The ‘Sharing Economy’ Simply Dresses up Our Consumerist Tendencies in a More Palatable Ideology

“This shift to peer-to-peer transactions is often portrayed as an antidote to the consumer culture of modern society because it supports sharing instead of ownership. But have sharing platforms simply created a new form of capitalism? Research suggests that rather than transforming us, the sharing economy simply repackages our same old consumerist impulses in a more appealing message.”

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Vice or Virtue? Commercial Politeness according to Eighteenth-Century Thinkers

Commercial society as we know it today first arose in the eighteenth century. ‘Politeness’ was a buzzword in the fierce debate that was held on the newly arisen society’s moral (de)merits. Rousseau and Ferguson asked challenging questions about the conditions of political liberty, and the difficulty of, and potential limits to establishing a sincere, meaningful cosmopolitan moral culture. These questions still demand our attention, says Rudmer Bijlsma.

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Making Kindness a Core Tenet of Your Company

“Almost every leader I know wants his or her colleagues to go above and beyond normal standards of service, to impress customers with their kindness. Many of these leaders also believe that achieving this goal is largely a matter of policies and procedures — kindness as a directive. Actually, the way to unleash kindness in your organization is to treat it like a contagion, and to create the conditions under which everybody catches it.”

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The Virtues of the Market: Wilhelm Röpke as a Cultural Economist

“Röpke’s work from the 1940’s onwards is an attempt to provide a unified analysis of the crisis of his times, among other things by figuring out the way in which culture, society, market and state relate to one another. […] This primacy of the cultural is also evident in Röpke’s view of the market. What he liked most about the market economy was, surprisingly, not its material effects but instead the bourgeois ethic that was intimately tied up with it.” More info on Röpke’s book “A Human Economy; The Social Framework of the Free Market” (1960).

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Are Some Cultures Less Trusting Than Others?

“Nobel laureate Kenneth Arrow once described trust as a ‘lubricant of a social system’. Economic exchange, in particular, is virtually impossible without at least some level of trust. […] Trust can affect people’s ways of communicating, their workplace etiquette and their organisational hierarchies, all of which may constitute important stumbling blocks in international collaborations. And so to ensure success of global trade, we need to understand and make allowances for cultural differences in trust. In our latest research, we set out to do just that.”

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There’s No Shame in Being Materialistic – It Could Benefit Society

“Materialism gets a bad press. There is an assumption that people who prioritise “things” are inherently selfish. The stereotype is that of highly materialistic people, living in a different world, where their priority is cash, possessions and status. But is the stereotype true? Our research reveals there are two sides to this story.”

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The Psychological Mechanisms behind the Workings of the Invisible Hand

Part 3 of 4 in series "'Good Markets' book interviews"

What economist and business ethicist Johan Graafland likes about The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) by philosopher and economist Adam Smith, is that it displays an enormous understanding of human nature and that he makes you reconsider your point of view times and again. A book interview.

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