This paper explores issues of morality in relation to the consequences of marketing action. It addresses the reasons why, despite adverse social consequences, as well as the exhortations of marketing ethicists, a societal-based morality continues to languish at the margins of marketing practice. We note that ethicists mistakenly characterize organizations as being 'amoral' and their decisions as being 'purely economic'. This ignores the reality that marketing theory and practice are suffused with the morality of economic self-interest. This has important implications for whether one can understand the consequences of marketing action as intended or unintended. We suggest it is due to the power of egoism that attempts to import ethical maxims from moral philosophy have been sidelined. Finally, we discuss the difficulties of securing a more moral basis for marketing decision-making.
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