Ethical blog

Angels and Economics

Angels are non-physical beings who perform benevolent acts as intermediaries between God (or Heaven) and Earth. The role of angels includes protecting and guiding human beings, and carrying out God’s tasks. What is remarkably about angels is the fact that they do good things without consuming physical matter or energy and hence they do not make any negative impact on the geochemistry of the Earth. The ecological footprint of angels is zero but their overall… Read More »Angels and Economics

How to Teach Sustainability?

Teaching sustainability requires taking a truly holistic and deeply personal approach. To address issues of sustainability in business I suggest to use the four-dimensional framework developed by Ian Mitroff at USC in Los Angeles. It says that every important problem has four irreducible aspects: scientific/technical, interpersonal/social, systemic, and existential. The technical/scientific perspective is the dominant perspective in today’s Western culture and favors technical solutions to most problems, even when other solutions  are more appropriate. We use this perspective in most of our teaching at… Read More »How to Teach Sustainability?

The Bodhisattva Model

David Loy, well-known Buddhist scholar and Zen teacher wrote an insightful essay on „Buddhists Must Awaken to the Ecological Crisis”. Loy observes that for many modern Buddhists „the path is sometimes understood as a program of psychological development to help us let go of afflictive emotions and resolve personal problems.” But he adds „there is a difficulty if one believes that all problems are due to the way the mind works; the solution, then, is… Read More »The Bodhisattva Model

Keystone XL Pipleline Project Is Rejected

In early November 2015 President Obama vetoed the Canadian-USA oil pipeline project called Keystone XL.  It is a great victory of economic, social and environmental reason. I am especially happy about this decision because in March 2013 in my class in the University of Richmond, Virginia I analyzed the project with American students and we reached a similar negative conclusion. The proposed oil pipeline (1,179-mile, 36-inch-diameter) was supposed to transport crude oil from Hardisty, Alberta (Canada) to… Read More »Keystone XL Pipleline Project Is Rejected

The Fallacy of Stakeholder Management

Stakeholder theory represented by Edward Freeman and others says that business should consider the interests and claims of the stakeholders and manage its activities accordingly. In this view the effective management of stakeholders is a strategic activity that is necessary for business success as it adds value to shareholders and ensures the long-term survival and sustainability of the firm. Ignoring stakeholders is dangerous, not just because it is morally inappropriate, but also because it does… Read More »The Fallacy of Stakeholder Management

Vision for Future Earth

The current unsustainable state of the Earth is largely caused by business so reconsidering the role of business in society-and-nature is crucial. Without transforming business into a progressive social institution which respects nature, future generations and the common good of society there is no chance for achieving a Sustainable Earth. Social innovation has a vital role in the sustainability transformation of business and society. Environmentally non-harming and regenerative business solutions can be developed in close collaboration with local… Read More »Vision for Future Earth

Does Western Buddhism Serve the Preservation of Capitalism?

In his article “From Western Marxism to Western Buddhism” philosopher Slavoj Žižek argues that “although Western Buddhism presents itself as the remedy against the stressful tension of capitalist dynamics, allowing us to uncouple and retain inner peace and Gelassenheit, it actually functions as its perfect ideological supplement.” He adds that “one should (…) ‘let oneself go,’ drift along, while retaining an inner distance and indifference toward the mad dance of accelerated process, a distance based on the insight… Read More »Does Western Buddhism Serve the Preservation of Capitalism?

Karl Polanyi’s Substantive View of the Economy

In 2014 we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Karl Polanyi’s death. The Hungarian-born Polanyi -who was professor at Columbia University in New York – was the founder of what he called „universal economic history”. He became famous by his book „The Great Transformation” in which he describes the process by which market takes over society and colonizes every  segment of the life-world of people. However, he developed economic ideas which are even more important than… Read More »Karl Polanyi’s Substantive View of the Economy

Michael Porter’s Competitive Firm Became Bankrupted

The Monitor Group, the consulting firm founded by the business guru, Michael Porter became bankrupted in November 2012. Monitor was unable to pay its bills and was forced to file for bankruptcy protection. I think it is a good development. Competitiveness championed by Michael Porter has been the prevailing ideology of today’s business and economic policy. Companies, regions, and national economies seek to improve their productivity and gain competitive advantage. But these efforts often produce… Read More »Michael Porter’s Competitive Firm Became Bankrupted

Business and Violence

In his famous book Economics of Love and Fear, Kenneth Bolding suggested that business is a peaceful alternative to war. This might be true in principle, but today business, especially mainstream global business, seems to be at war with society and nature. Striving for profit and competitiveness, mainstream business produces monetary results at the expense of nature, society and future generations. With its exclusive focus on profit-making, mainstream businesses violates the integrity and diversity of natural… Read More »Business and Violence