Ethics of Capitalism and Critique of Sociobiology: Two Essays with a Comment by James M. Buchanan

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I am very glad that the cooperation between the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the International Federation of Catholic Universities, the Institute of the German Economy and the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation, has made possible these world-wide conversations on a question of deep concern for all of us. The economic inequality between the northern and southern hemispheres of the globe is becoming more and more an inner threat to the cohesion of the human family.

The danger for our future from such a threat may be no less real than that proceeding from the weapons arsenals with which the East and the West oppose one another. New exertions must be made to overcome this tension, since all methods employed hitherto have proven themselves inadequate.


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In fact, the misery in the world has increased in shocking measure during the last thirty years. In order to find solutions that will truly lead us forward, new economic ideas will be necessary. But such measures do not seem conceivable or, above all, practicable without new moral impulses. It is at this point that a dialogue between Church and economy becomes both possible and necessary. Let me clarify somewhat the exact point in question.

At first glance, precisely in terms of classical economic theory, it is not obvious what the Church and the economy should actually have to do with one another, aside from the fact that the Church owns businesses and so is a factor in the market. The Church should not enter into dialogue here as a mere component in the economy, but rather in its own right as Church. Here, however, we must face the objection raised especially after the Second Vatican Council, that the autonomy of specialized realms is to be respected above all.

Such an objection holds that the economy ought to play by its own rules and not according to moral considerations imposed on it from without.

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For a long time, then, business ethics rang like hollow metal because the economy was held to work on efficiency and not on morality. The true play of market laws best guarantees progress and even distributive justice. The great successes of this theory concealed its limitations for a long time. But now in a changed situation, its tacit philosophical presuppositions and thus its problems become clearer. Although this position admits the freedom of individual businessmen, and to that extent can be called liberal, it is in fact deterministic in its core.

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It presupposes that the free play of market forces can operate in one direction only, given the constitution of man and the world, namely, toward the self-regulation of supply and demand, and toward economic efficiency and progress. This determinism, in which man is completely controlled by the binding laws of the market while believing he acts in freedom from them, includes yet another and perhaps even more astounding presupposition, namely, that the natural laws of the market are in essence good if I may be permitted so to speak and necessarily work for the good, whatever may be true of the morality of individuals.

These two presuppositions are not entirely false, as the successes of the market economy illustrate. Even if the market economy does rest on the ordering of the individual within a determinate network of rules, it cannot make man superfluous or exclude his moral freedom from the world of economics. It is becoming ever so clear that the development of the world economy has also to do with the development of the world community and with the universal family of man, and that the development of the spiritual powers of mankind is essential in the development of the world community.

These spiritual powers are themselves a factor in the economy: the market rules function only when a moral consensus exists and sustains them. If I have attempted so far to point to the tension between a purely liberal model of the economy and ethical considerations, and thereby to circumscribe a first set of questions, I must now point out the opposite tension. The question about market and ethics has long ceased to be merely a theoretical problem.

Since the inherent inequality of various individual economic zones endangers the free play of the market, attempts at restoring the balance have been made since the s by means of development projects. It can no longer be overlooked that these attempts have failed and have even intensified the existing inequality.

The result is that broad sectors of the Third World, which at first looked forward to development aid with great hopes, now identify the ground of their misery in the market economy, which they see as a system of exploitations, as institutionalised sin and injustice. For them, the centralized economy appears to be the moral alternative, toward which one turns with a directly religious fervor, and which virtually becomes the content of religion.

For while the market economy rests on the beneficial effect of egoism and its automatic limitation through competing egoisms, the thought of just control seems to predominate in a centralized economy, where the goal is equal rights for all and proportionate distribution of goods to all. The examples adduced thus far are certainly not encouraging, but the hope that one could, nonetheless, bring this moral project to fruition is also not thereby refuted. It seems that if the whole were to be attempted on a stronger moral foundation, it should be possible to reconcile morality and efficiency in a society not oriented toward maximum profit, but rather to self-restraint and common service.

Thus in this area, the argument between economics and ethics is becoming ever more an attack on the market economy and its spiritual foundations, in favor of a centrally controlled economy, which is believed now to receive its moral grounding. In terms of the structure of its economic theory and praxis, the Marxist system as a centrally administered economy is a radical antithesis to the market economy.

The Social Market Economy and the Varieties of Capitalism Introduction

Salvation is expected because there is no private control of the means of production, because supply and demand are not brought into harmony through market competition, because there is no place for private profit seeking, and because all regulations proceed from a central economic administration. Yet, in spite of this radical opposition in the concrete economic mechanisms, there are also points in common in the deeper philosophical presuppositions.

The first of these consists in the fact that Marxism, too, is deterministic in nature and that it too promises a perfect liberation as the fruit of this determinism. For this reason, it is a fundamental error to suppose that a centralized economic system is a moral system in contrast to the mechanistic system of the market economy.

Indeed, determinism is here far more radical and fundamental than in liberalism: for at least the latter recognizes the realm of the subjective and considers it as the place of the ethical. Ethics is reduced to the philosophy of history, and the philosophy of history degenerates into party strategy. But let us return once again to the common points in the philosophical foundations of Marxism and capitalism taken strictly. The second point in common — as will already have been clear in passing — consists in the fact that determinism includes the renunciation of ethics as an independent entity relevant to the economy.

This shows itself in an especially dramatic way in Marxism. Religion is traced back to economics as the reflection of a particular economic system and thus, at the same time, as an obstacle to correct knowledge, to correct action — as an obstacle to progress, at which the natural laws of history aim. It is also presupposed that history, which takes its course from the dialectic of negative and positive, must, of its inner essence and with no further reasons being given, finally end in total positivity.

Temporarily out of stock. Buchanan Ethical Economy Mar Get it by Tuesday, Sep 24 Only 1 left in stock more on the way. Wirtschaft als Kultur Oct Ethik der Banken Oct Get it by Thursday, Sep 26 Only 1 left in stock.

Ethik des Konsums Mar More Information. Anything else? Provide feedback about this page. Back to top. The book argues that hyper-speculation goes far beyond the degree of speculation that is necessary for the liquidity of financial markets in a developed economy, and has thus increased the risks of the financial system and will continue to do so.

This book offers an ethics of banking and an ethical economy of the financial markets to counterbalance the financial industry's purely economic approach. Elements of a philosophy of management and organization by Peter Koslowski 14 editions published in in English and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide This work introduces readers to central approaches in the field of management ethics, which represents a synthesis of management and philosophical theory. Corporate citizenship and new governance : the political role of corporations by Ingo Pies 18 editions published between and in English and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide "This volume unites the perspective of business ethics with approaches from strategic management, economics, law, political science, and with philosophical reflections on the theory of Corporate Citizenship and New Governance"--Back cover.

Restructuring the welfare state : theory and reform of social policy Book 18 editions published between and in English and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide The welfare state has been developed first and in its largest extent in North-Western Europe, in Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Sweden. It is also in these countries where the crisis and financial problems of the welfare state are felt first. The need for restructuring the welfare state is a challenge of a supra-national, European and international scale.

The book analyses the different welfare states in Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Sweden with outlooks to Eastern Europe and Japan and examines the proposals for reforming and restructuring the welfare state in Europe. The book offers a unique combination of empirical and philosophical-ethical analysis of the welfare state. Methodology of the social sciences, ethics, and economics in the newer historical school : from Max Weber and Rickert to Sombart and Rothacker by Peter Koslowski Book 13 editions published in in English and German and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide The volume gives an exposition of the achievement and present relevance of the Newer Historical School of Economics and of the theory of the Humane Sciences that accompanied its development.

It describes the methodology of economics and the social sciences, the economic ethics, and the theory of the social and human sciences in the Historical School. It shows how its emphasis moved from an ethical economics or ethical economy to the methodology of the social and economic sciences. Together with the volume on the theory of ethical economy in the Older Historical School, the reader is provided with an encyclopedic description and analysis of the entire Historical School and of the German speaking tradition of economics and the social sciences in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century.

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Contemporary economic ethics and business ethics by Peter Koslowski Book 14 editions published between and in English and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide "The volume collects original essays on the major approaches to economic ethics and business ethics in Germany, other European countries, and the USA.

It provides the reader with a comprehensive overview about the discussion on contemporary economic ethics and business ethics. It introduces German approaches to economic ethics and business ethics to the English-speaking audience. Ethics of capitalism ; and, Critique of sociobiology : two essays with a comment by James M. Buchanan by Peter Koslowski Book 23 editions published between and in English and German and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide The book has two subjects, first the ethical theory of the economic order, and secondly the critique of sociobiology and its theory of evolution.

James M. Buchanan on Economists and the Great Recession

The first part, the ethics of capitalism, analyzes the rise of capitalism and the business ethics and moral theory of a capitalist economic order in a perspective from philosophy and economics. The second part, a critique of sociobiology, gives a philosophical assessment of sociobiology's contribution to the theory of the economy and society and of its impact for metaphysics and a general world view.

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