The Great Debate: People or Profits, or Both? Analytical Essay

Looks at the three main schools of political economics as applied to business ethics, which are classical liberalism, socialism and modern liberalism.
# 152297 | 4,650 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2012 | US

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


This paper reviews the ethical position of two of the three major schools of political economy, which are classical liberalism that involves laissez-faire policies and minimum intervention of the state into economic matters and socialism, which allows private property but does not allow the private ownership of capital. Next, the author details the third position, which is modern liberalism, the most easily known system for Americans because it represents the moderate welfare state, such as the United States. After evaluating and comparing the key concepts and distinctions of these three theories of distributive justice, the paper argues that classical liberalism is both humane and efficient in a sense in which socialism and modern liberalism are not.

From the Paper:

"Even if socialism seems--in principle and historically--a poor substitute for classical liberalism, the question remains, why should unbridled personal liberties and rights be protected if the inhibition of some acts protects the population as a whole? In a sense the term unbridled is in and of itself very unrealistic as even with a minimal state there are regulations on many of the things one can do. Even according to Nozick's extremely minimalistic principle of justice in acquisition and transfer, and the principle of justice in rectification, one cannot infringe upon other people's rights. There also seems to be the implication of regulations regarding public safety, even if only enforced retroactively after a wrong has been committed and must be rectified. Rawls presents a powerful argument in favor of modern liberalism through his "veil of ignorance" thought experiment. Here an "original position" functions as a state of nature that one should imagine oneself to be immersed in. From this position one is asked to agree on what the most just form of government and economic policy would be. From the original position one does not know what place one will occupy in this new society. One might be rich, or poor, talented or not, a minority, handicapped, and so on."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Allhoff, Fritz, and Anand Vaidya. Business in Ethical Focus: An Anthology. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview, 2008. Print.
  • Hayek, Friedrich A. The Road to Serfdom: The Condensed Version of "The Road to Serfdom" by F.A. Hayek as It Appeared in the April 1945 Editon of "Reader's Digest". London: Institute of Economic Affairs, 2001. Print.
  • Novak, Michael. The Catholic Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. New York: Free, 1993. Print.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

The Great Debate: People or Profits, or Both? (2013, January 24) Retrieved August 10, 2022, from

MLA Format

"The Great Debate: People or Profits, or Both?" 24 January 2013. Web. 10 August. 2022. <>