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“Ethical Challenges of Business in the New Economy” CEMS Course

The Business Ethics Center organized a CEMS Blocked Seminar entitled “Ethical Challenges of Business in the New Economy” in 1-7 September, 2013 in Balatonszemes at the Lake Balaton.

Lake Balaton

The seminar was based on the book by the CEMS Business Ethics Faculty Group (Laszlo Zsolnai (Ed): Handbook of Business Ethics — Ethics in the New Economy, Oxford, Peter Lang, 2012). It addressed behavioral, organizational and institutional issues related to doing business in an ethical and socially responsible way.

The course advanced an approach which is contextual and agent-centered. In this view economic actions are jointly determined by the agents and the context in which they function. Agents and context evolve together, so if we want to change the ethicality of economic actions we should target both the ethical make-up of the agents and the rules and regularities of the context in which they play.

The program of the seminar included The Moral Economic Man and Corporate Transgressions by Laszlo Zsolnai, (Corvinus University of Budapest), Ethical Theory of the Firm by Aloy Soppe, (Erasmus University of Rotterdam), the Inside Job movie, by van Charles Ferguson, The Stakeholder Corporation by Eleanor O’Higgins (University College Dublin), Engaging in Progressive Entrepreneurship by Nel Hofstra (Erasmus University of Rotterdam), From Welfare to Well-Being and Happiness and Personal Responsibility and Ethical Action by Knut J. Ims (Norwegian School of Economics – Bergen), Fighting against Corruption by Miklós Ligeti, (Transparency International Hungary), Ecologically-oriented Enterprises in Hungary by András Ocsai (Corvinus University of Budapest) and International Ethics and Globalization by Zsolt Boda (Corvinus University of Budapest).

The main message of the seminar was that the moral foundation of capitalism should be reconsidered. Modern capitalism is disembedded from the social and cultural norms of society. Market fundamentalism — the belief that all kinds of values can be reduced to market values, and that the free market is the only efficient mechanism which can provide a rational allocation of resources — should be abandoned. The future of capitalism is highly dependent on its ability to adapt to the new reality of the 21st century.