Tacit Agreement

The agreement to participate in the arrangement is implied, not stated or involving an actual contract to be signed.

While business is the place where we might be most familiar with actual contracts and explicit agreements, these are embedded in unspoken agreements about appropriate behaviour and practice in business dealings.

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A hypothetical construction

The social contract is constructed by a theoretical process; there is no actual point of historical creation—it is hypothetical.

Business is at best a minor actor in the theoretical process of social contract theory historically. Arguably, business tends to focus on the here and now, and it perhaps is not surprising that they sometimes fail to meet the requirements of the hypothetical construction.

For our purposes, most useful is his determination of the two criteria which he believes all rational self-interested people behind a veil of ignorance would arrive at. He distils clearly that society is just when:

1. Each person has an equal right to the most extensive total system of basic liberties compatible with a similar system of liberty for all.

2. Social and economic inequalities are arranged so that they are both:

(a) To the greatest benefit of the least advantaged—known as the ‘difference principle’.

(b) Attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity—known as the ‘principle of equal opportunity’.

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