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
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
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
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
The Occupy Wall Street phenomenon clearly shows the crisis of the materialistic management paradigm. Materialistic management is based on the belief that the sole motivation of doing business is money-making and success should be measured by the generated profit only. Psychologists have discovered the serious side-effects of materialistic value orientation. In his book “The High Price of Materialism” Tim Kasser demonstrates that the more people prioritize materialistic goals, the lower their personal well-being and more likely they engage… Read More »The Crisis of Materialistic Management
I was active in fighting agains the Bős-Nagymaros Dam project in the 1980s and 1990s. The project aimed at constructing a huge, artificial system consisting of a canal and two dams for electricity production. It was not only highly destructive in environmental and cultural sense but also economically irrational because it required about USD 3 billion for the completion, but this investment would never recovered through the benefit of electricity production. Alternative Nobel-Prize winner and… Read More »Realizing the Nothing
As a student (and later as a professor) of economics and business I was not ready to accept the centrality of self-interest in motivating business actions and evaluating the performance of companies. I have never shared the belief of mainstream economists and businessmen about the benefitial effects of the “invisible hand” of the market. I always felt that something fundamentally wrong with the self-interest doctrine. Buddhism provided me with a revelational insight. Buddhism poses a… Read More »The Problem of the Self in Economics and Business
Zoltán Valcsicsák who is volunteering in Bhutan made an interview with me on Budhist economics. When did you get introduced to Buddhist Economics? I studied economics in the late 1970s. I was not ready to accept the basic dogma of modern Western economics that self-interest behaviour serves the common good. I always felt that something is wrong with the “greed is good” position. Reading E.F. Schumacher’s essay on Buddhist economics was liberating for me. It demonstrated that an… Read More »Buddhist Economics. What is it and why now?
The painting “Pilgrimage to the Cedars of Lebanon” by Tivadar Kosztka Csontvary is a celebration of the magficence of nature and the dignity of human spirit. Let us hope in the renewal of humanity in the years to come.
Since the late 1980s mankind has been operating in overshoot. Our ecological footprint has exceeded the world’s biocapacity by about 30 percent. This means that the planet’s resources are being used faster than they can be renewed. The problem is especially acute for the Western countries which use 600 – 300 percent of their fair earth share. A common belief of business people, politicians and lay people is that the problem of ecological overshot can… Read More »Frugality