Southern New Hampshire University
October 9, 2012
With the advance of knowledge, people's awareness of morality grows gradually. Since the last few centuries, with the society changes constantly, several issues such as moral economy, business ethics, and sustainable development, are derived by degrees and discussed increasingly. As the society is getting wealthier, the corporate social responsibility are not any more decided only by interests and profits in the economic dimension. In order to ensure the realization of sustainability, business, as a primary driver of economic development, must particularly focus on economic ethics and corporate social responsibility, and make efforts to establish the foundations for the community to further development via its own management ability.
Ethonomics, CSR, and Sustainability
Ethonomics is a term about combining ethics with economics. Ethics refers to the moral relationship between people and the regulation of the principles and norms that above moral relationships should follow. Ethonomics is an economics developed by means of moral education, and an economic behavior and economic effects reflected by moral qualities status of workers ("Moral Economics," n.d.). There should not be a gap between ethics and economics. People's economic behavior cannot get rid of the ethical constraints. The economic unethical behavior should be condemned if people harm the interests of others and society just for the simple pursuit of economic interests. Similarly, it should not be advocated if the moral behavior is uneconomic and results in the great squander of social resources. In order to achieve the unity of the people's behavior in both ethics and economics, it is necessary to make economic analyses on ethical issues and make ethical analyses on economic issues. This is a new field of research of ethics and economics named ethonomics.
A Professor of Philosophy of Management and Organization at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Peter Koslowski, points that the core issue of the interface between ethics and economics is: what is the rule-generalized economic validity? In other words, what extent of generalization should be pursued? Parking in Amsterdam, for instance, is very difficult. Too many city's navigation canals cause there is no enough space to let people park cars, and the municipal authorities developed very strict parking regulations and they are fairly rigidly enforced. Because of the stringent parking regulations and the high parking fee, many parking spaces are usually unused. As a result, under the strict conditions of universalization, the unused parking lots and a certain degree of inefficient predicament appeared (Koslowski, 2008, p. 46). This shows that from the point of view of ethical economy, the universalization and generalized enforcement do not carry out the essential of ethonomics, but lead itself to a dilemma results.
Ethonomics is a combination of the economical and ethical way of thinking. Koslowski claims that both of these methods must overcome their mutual distrust. Economics' disbelief of ethics is almost well known because it believes that ethics would interfere with its clarity and univocal character. In turn, ethics must overcome the doubts of economics that economics is a "dismal science" which attributed all to the scarcity and money (Koslowski, 2008, p. 39).
From the viewpoint of ethics as well as economics, one of the funders of the Chicago school of economics indicated that "the basic principle of science—truth or objectivity—is essentially a moral principle...... The presuppositions of objectivity are integrity, competence, humility...... All coercion is absolutely excluded in favor of free meeting of free minds" (Knight, 1982). Since there are rules in the world, principles in the society, and orders in the economy, then, the so-called "science", including "economic 'science' ",...