Questions of Morality

Q006 | August 3, 2015

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Is mutual agreement sufficient to offer legitimacy to a contract?

There are a lot of libertarians, public and less public figures, that claim there is no need for other criteria to make a mutual agreement between two parties legitimate and, therefore, valid. For example, a labour contract between two parties, the employer and the employee, should be grounded on mutual agreement regarding the clauses that regulate their relation and there is no other thing besides the law that should interfere with the agreement. The same people — and Milton Friedman is not one of them — argue that law can be excessive if it regulates how many hours or how the salary should be paid (twice a month or only once, via bank transfer or cash).
Moreover, they claim there is no moral ground for economic contracts: the will of the parties and the law are sufficient. Though the international labour regulations and guidelines are contrary to this position, these people claim there is no such thing as “unethical contracts”. So what do you think? Is mutual agreement a sufficient basis for unethical contracts?

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