof capitalism. Salient business ethics issues include the rights andresponsibilities among the stakeholders of the company. They includesuppliers, employees, community and clients among others. The ethicalissues in business include environmental protection, socialresponsibility, and equality of opportunities, safety and healthwhich did not exist in precapitalist America (Bernstein,2013).The precapitalist America founded mercantilism with the drive to makeprofit. They were seeking to acquire products at lower prices inorder to sell at higher prices thus getting more profit. One of thesalient business ethics in precapitalist America included employeemistreatment. Workers lived in poverty and were harassed by managersand business owners. Immigrant employees were sexually harassed andexploited through low wages and working long hours.
Theother business ethic issue is customer mistreatment that includedselling products of low quality, lying and discrimination by gender,age and education levels among others (Bernstein,2013).In addition, unethical employee behavior and corporate intelligenceissues were observed. Unethical behavior includes breaching customerprivacy and abusing business resources. Companies conducted theirbusinesses unethically whereby employees from different companies orthe company itself would sell corporate intelligence to one another.
Capitalismrefers to a market based economic system. Numerous questions wereraised by the Commission for financial crisis regarding issues suchas accountability, justice, leadership and governance among others.Adam Smith who is the father of capitalism addressed these issues byreferring to them as societal systems based on morality, selfinterest and restraint (Werhane, 2011). Adam used the concepts ofliberty and reasoning to justify the ethics of capitalism.He argued that an efficient economic system could be attained throughfreedom and fair competition of labor markets and products. Headdressed the issues of self interest and selfishness bydifferentiating the two.
Smithdemonstrated that when people are given freedom, they will bemotivated by their self-interest (Werhane,2011).Smith argued that his ethical defense of capitalism is based onnumerous beliefs. First is freedom and liberty. He also said thatpeople respect the interests of others as they pursue theirs and alsodecide to enter labor markets where opportunities are greater. Heargued that government intervention is necessary when agreements areviolated and businesses abuse their freedom. Workers benefit fromcapitalism because as the economy grows, more jobs are created(Werhane,2011).
Bernstein,A. (2013). Thecapitalist manifesto: The historic, economic and philosophic case for laissez-faire.Lanham, Md.: Univ. Press of America.
Werhane,P. H. (2011). AdamSmith and his legacy for modern capitalism.New York u.a: Oxford Univ. Press.