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Spirituality in Economics and Business

The paper “Spirituality in Economics and Business” by Luk Bouckaert and Laszlo Zsolnai was published in The Routledge International Handbook of Spirituality in Society and the Professions (edited by Laszlo Zsolnai and Bernadette Flanagan, 2019, New York, Routledge, pp. 241–250).

The paper argues that economics and business need a more spiritual foundation to solve their ethical, social and ecological problems. Spirituality as an inner experience of deep interconnectedness with all living beings opens a space of distance from the pressures of the market and the routines of business as usual. This distance seems to be a necessary condition for developing innovative ethical ideas and practices. It restores intrinsic motivation and provides a longer time horizon.

Unfortunately, spirituality is not yet a mainstream concept in the business world. In economics and business the instrumental and utilitarian rationality is still the dominant perspective, whereas spirituality is anchored in a deeper, non-instrumental and nonutilitarian experience of life. The authors believe that economics and business can be renewed and transformed into a progressive social institution if it enriches itself by taking spirituality seriously at the core of its activities.