We see in the cases of the Marquis de Sade and the illegal immigrant the way that entrepreneurship involves a whole range of moral assessments. One of the major reasons we recoil from designating someone such as Sade as an entrepreneur is that he is so obviously bad. The logic of taking up the example of Sade may now become more clear. Sade gets straight to the point when it comes to issues such as ethics. The case of Sade makes a short circuit which brings to the stage issues of morality and entrepreneurship. Our earlier discussions have stressed that entrepreneurs exist in a troubled relation to the dominant ethical schemes in a society. This assumption of ethical exceptionality has been used to tell us about everything from the entrepreneur’s personality type to their position in social networks. But what such research rarely comes clean about are the ethics of entrepreneurship. That is, accounts of entrepreneurship only scratch the surface of the question of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ when it comes to entrepreneurship itself. As we hope is now clear, far from being a morally neutral category, the entrepreneur is a figure who is riddled with ethical questions and injunctions. Ethics is in fact absolutely central to debates about the entrepreneur, even when not acknowledged as such. It is therefore vital that we clarify and examine the central normative criteria that are used to explicitly or implicitly assess entrepreneurship. By doing so, we are able to make clearer assessments about the...
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