Articles & Blogs on Virtues & Vices

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Enligthened Capitalism, Conscious Leadership and Virtue Ethics; Four Recent Books

The conviction that leaders and their companies can perform well by doing what is good or right has been on the rise again in the past decade, according to Martijn Hendriks in a recent overviewof scientific literature on this topic [in Dutch, unfortunately]. This increased attention has also resulted in the appearance of various books for a larger audience. In this article, four recent books are discussed and compared.

Sin and Vice Do not Belong in the GDP

“On a larger scale, international standards of measurement help economists develop monetary policy, make economic forecasts, and monitor growth. But greed, fraud, and theft can easily find their way into financial transactions. That is why economics must be subject to those higher normative sciences like ethics that regulate all human behavior.”

Do Traditional Compliance Efforts Weaken Workers’ Moral Motivation?

“How can organizations actualize their employees’ ethical potential? It’s a question Carsten Tams has been tossing around recently. In his time helping companies with organizational design and cultural change, among other things, he’s come to believe that, in the right environment, people are quite capable, even eager, to conform with and uphold ethical norms. Behavioral science, specifically motivational science, offers valuable insights for how to harness employees’ best intentions.”

The Driving Force of Free Markets Is Empathy, not Greed

“are greed and unbridled selfishness really the driving forces of capitalism? Human self-interest is one—not the only—driving force of all human action. But this has nothing to do with a particular economic system. Rather, it is an anthropological constant. In capitalism, however, this self-interest is curbed by the fact that only the entrepreneur who prioritizes other people’s needs can be successful.”

Article written by the author of the book The Power of Capitalism; A Journey through Recent History across Five Continents (2018)

Greed vs. Self-Interest: Toward Markets Driven by Love

“‘When you see the greed and the concentration of power, did you ever have a moment of doubt about capitalism and whether greed is a good idea to run on?’ That question was famously asked by Phil Donahue to economist Milton Friedman in a popular exchange from 1979. If you’re a defender of free markets, it’s a question you’ve surely wrestled with. Friedman’s response is characteristically insightful and straightforward, and was recently captured in a short animated film from PolicyEd”

Making Empathy Central to Your Company Culture

“In Tim Cook’s 2017 MIT commencement address, he warned graduates, “People will try to convince you that you should keep empathy out of your career. Don’t accept this false premise.” The Apple CEO is not alone in recognizing and emphasizing the importance of empathy — the ability to share and understand others’ emotions — at work. At the time of his remarks, 20% of U.S. employers offered empathy training for managers. In a recent survey of 150 CEOs, over 80% recognized empathy as key to success.”

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