Ethics is a normative sciences economics is a positive science. Ethics is axiological. Economics is factual. The subject of ethics is human ideal. Economics is related to the economic aspect of his activities.
It studies facts relating to the production, distribution and consumption of wealth and formulates general laws from its study, for the economic advancement of the community. Ethics searches for those ideals by which the production, distribution and consumption of wealth can be regulated.
2. Difference in Viewpoint:
Ethics concern itself with the spiritual emancipation of human beings while economics is related to their physical advancement
3. Difference in the Methods of Economics and Ethics:
The method of economics is historical, while that of ethics is teleological. Economics studies ‘what is’. Ethics studies ‘what ought to be’.
4. Difference in Scope of Ethics and Economics:
The scope of ethics is wider than that of economics. Economics is concerned only with the economic activities of man but ethics gives ethical decisions on every human activity. Its scope includes internal activities.
5. Difference in the Judgments of Economics and Ethics:
The nature and subject of economic and ethical judgments differ. Economics passes judgments on the external form of things and its judgments are relative. The object of ethical judgment is the motive of human reason, intentions, aims and means-all in the content of the complete ethical situations, and the directives are not relative
Relation of Ethics with Economics:
But even then, it is not feasible to keep economics and ethics separate. Economics studies the objects which fulfill human desire. The subject of ethics is the ultimate good. Ethics will evaluate economic objects because it wants complete emancipation of the man.
The propriety of economic good is based upon the ultimate good. It, of itself, does not have any intrinsic value. As such economics depends upon ethics. Secondly, for means to mass welfare, economics should proceed on ethical laws.
Modem economists believe economics to be the science of welfare, not money. Production, distribution and consumption should be so organized that every member of society may be improved to the maximum. For this ethical direction is indispensable.
Thus, the two cannot be kept apart Ruskin and Carlyle have much emphasis upon this relation. Thirdly, economics is related to wealth, while ethics is concerned with personality. The right to property is based upon the right to personality.
The rights of accumulation, exchange and distribution are also dependent upon the right of personality. Ethics describes the right of personality. Thus economics is governed by ethics.
An economist writes,
“The present day economics is not altogether content to remain a science of ‘what is’ the current emphasis is less didactic and more social in character. The tendency now is in the direction of re-establishing a philosophy of economics. And by this I mean a search for the ultimate’s of human life in so far as these can be discovered within the limits of economic process.”
It is obvious that the economics and ethics concur on ideals and here economics will have to depend upon ethics.