Karlo Marco C. Cleto
A Reaction to Michael Naughton's “The Ethical Executive”
Michael Naughton's “The Ethical Executive” is a brief discussion of the document “Vocation of a Business Leader”, which was first presented at the International Christian Union of Business Executives World Congress in France earlier this year. The Ethical Executive is a sort of introductory paper encouraging managers to study the aforementioned document, which advocates an approach to business that places a premium on and promotes environmental sustainability, social justice, and corporate citizenship, cooperation over competition, human dignity, and development over growth. The paper then calls on managers to revisit and embrace Catholic social teachings as the foundation for this new, better brand of business. Obviously, there is nothing disagreeable about the high level objectives of "Vocation of a Business Leader", nor with its recommendations with regard to how business ought to be conducted. I do agree (and I’m certain that many managers will say the same) that the aforementioned goals ought to be pursued and used as measures of business success in place of the pure money economy (business success = profits and growth) that has been the hallmark of the world's post-industrial history. Any reasonably critical person with her heart in the right place, including the staunchest proponents of scientific rationality and secularism, will almost certainly arrive at a similar set of broad objectives and recommendations. With all the social/economic/political/environmental oppressions that has sprung out of the last century’s unchecked money economy, the attainment of the ideals described in “Vocation” is at once noble and necessary. My concern however with this kind of discourse (i.e. framed in the particular rhetoric of a single religion— in this case, the Catholic faith) is that it is itself an exercise in social compartmentalization,...
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