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Ethical blog

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

          Beyond Self

            World renowned organizational scholar, James March of Stanford University once said that undermining the self-interest doctrine may be the most important project of the 21st century. Self-interest is at the heart of economics, politics and everyday life. People and organizations are encouraged to pursue their own self-interest without paying attention to the wider and longer term consequences of their choices and actions. However, the extreme focus on the self by economic actors leads to the destruction of both material and non-material… Read More »Beyond Self

            Wasteland of what was creation

              The last words of the last public lecture given by the great philosopher Hans Jonas were as follows: „It was once religion which told us that we all are sinners because of the original sin. It is now the ecology of the planet which pronounces us all to be sinners because of the excessive exploits of human inventiveness. It was once religion which threatened us with a last judgment at the end of days. It is now… Read More »Wasteland of what was creation

              Future of Business Ethics

                The recent economic and financial crisis shows that business ethics lost its credibility and relevance. It became evident that business ethics teaching did not change the general attitude of managers in mainstream business. Ethics and compliance programs were not able to prevent major banks and big corporations to enter into questionable practices and make dirty businesses all over the world. One explanation of the betrayal of business ethics is that our discipline did not question… Read More »Future of Business Ethics

                Post-materialistic Business

                  Mainstream corporate business lost credibility and trust worldwide. Conventional legitimizing arguments for corporate business do not work anymore. Referring to efficiency or job creation is not enough for stakeholders who are angry with corporations destroying livelihoods, displacing people, and destructive of communities and nature. The basic assumptions of the corporate management model became questionable. The dominant model of today’s corporate business is based on a materialistic conception of man. Human beings are considered as creatures… Read More »Post-materialistic Business

                  Klee: Senecio

                    The painting by Paul Klee represents the angel of ethics for me. The title “Senecio” refers to the botanical name for a genus of plants that includes ragwort and other plants with round flower heads. One interpretation is that there is a parallel between the flower being the crowning glory of a plant and the human face being the flower of the human body. As this genuine and transparent face sees us,  we can feel… Read More »Klee: Senecio

                    Business Ethics is Mandatory in Europe

                      The European Commission approved a new European strategy on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) on 25 October 2011. Compared to the previous EU definition of CSR as voluntary standards, it now describes “CSR as the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society” and as compulsory in respecting core standards “in particular the recently updated OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact, the ISO 26000 Guidance Standard on Social Responsibility, the ILO Tri-partite Declaration of… Read More »Business Ethics is Mandatory in Europe