Business Ethics, Sharpened

By Leube, Kurt R. | Policy Review, June-July 2012 | Go to article overview

Business Ethics, Sharpened


Leube, Kurt R., Policy Review


HARDY BOUILLON. Business Ethics ant the Austrian Tradition in Economics. ROUTLEDGE. 192 PAGES. $60,000.

IT IS SOMEWHAT unfortunate that the English title of this book does not immediately attract the interest of the large readership it definitely deserves. Hardy Bouillon's Business Ethics and the Austrian Tradition in Economics is a hugely rewarding read and arguably ranks among the most important contributions to the field of business ethics in recent years. It is demanding, and a long overdue and serious challenge to a subject that not only suffers from the slippery vagueness of its customary terminology but is also still firmly in the grip of self-appointed ethicists and moralists. Apparently a deliberate ambiguity and the prevailing zeitgeist pay off politically as well as in academic circles. The book was originally published in German as volume IX of the ECAEF book series "Studien zur Wirtschafts- and Gesellschaftsor-dnung" and is now available in this splendid translation. Bouillon is one of Germany's leading social philosophers and currently professor of philosophy at the University of Trier (an old, midsized town in the triangle of France, Luxembourg, and Germany). He also serves as director for institutional research at the University, Vienna, and as academic deputy director for the New Direction Foundation, a new think tank based in Brussels. His numerous books and essays have been translated into several languages, including Chinese.

This book is not politically correct and thus will almost certainly provoke some heated debates. In the course of four chapters, with short concluding remarks in the fifth, Bouillon offers here quite a few original insights and explanations to the understanding of business ethics and its decisive central part, namely the definition of a morally just economic action.

After all, can such vaguely defined slogans as "corporate social responsibility," the ubiquitous word "sustain-ability," or the equally insuppressible phrase "social justice" really provide for a productive discussion in business ethics? Unlike the majority of authors in the field, Bouillon takes a firm stand and confronts the current semantic and

HARDY BOUILLN. Business Ethics and the Austrian Tradition in Economics. 192. PAGES. $60.00. intellectual confusion by contesting the most decisive part of business ethics: justice in moral economic actions. He leaves no doubt that business ethics as an academic discipline presents itself mostly as politically biased and only on rare occasions as a science grounded in logic following clear definitions.

Thus, through detailed examinations of the basic assumptions of the body of current business ethics, right from the start Bouillon unrelentingly points out the various shortcomings within the subject, which are due to the sloppy and unconvincing language used by most contemporary ethicists. The philosophically untrained reader will be grateful not only for Bouillon's gentle and clear step by step introduction to the world of precise philosophic thinking but also his reminder of the implication compliance rule, which is increasingly ignored. According to this principle, a logical conclusion may never have an implication that is not already implied in the subject. Or as he puts it: "a logical conclusion may not smuggle in new information and claim validity at the same time." This is especially important for his discussion of the distinction between the empirical and normative aspects of business ethics. In order to follow his arguments it is also important to understand his newly introduced term "methodological individualist ethics," which he describes as an ethics that corresponds with one of the main methodological pillars of the Austrian School of economics, namely its methodological individualism (a term coined in 1908 by Joseph A. Schumpeter). Unlike established business ethics, which asserts that there is a moral connection within enterprises, or nations, or any other entity, Bouillon argues that only human beings and their deeds can be categorized as moral.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Business Ethics, Sharpened
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.