Executive Compensation: Unjust or Just Right?

John R. Boatright

in The Oxford Handbook of Business Ethics

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780195307955
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Executive Compensation: Unjust or Just Right?

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This article examines executive compensation in the context of business ethics. It argues that high levels of executive compensation can be justified in a free market capitalist system if certain conditions are met. The conditions include that the bargaining between a chief executive officer and shareholders do not involve fraud or a breach of fiduciary duty. This article explains that some form of capitalism is morally justified and consequently both the principles of compensation in a free market and the patterns of distribution of income and wealth produced by the market are just.

Keywords: executive compensation; business ethics; free market capitalist system; chief executive officer; fraud; fiduciary duty

Article.  21283 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Social and Political Philosophy

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