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The Challenges of Capitalism for Virtue Ethics and the Common Good

Interdisciplinary Perspectives Edited by Kleio Akrivou, Associate Professor, University of Reading, UK and Visiting Associate Research Professor, University of Navarre and Alejo José G. Sison, Professor, University of Navarre, Spain
The evolution of modern capitalist society is increasingly being marked by an undeniable and consistent tension between pure economic and ethical ways of valuing and acting. This book is a collaborative and cross-disciplinary contribution that challenges the assumptions of capitalist business and society. It ultimately reflects on how to restore benevolence, collaboration, wisdom and various forms of virtuous deliberation amongst all those who take part in the common good, drawing inspiration from European history and continental philosophical traditions on virtue.
Extent: 328 pp
Hardback Price: $135.00 Web: $121.50
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 978 1 78471 790 2
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  • Business and Management
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The evolution of modern capitalist society is increasingly being marked by an undeniable and consistent tension between pure economic and ethical ways of valuing and acting. This book is a collaborative and cross-disciplinary contribution that challenges the assumptions of capitalist business and society. It ultimately reflects on how to restore benevolence, collaboration, wisdom and various forms of virtuous deliberation amongst all those who take part in the common good, drawing inspiration from European history and continental philosophical traditions on virtue.

Editors Kleio Akrivou and Alejo José G. Sison unite well-known academics who examine new ways of understanding the relations between social classes, organizations, groups and the role of actors–persons. They propose ways to restore virtue in our economy–society–person relations with the purpose of overcoming the current challenges of capitalism which more often than not sacrifice happiness and broader, sustained prosperity for the achievement of short-term efficiency. This book also explores a moral psychology that underpins normative virtue ethics theory, and seeks a deeper understanding on how the concept of prudence and the distinct forms of rational excellence have evolved since Aristotle and the co-evolution of Western–Aristotelian and Eastern virtue ethics traditions.

This interdisciplinary book will be of interest to business ethics scholars, organizational behaviour academics, organizational sociologists, qualitative research scholars and economic historians. Policy-makers who are interested in improving collaborative frameworks and cross-institutional collaboration policies will also find value in this book.

‘The excellent authors in this wide-ranging but coherent body of essays largely decimate certain important ethical presuppositions of post-industrial capitalism and offer better ones. Relying on the virtue-based approach of Aristotle and like-minded moral philosophers, the authors enlighten business ethics by bringing to bear the insight that human nature and well-being essentially involve values of community.’  
– Edwin Hartman, retired Professor, New York University, US

‘Despite skepticism about character and virtue, virtue ethics and the common good are still among the most influential frameworks in applied ethics in general and in business ethics in particular. This is an ambitious, carefully argued and stimulating collection, which explains why character is not and cannot be dead in business and philosophical research. The Challenges of Capitalism for Virtue Ethics and the Common Good examines new and rich directions for the character approach in today’s economic and political context. It is remarkably useful to all with an interest in normative business ethics and an indispensable guide for virtue ethicists in business schools.’
– Miguel Alzola, Professor, Fordham University, US

‘A serious attempt to recover an understanding of the economy within the realm of human action, with the common good at the centre and under the guidance of the virtues.’
– Domènec Melé, Chair of Business Ethics, University of Navarre, Spain


Contributors: A. Adewale, K. Akrivou, H. Alford, L. Arch, V. Barnes, R. Beadle, O. Bolade-Ogunfodun, M. Casson, A. Dobie, A. González Enciso, M. Hanssen, D. Koehn, B.M. McCall, G. Moore, L. Newton, J.V. Orón, G.R. Scalzo, A.J.G. Sison

Contents:

Introduction
Kleio Akrivou

PART I THE COMMON GOOD IN HISTORY: VIRTUE EPISTEMOLOGY AS KNOWLEDGE FOUNDATION FOR THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN INSTITUTIONS, SOCIETY AND PERSON(S)
1. The merchant and the common good: social paradigms and the state’s influence in Western history
Agustín González Enciso

2. The ‘medieval’, the common good and accounting
Alisdair Dobie

3. The civilization of commerce in the Middle Ages
Mark Hanssen

4. Virtuous banking: the role of the community in monitoring English joint-stock banks and their managements in the nineteenth century
Victoria Barnes and Lucy Newton

5. Disposed toward self-restraint: the London clearing banks, 1946–71
Linda Arch

PART II ARISTOTELIAN VIRTUE, THE COMMON GOOD AND CURRENT RELEVANCE FOR CAPITALISM, INSTITUTIONS AND PERSONS’ AGENCY
6. Revisiting the common good of the firm
Alejo José G. Sison

7. Integrated habitus for the common good of the firm – a radically humanistic conception of organizational habitus with systemic human integrity orientation
Kleio Akrivou, Oluyemisi Bolade-Ogunfodun and Adeyinka Adewale

8. Corporate agency, character, purpose and the common good
Geoff Moore

9. Individual and organizational virtues
Ron Beadle

10. Corporations, politics and the common good
Brian M. McCall

11. Two kinds of human integrity: towards the ethics of the inter-processual self
Kleio Akrivou and José Víctor Orón

12. Prudence as part of a worldview: historical and conceptual dimensions
Germán R. Scalzo and Helen Alford

13. Non-Western virtue ethics, commerce and the common good
Daryl Koehn

14. Reflections on the concept of the common good from an economic perspective
Mark Casson

Index