Justice within Business

This allusion to the new Testament teaching to do unto others as one would have done unto oneself places a moral context to the description. Mandeville will describe a group of people who are basically dishonest They are full of those who have "conceal’d" defects within the products they are selling, or who sell their "Ware beyond their Worth:.
Here is the basic principle that a businessman seems to adhere to according to Mandeville: making a profit at any cost, whether the means are honest or otherwise. In the story of Decio and Alcander, Mandeville showswhat complications may occur when two equally dishonest businessmen attempt to take advantage of the other. In many ways there is no "right" or "wrong" within this story but rather kind of Machiavellian story of the manipulation of one person by another (Machiavelli, 1982).
The story of the buyer and the seller of sugar both attempting to manipulate the other in order to get eh best price possible for what they consider to be the situation is both funny and revealing. The fact they both will use "inside information" to attempt to deceive the other is a common practice today as much as it was in the Renaissance period. The irony that "both understood the market very well" and yet also seem to have been self-deceived as to the surety of what they are hearing is wonderful. Alcander hears that a large shipment of sugar is about to come from the Indies and so realizes that the price is about to fall and thus seeks to remove Decio from knowledge of it. Decio of course hears that the fleet has in fact sunk, and so the prices are expected to increase 25%.
Both men attempt to manipulate the other, and are essentially portrayed as rather skilled actors. So "how desirous soever he was to sell, the other was yet more eager to buy. yet both of them afraid of one another, for a considerable time, counterfeited all the Indifference imaginable". There is an element of gamesmanship present within the businessmen as Mandeville describes them. They appear to enjoy the cheating and manipulation that is part and parcel of the business world that they inhabit. Neither is influenced by conscience in any way.
2) Discuss how persons with such a character has reason to act fairly (appendix b)
With characteristic irony and pragmatism, Hume tackles the question of how the "knave" should act in particular situations and also as a general rule. Hume states that the idea "that honesty is the best policy, may be a good general rule, but is liable to exceptions". The knave has a reason to act fairly when his specific circumstances mean that he will gain the most through doing so. Thus the knave will observe the "general rule" whenever possible, as this is the safest course within life and people will think well of him. But when the "exceptions" arise, as they often seem to do within Hume’s observations, he should take advantage of them. To be simple, a knave will only act fairly when it is in his best interests to do so.
A Kantian prism may help in understanding how fairness can possible occur among such apparently selfish and purely individualistic people. Kant’s idea of the categorical