Nature, Society and Future Generations

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Nature, Society and Future Generations.' , in Business, Globalization and the Common Good, eds. Henri-Claude de Bettignies, and Francois Lépinueux, Peter Lang, Oxford - Bern - Berlin- Bruxelles - Frankfurt am Main - New York - Wien, 2009. (This book may be available at: Amazon)

Today's business has a major impact on society and the natural environment. It considerably affects the fate and survival of natural ecosystems and the life conditions of present and future generations. Applying the imperative of responsibility developed by Hans Jonas, we can say that business has a one way, non-reciprocal duty: to care for the beings which are under the impacts of its functioning.

Buddhist Economics for Business

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Buddhist Economics for Business.' , in Ethical Prospects, eds. Laszlo Zsolnai, Zsolt Boda, and Laszlo Fekete, Springer, 2009. (This book may be available at: Amazon)

The paper explores Buddhist economics for transforming business toward a more ecological and human form. Buddhist economics is centered on want negation and purification of the human character. It challenges the basic principles of Western economics, (i) profit-maximization, (ii) cultivating desires, (iii) introducing markets, (iv) instrumental use of the world, and (v) self-interest based ethics. Buddhist economics proposes alternative principles such as (I) minimize suffering, (II) simplifying desires, (III) non-violence, (IV) genuine care, and (V) generosity.

Why Frugality?

Luk Bouckaert, Hendrik Opdebeeck, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'Why Frugality?' , in Frugality: Rebalancing Material and Spiritual Values in Economic Life, eds. Luk Bouckaert, Herndrick Opdebeeck, and Laszlo Zsolnai, Peter Lang, Oxford, 2008. (This book may be available at: Amazon)

The present unsustainable lifestyle of mankind requires drastic changes. Western-style consumer capitalism has failed. It has resulted in global climate change, dramatic ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. Also, it has caused massive unhappiness and emptiness in rich countries and social disintegration worldwide. The interests of nature, society and future generations require a considerable reduction of material throughput of the economy and a reorientation of our economic activities. This could become possible by employing a more spiritual approach to life and the economy.The rational case for frugality is a limited one.

Responsible Business Conduct: Establishing Harmony among Ethical, Business and Societal Values

Laszlo Fekete, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'Responsible Business Conduct: Establishing Harmony among Ethical, Business and Societal Values.' , in Freedom and Responsibilities in China: Governments, Corporations, and Civil Cociety Organizations, ed. G.J. Rossouw, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Shanghai, 2008.

The recent years the fast growing Chinese economy produced serious imbalances between the urban and the rural populations, as well as between society and nature. Achieving a socially and ecologically balanced economic development path is badly needed in the China. 

The paper presents an operationalised model for responsible business conduct. The starting point is Kenneth E. Goodpaster's conception of moral responsibility. In the proposed model decision alternatives are simultaneously evaluated from different value perspectives. Responsible business conduct is defined as finding the least worst alternative in the multidimensional decision space of deontological, goal-achievement, and stakeholder values. In this way harmony among ethical values, business values and societal values can be established.

Law and Business Ethics Research Intiative

Daniel Deak, & Laszlo Zsolnai 'Law and Business Ethics Research Intiative.' Business Ethics: A European Review, 2008, vol.17, no. 1, pp. 108-109

There are growing ethical, social, and environmental problems one can experience in the current corporate world. The deepening crisis of the legitimacy of corporate functioning requires particular attention that need be paid to legal issues. For this reason, the Business Ethics Center of the Corvinus University of Budapest is launching a Law & Business Ethics Research Initiative to gather the representatives of business ethics, on the one hand, and legal scholars and practitioners, on the other one, with a view to mobilizing legal instruments.

Business, Ethics, and Spirituality: Europe-Asia Views

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Business, Ethics, and Spirituality: Europe-Asia Views.' Business Ethics: A European Review, 2007, vol.16, no. 1, pp. 87-92

There is no inherent conflict between spirituality and business in the major Eastern and Western traditions. In the Hindu tradition, material accomplishments provide a strong and stable foundation in personal and organizational life while spiritual wisdom charges business with a higher purpose. The Christian tradition requires a three-dimensional goal-portfolio in which humans measure themselves on three layers: material (financial), intellectual and spiritual. Here, the stakeholder list becomes full: we not only care about and support our own employees and their environment.

Why Ethics Needs Spirituality?

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Why Ethics Needs Spirituality?' , in Spirituality as a Public Good, eds. Luk Bouckaert, and Laszlo Zsolnai, Grant, Antwerpen-Apeldoom, 2007. (This book may be available at: Maklu)

Ethics needs spirituality as an underlying background and as a major motivational force. However, we should not cultivate spirituality in order to improve the ethicality of our actions. Spirituality is a value in itself, is a major gift in our life. It is a positive by-product of spirituality that it can provide us with high-level ethical motivation. But if spirituality is used instrumentally then its value will be lost and the consequences will be destructive.

Extended Stakeholder Theory

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Extended Stakeholder Theory.' Society and Business Review, 2006, vol.1, no. 1, pp. 37-44

The paper proposes a normative reinterpretation of the stakeholder concept. It argues that all stakeholders are morally considerable, and only those parties are stakeholders, which are morally considerable. Business organizations affect the fate and survival of natural ecosystems and the life conditions of present and future generations thus nature, society and future generations should be included among the stakeholders of business.

Ethical Decision Making

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Ethical Decision Making.' , in Interdisciplinary Yearbook of Business Ethics, ed. Laszlo Zsolnai, Peter Lang, Oxford - Bern - Berlin - Bruxelles - Frankfurt am Main - New York - Wien, 2006. (This book may be available at: Amazon)

The self-centeredness of modern organizations leads to environmental destruction and human deprivation. The principle of responsibility developed by Hans Jonas requires caring for the beings affected by our decisions and actions. Ethical decision making creates a synthesis of reverence for ethical norms, rationality in goal achievement, and respect for the stakeholders. The maximin rule selects the “least worst alternative” in the multidimensional decision space of deontological, goal-achievement and stakeholder values. The ethical decision maker can be characterized as having the ability to take multiple perspectives and make appropriate balances across diverse value dimensions.

Competitiveness and Corporate Social Responsibility

Laszlo Zsolnai 'Competitiveness and Corporate Social Responsibility.' CSR Papers, Eni Enrico Mattei Foundation, Milano. , 2006, pp. 1-14

The paper addresses the problem of the relationship between competitiveness and CSR, and analyses the reasons why the opportunistic use of CSR is counter-productive. It attempts to establish how ethical behaviour can survive in highly competitive markets, and tries to find the new meaning of competitiveness in the light of CSR. The final section of the paper describes how a number of progressive, socially responsible firms have prospered in competitive environments by forming commitments among owners, managers and employees and by establishing trust relationships with customers and subcontractors.