Buying and Selling

We spend a large fraction of our lives buying and selling. Nearly all of the artifacts that surround us were bought and sold, not to mention many human services on which we rely. Probably no activity more profoundly shapes the world than commerce, aside from education and child rearing. Ethics is supposed to regulate how we relate to each other, and much of how we do so is through commerce. This makes the ethics of buying and selling a central topic in applied ethics, and it is the topic of this chapter.

I will begin with a few dilemmas that face buyers, followed by some that concern sellers. These case studies will provide a springboard for broader discussions of consumer activism, the role of emotions in decision-making, ...

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