Last week, Jeremy Levy argued that “single producer-to-consumer transactions” should be morality-free zones where “our sense of social responsibility shouldn’t matter” (Not Buying It, 07/19/2009). Whether or not Americans have a responsibility to purchase American cars, Levy’s principle goes too far. What about the exchange of cash for a product immunizes participants from the ethical consequences of their actions?

Levy’s claim that consumers should maximize their own personal benefit in any transaction is itself a kind of ethical principle — and a selfish one at that. The issue isn’t whether or not ethics should govern our economic behavior, but which ethics should influence our decisions.

Daniel Trump
Law School Student

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