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Ethics of Contract Pricing

Daniel T. Ostas
Journal of Business Ethics
Vol. 11, No. 2 (Feb., 1992), pp. 137-145
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25072256
Page Count: 9
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Ethics of Contract Pricing
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Abstract

This study explores the legal and ethical issues associated with contract pricing. In particular, it focuses on a set of legal precedents which have addressed the enforceability of allegedly "unfair" contract prices. Traditionally, the common law has emphasized the consent of the parties. If the parties consented to a given price; it is presumptively fair and enforceable. The cases reviewed in this study, however, seem to draw upon alternative moral conceptions of fairness not normally associated with the common law. The analysis begins by distinguishing the traditional legal conception of fairness from alternative moral conceptions. The cases are then read with a critical eye so as to tease out the underlying principles which best explain them. The analysis illustrates that, notwithstanding judicial rhetoric to the contrary, the courts continue to employ the traditional legal notion of fairness, to the exclusion of alternative moral concerns. The study clarifies an otherwise murky area of the law and illustrates that the legal meaning of fairness differs greatly from the moral one.

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