Pricing for a common good: beyond ethical minimalism in commercial practices
Pricing policies and fair-trade practices are critical for sustaining commercial relationships between firms and customers. Nevertheless, in current business practices, fairness has been mistakenly reduced to a minimalistic ethic wherein justice only demands legal and explicit norms to which commercial parties voluntarily agree. Aimed at giving a different explanation of commercial agreements, this paper will introduce a Virtue Ethics (VE) explanation of the relationship between pricing and the common good by taking up classical concepts related to justice in commerce. In particular, we will explore three principles associated with the notion of fairness in commerce as defined in Neo-Aristotelian ethics towards a relationship between a common good and justice in pricing, i.e., proportionality, benevolence and well-being. To exemplify how these criteria of justice apply to decision-making in commercial practices, we will discuss several cases of fair and unfair commercial relationships.