CÓD.N03-S08-12-S09-07 ONLINE

John Rawls and the limits to the net neutrality in the Internet market: ethical insights for entrepreneurs


The challenges posed by the digital era imply a change of some economic and social paradigms. In the construction and development of such a new paradigm, companies play a cornerstone role. Therefore, the training of future entrepreneurs requires a new approach to meet these new challenges, and this approach must incorporate ethics and social justice as cross-cutting concepts.


The aim of this work is to provide a robust theoretical frame to be used by university scholars to develop training materials based on John Rawls’ social contract theory (1971, 1999) applied to strategic sectors. More specifically, the work in question deals with the Rawlsian analysis of the Internet market, considered as both strategic from a socio-economic point of view and increasingly attractive for entrepreneurs, who use Internet to conceive and boost their innovative ideas.


The methodology, eminently conceptual, uses the Theory of Justice of John Rawls (1971, 1999) to analyze the business dynamics within the Internet market considering the basic principles of this theory: (i) “the first requires equality in the assignment of basic rights and duties” and the second holds that (ii) “the least advantaged, has to benefit from permissible inequalities in the basic structure”.

Discussion and Results

We propose to apply the Rawlsian principles to analyze the structure and the regulation of the Internet market. The evolution of this market and its strategic character in the digital economy place the importance of ethics and social justice as the axis of the new economic development. The initial regulation in this market, net neutrality – representative of the first  Rawlsian principle –, ensured that the Internet was kept as a neutral, free and open network. This principle of neutrality prevented platforms from discriminating in price or quality when accessing contents. However, in recent years, we have witnessed the dizzying restructuring of this market, where the big tech companies (Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook, Apple) dominate the technology market worldwide. The ability of these large companies to exclude small content from the market has brought us back to the point of departure: the exclusiveness of the Internet, where you can no longer access the network without going through these monopolies. The Rawlsian analysis – through the second principle – of this current condition points to the need of a new regulation to avoid exclusions of the least advantaged companies and to free up the network again.


Applying Rawls’s social contract theory to the study of certain strategic sectors is a key factor for the training of future entrepreneurs who must build a new digital economy, ethical, fair and especially inclusive. Therefore, the current work provides a robust theoretical framework which can be used by scholars to prepare innovative educational projects based on active learning methodologies.


Palabras clave

Entrepreneurship Ethics Rawls Social Justice

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Los autores de la ponencia

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Klaudijo Klaser

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Lucía Desamparados Pinar García

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Preguntas y comentarios al autor/es

Hay 2 comentarios en esta ponencia

    • profile avatar

      Lucia Ballesteros Aguayo

      Comentó el 10/12/2020 a las 16:47:38

      Estimados Pau Sendra, Klaudjo Klaser y Lucía Desamparados Pinar,
      Muchas gracias por su contribución que aporta luz acerca de la formación de los futuros emprendedores y la necesidad de implantar un nuevo enfoque con respecto al futuro.
      Sin duda, la transversalidad e interdisciplinariedad de conocimientos será fundamental en este camino.


      • profile avatar

        P SP

        Comentó el 10/12/2020 a las 20:21:57

        Estimada Lucía,

        ¡Muchas gracias por tus amables palabras! Nos alegra que coincidas con nosotros en la necesidad de formar a los futuros emprendedores desde la transversalidad y la interdisciplinariedad.

        ¡Un abrazo!


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