This book is a fundamental and unique masterpiece which reflects the discussions on business and economic ethics over decades in German-speaking countries, and does so by systematically developing an Ethics of Economic Systems from a Christian-theological perspective with a firm foundation in the western philosophical and economic literature. Neither in German-speaking nor English-speaking regions has this complex theme been dealt with in such a comprehensive and thorough manner.
Ethics is a matter of doing justice to the human without twisting the facts and ignoring the constraints. The study introduces seven criteria of human justice, that fundamentally relate to the Christian revelation and, at the same time, establish a humanistic and universal approach.
Subsequently it focuses on the concrete economic systems and their problems. It describes and analyses various models of market and centrally-planned economies, and evaluates them in the light of middle-level principles, which are informed by both ethical criteria and economic knowledge. Thus the most legitimate economic system is the one which offers the most potential for reforms and self-critique. The merits of this approach are considerable: if the system of the market economy has the advantage of being thoroughly reformable, it also requires regulations which are equitable and responsible. In this view, one better understands the inescapable failure of Marxism but also the ethical ramifications of savage deregulations.
Arthur Rich (1910-1992) was Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of the Institute of Social Ethics at the University of Zürich, Switzerland. He worked in the field of business and economic ethics for nearly 40 years.
Georges Enderle is Arthur and Mary O'Neil Professor of International Business Ethics at the Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame (Indiana, USA), and President of the International Society of Business, Economics, and Ethics (2001-2004), which organizes the ISBEE World Congress of Business and Economic Ethics every four years.