Part [part not set] of 10 in series "TEDx Talks on the Ethics of Business & Economics"

(1) The End of Homo Economicus | Mieke Meurs | TEDxAUBG (2017)

According to economist Mieke Meurs “economists utterly fail to predict major recessions or even smaller economic events. This failure may be related to one key assumption central to most models–that people behave like ‘homo economicus,’ a hyper-rational, narrowly selfish economic man.” In this talk – see video on top of this post – she “highlights recent work in heterodox and feminist economics that suggests that this assumption is unfounded. People are not generally of the type ‘economicus,’ nor can they be generalized as ‘homo.’ Replacing the foundational assumption of ‘homo economicus’ with assumptions of ‘socialem personarum'(social persons) is essential if economists are to better predict economic and social outcomes.”

(2) The Economics of Good and Evil | Tomáš Sedláček | WORLD.MINDS (2012)

In this talk economist Tomáš Sedláček, author of The Economics of Good and Evil (2011), critically reflects on the role of growth in economics and our economies. He briefly touches on the sources of growth, its  relevance to market democracies, and  greed and consumption. His main point is that the fetishisation of growth has become a big problem. We thought we could control debt, he claims, but it turns out that it controls us. Not a TEDx talk, but a Worlds.Minds talk – which seems to be a similar format. Be patient, as it takes the speaker about 4 minutes to get to economics.

(3) The Economics of Happiness | Mark Anielski | TEDx St Albert (2011)

Just like Felber, economist Mark Anielski wants an economy that is based on something else than striving for growth, for which we need a new way to create balance sheets. For him, in our efforts to “measure what matters” happiness or well-being should be the key term. In this talk he discusses five “capitals of genuine wealth”: human capital, social capital, natural capital, built capital and financial capital. Anielski is the author of The Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth (2007) and, more recently, An Economy of Well-being; Common-Sense Tools for Building Genuine Wealth and Happiness (2018).


(4) What if the Common Good was the Goal of the Economy? | Christian Felber | TEDxVienna (2015)

For economist Christian Felber the means-end distinction is very important. Growth cannot be the goal of the economy, but what is then? He advocates a holistic approach to the economy, in which economics is connected to ethics, feelings, democracy and nature. Business should serve the common good, but unlike Adam Smith he does not believe that there exists an invisible hand that makes this a reality. Hence he has developed the ‘common good balance sheet’ that makes companies accountable. He also proposes to connect the score of companies to taxes, tariffs and other measures, so that prices of products will better reflect the degree to which they meet ethical standards. Last but not least, he briefly demonstrates a process of ‘sovereign democracy’ that, he feels, will help to realize an economy for the common good. You can read more about these ideas in Felbers book, Change Everything; Creating an Economy for the Common Good, first published in 2015 and thoroughly revised in2019.

(5) Why It’s Time for ‘Doughnut Economics’ | Kate Raworth | TEDxAthens (2014)

Economist Kate Raworth also envisions a different economy in her book Doughnut Economics; Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist (2017). In this talk she argues that standard macro-economic analysis has four fundamental flaws, namely that it does not acknowledge that:

  1. Our economy is deeply embedded in our natural environment;
  2. Not all work is paid, such as the work of care that many women do;
  3. People create a lot of value together that does not get monetized;
  4. Wealth is increasingly accumulating in the hands of a small elite.

What she is after, is an economy that remains between the environmental ceiling of human well-being and the minimum of meeting basic needs for everyone.

Series "TEDx Talks on the Ethics of Business & Economics":

Have you got 10 to 20 minutes left for a boost of knowledge or inspiration? Watch one of the TEDx talks that we selected for you in the area of ethics and business/economics. All videos in this series, filterable by topic, can also be found at

Articles in this series:
  1. Rethinking Economics; 5 TEDx Talks (and 4 Books)
  2. Fair Trade; 4 TEDx Talks
  3. Economic Growth; 4 TEDx Talks
  4. The Business Case for Sustainability; 4 TEDx Talks
  5. Conscious Capitalism; 4 TEDx Talks
  6. Ethical Consumerism; 4 TEDx Talks
  7. Purpose in Business; 3 TEDx Talks
  8. Business Ethics; 4 TEDx Talks
  9. Pro or Con Free Markets?; 4 TEDx Talks
  10. The Nature of Capitalism; 4 TEDx Talks