Papers

Frugality and the Intrinsic Value of Nature

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Frugality and the Intrinsic Value of Nature.' , in Frugality and the Intrinsic Value of Nature , eds. Ove Jakobsen, and Laszlo Zsolnai, Emerald, 2017. (This book may be available at: Emerald)

The encyclical letter of Pope Francis, “Praised Be: On the Care of Our Common Home” (Laudato si’) presented an excellent opportunity  to spark a conversation between economics and faith-based discourses on sustainability. The encyclical underlined the human origins of the ecological crisis and proposed fundamental changes in organizing our economic life. Among the important suggestions put forward by the Pope are increased  frugality in consumption and acknowledging the intrinsic value of nature.

What is Progressive Business?

Eleanor O'Higgins, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'What is Progressive Business?' , in Progressive Business Models: Creating Sustainable and Pro-social Enterprise, eds. Eleanor O'Higgins, and Laszlo Zsolnai, Palgrave-Macmillan, London, 2017.

The paper offers an overview of the need for new more progressive business models than the mainstream which exists at present, identifying the current challenges facing business in Europe and beyond in its international ramifications. To remedy these challenges, the paper presents an alternative vision of progressive business functioning, whose basic criteria comprise ecological sustainability, respect for future generations, and pro-socialness. What is Progressive Business.pdf

Future of Business

Eleanor O'Higgins, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'Future of Business.' , in Progressive Bsuiness Models: Creating Sustainable and Pro-social Enterprise, eds. Eleanor O'Higgins, and Laszlo Zsolnai, Palgrave-Macmillan, London, 2017.

The papers argues that the future of business highly depends on its ability to renew its business models. The key problem is the nature, form and scale of business operations. The business models of today’s mainstream business do not fit in the reality of the biosphere. Business models vary but almost none of them are consistent with the flourishing life on Earth (including human, non-human and future life). To achieve meaningful change in the humanity-nature nexus business organizations should reinvent the ways they function. If mainstream business will not change its underlying “market fundamentalism”, there will be little chance for humanity to survive in the Anthropocene. The hope is that progressive business models can make the anti-progressive short-sighted ways of doing business obsolete. Future of Business.pdf

Ecological Economics in the Anthropocene

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Ecological Economics in the Anthropocene.' Ecological Economics, 2017, vol. 139, pp. 158-159

This is a review of  the book “Ecological Economics for the Athropocene” (Peter G. Brown, Peter Timmerman (Eds.). Columbia University Press, New York, 2015). The book has developed a newand engaging vision and research program for ecological economics. Tones of work must still be done, but the ethical foundation the book proposes is robust. In fact, it is key to creating a more livable and peaceful future for humanity and the millions of other species on the Earth. Review on Peter Brown.pdf

Issues and Themes in Moral Economics

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Issues and Themes in Moral Economics.' , in Economics as a Moral Science, eds. Peter Rona, and Laszlo Zsolnai, Springer, 2017. (This book may be available at: Springer)

This paper summarizes the main issues and themes in the development of moral economics. Zamagni suggests that we can harness market interactions by re-defining the market in a non-individualistic way, as a network of mutually beneficial relations, along the lines suggested by the civil economy paradigm. Bouckaert underlines that thinking of economics as a relational dynamic opens a space for human creativity without losing the embeddedness in a system of meaning and purpose.

Economic Rationality versus Human Reason

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Economic Rationality versus Human Reason .' , in Economics as a Moral Science, eds. Peter Rona, and Laszlo Zsolnai, Springer, 2017. (This book may be available at: Springer)

First the paper analyses the rationality assumptions of mainstream economics and shows that they are empirically misleading and normatively inadequate. It argues that the world ruled by self-interest based rationality of economic actors leads to ’unreason’ from a wider ecological and human perspective. The paper illuminates that human reason requires a different way of economic functioning which implies a redefinition of the final goal economizing.

It is argued that the main goal of economic activities should not be profit-making but providing right livelihood for people. Amartya Sen suggests that economic reason can be understood as reasonableness of preferences, choices and actions. Reason requires that economic activities are achieved in ecological, future-respecting and pro-social ways. Intrinsically motivated economic agents who balance their attention and concerns across diverse value-dimensions are able to do this and show the viability of true economic reason under the circumstances of present day “rationally foolish” economic world.

Agenda for Future Research and Action

Peter Rona, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'Agenda for Future Research and Action.' , in Economics as a Moral Science, eds. Peter Rona, and Laszlo Zsolnai, Springer, 2017. (This book may be available at: Springer)

This paper is about the restoration of economics as a moral science. It is argued that economics, unlike the natural sciences, does not have an ontologically objective subject, because economic life, unlike matter, is the product of human intentionality. Economic phenomena are always necessarily incommensurate because they occur in historical time and space.

People make their economic decisions by employing practical knowledge (or wisdom). Practical knowledge is the human capacity for the reflective and critical  evaluation of our reasons for action. It is the totality of our capacities – including feelings, tastes,  experience, impulses and rational reasoning – ordered and filtered to critically evaluate  sources of our lives we engage and deploy in making decisions. Accordingly, economics is a form of practical knowledge or reason.

Gift and gratuitousness are basic facts of human life. Persons, communities and organizations are endowed with natural, social, cultural and spiritual wealth as free gift. In their economic functioning they should acknowledge, preserve and enrich their material and non-material heritage. The adequate response to gratuitous giving is gratefulness and generosity toward those who provided the gift.  

Spirituality-inspired Creativity in Business

Laszlo Zsolnai, & Katalin Illes 'Spirituality-inspired Creativity in Business.' International Journal of Social Economics, 2017, vol.44, no. 2, pp. 195-205

The paper investigates the relation of spirituality and creativity in business context. It  presents practical examples of spiritual-based creative business models in different faith traditions (Hinduism, Christianity and Anthroposophy).  The authors argue that spirituality and a deep sense of connectedness are essential to enhance creativity and care in business. Spirituality creates free space and openness to allow the future to emerge organically. It creates a distance between the self and the pressures of the market and the routines of business and daily life. This distance is a necessary condition for developing creative, ethical and responsible solutions to the complex challenges around us.

The Effect of the Belief in Free Market Ideology on Redressing Corporate Injustice

Peter Kardos, Bernhard Leidner, Laszlo Zsolnai, & Emanuele Castano 'The Effect of the Belief in Free Market Ideology on Redressing Corporate Injustice.' European Journal of Social Psychology, 2016

Many people in the major Western economies (e.g., United States, UK, and Germany) subscribe to free market ideology (FMI),which claims that institutional oversight of the market is unnecessary for public reaction can force corporations to regulate their own behavior. The question then becomes how people’s belief in FMI affects their reactions to corporate transgressions. Given its ingroup-centered values, we hypothesized that FMI beliefs would bias reactions to corporate transgressions. We report results of a pilot study showing that FMI beliefs are predicted by selfishness, tradition, conformity, and lack of universalism. We then report three experiments, which showed that stronger FMI beliefs predict weaker demands to redress corporate injustices committed by ingroup (but not outgroup) corporations (Studies 1–3), especially when victims of corporate wrongdoings belong to an outgroup (rather than the ingroup; Study 3). The findings inform our conceptual understanding of FMI and give insights about its implications for market justice.

Buddhism and Economic Development

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Buddhism and Economic Development.' , in Teaching Buddhism, eds. Todd Lewis, and Gary DeAngelis, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2016.

Buddhist Economics is not the same as Economics of Buddhism. The former is a modern discourse that utilizes elements of Buddhist thought to construct an alternative model of the economy and the latter is a study of how Buddhists organize their econimic life in real-world social settings, past or present. Buddhist Economics is essentially a normative enterprise while Economics of Buddhism is a descriptive endeavor.