Ethics and Economics: Towards a New Humanistic Synthesis for Business

Journal of Business Ethics (Impact Factor: 1.33). 03/2011; 99(1):37-49. DOI: 10.1007/s10551-011-0747-7


The Encyclical-Letter Caritas in Veritate by Pope Benedict XVI suggests to advance towards a new conceptualization of the tenuous relationship between economics and
ethics, proposing a “new humanistic synthesis.” Where social encyclicals have traditionally justified policy proposals by natural law and theological reasoning alone,
Caritas in Veritate gives great relevance to economic arguments. The encyclical defines the framework for a new business ethics which appreciates
allocative and distributive efficiency, and thus both markets and institutions as improving the human condition, but locates
their source and reason outside the economic sphere. It places a clear accent on the ontological connectedness of the economic
and ethical dimensions of human action. It is the proper ordering of means towards the end of integral human development that
allows mankind to leave a vicious circle of consumerism and enter a virtuous circle that applies the creativity fostered by
markets. This vision implies a new model of business management that integrates considerations of vocation, purpose, and values
at a theological level.

Caritas in Veritate
–Catholic social thought–business ethics–economic efficiency–humanism in management–papal encyclicals

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    • "Las prácticas administrativas que solamente buscan alcanzar los objetivos o metas económicas y financieras han inmerso a la sociedad en una profunda crisis socioeconómica (Grassl & Habisch, 2011; Pirson, 2013). Las prácticas de negocios poco éticas se han convertido en una generalidad y no una excepción, siendo la dignidad humana , el bienestar social y el medio ambiente quienes han resentido los profundos impactos que estas han generado (Melé, 2003). "

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    • "12, 1993) to the social encyclical Centesimus annus (1991), written by Pope John Paul II. Would the new social encyclical require a similar publication? Some scholars have already published essays on this encyclical in academic journals (among others, Gomez 2009; Breen 2010; Stormes 2010; Laczniak and Klein 2010; Guitián 2010; Grassl and Habisch 2011; Argandoña 2011; Oslington 2011; Troilo 2011; Zamagni 2011), monographs (Faux et al. 2009; and Mion and Losa Adaui 2011), or collective works (Melé and Castellà 2010; Melé and Dierksmeier 2012). However, the richness of Caritas in Veritate requires further work and, in particular, a serious discussion of its possible contribution to the business ethics field. "
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    ABSTRACT: This article serves as an editorial introduction to this special issue on Pope Benedict’s encyclical-letter, Caritas in Veritate (2009) and its engagement with the field of business ethics. According to this document, love in truth, which includes justice, is indeed presented as a basic moral foundation for economic and business ethics. The article provides an overview of some major themes in the encyclical and their relationship to the essays in this special issue. The authors in this issue are an interdisciplinary group of scholars in the fields of philosophy, theology, psychology, business, economics, and political science who address the relevance and relationship of the encyclical to business ethics in light of their disciplinary field. Their articles include, among other topics, discussions based on recent scholarship on business ethics, the economics and ethics relationship, the orientation of business to the common good, the encyclical’s proposal of the principle of gratuitousness and the logic of gift in ordinary business, and new perspectives on economic exchange and bargains and hybrid forms of business.
    Journal of Business Ethics 03/2012; 100(1):1-7. DOI:10.1007/s10551-011-1180-7 · 1.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Within the Catholic Church, business education at the tertiary level is characterized by uni-ty of mission and diversity of institutional forms. While the formal process of strategic planning ("discernment") is the same for all business schools, how they react to stakeholder influences sets them apart. The two salient questions are, respectively, in which area the distinctiveness of Catholic business schools is located, and how strong it is as a differentiat-ing factor. The loss of Catholic identity is seen as the greatest challenge at least in the high-ly developed countries. These issues are addressed analytically by applying project man-agement tools to business schools conceived as ideal types in order then to derive types of institutions and shared tasks.
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