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The Ethical Wealth of Nations

Thomas Donaldson
Journal of Business Ethics
Vol. 31, No. 1, International Business Ethics (May, 2001), pp. 25-36
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25074514
Page Count: 12
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The Ethical Wealth of Nations
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Abstract

Michael Porter argues that some nations manifest a competitive advantage deriving from key elements of their economic structure. Some nations are thus disposed by structure to possess what Porter calls a "competitive advantage of nations" (Porter, 1990). In this paper I examine the prospect of an ethical advantage of nations, and in particular, of a set of advantages that extend far beyond the simple dimension of trust so often discussed. I consider, further, how such a range of ethical features would be structured, and what the implications of those features would be. Three conclusions are reached: 1. Morality may create economic advantages for nations in ways that extend beyond the notion of an idealized market; 2. In order for ethics to drive economic advantage, ethical concepts must rise to the status of intrinsic value; and 3. If claims for national ethical success factors are true, then nations should attend to the issue of moral education.

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