Given the recent financial meltdown and continuing economic problems the country and the world are facing, Rethinking Capitalism is particularly relevant. With the government having bailed out banks and other financial institutions as well as automobile companies, and anger over the compensation and severance packages provided to the managers of failed institutions in light of growing inequalities and continued high unemployment in American society, many are wondering if self-interest driven free-market capitalism is still viable. While there is some support for more active government regulation of financial and other institutions, there is also significant opposition to such an approach as new political movements gain strength. Are there other alternatives to create a more responsible capitalism that serves the entire society?
Rethinking Capitalism questions the individualistic assumptions of a capitalist society and offers a new way to understand capitalism that entails a new role for business based on community and responsibility. Using classical American Pragmatism as a philosophical framework for capitalism, Professor Buchholz analyzes the history of capitalistic thought and proposes that we recast management as a profession akin to law and medicine oriented toward serving the public rather than just maximization of shareholder wealth. Buchholz challenges the way we understand capitalism with its emphasis on the creation of economic wealth and growth to the exclusion of other important goals and champions a new approach to the creation of a more sustainable and responsible functioning of the capitalistic system, the corporate organization, and its management.
Acknowledgements. Introduction Part 1: The Problem with Contemporary Capitalism 1. Individualism and Rights: The Basis of the Problem 2. Social Responsibility 3. Stakeholder Theory 4. Public Policy 5. Ethics Part 2: A Theoretical Framework for New Directions in Capitalism 6. The Social Self and Community: The Foundation of the Framework 7. The Capitalist System 8. The Market System 9. The Natural Environment Part 3: Implications of the Framework for the Corporation 10. The Corporation and Community 11. Globalization 12. Science and Technology 13. Governance 14. Management. Selected Bibliography. Index
Business ethics is a site of contestation, both in theory and practice. For some it serves as a salve for the worst effects of capitalism, giving businesses the means self-regulate away from entrenched tendencies of malfeasance and exploitation. For others business ethics is a more personal matter, concerning the way that individuals can effectively wade through the moral quagmires that characterise so many dimensions of business life. Business ethics has also been conceived of as a fig leaf designed to allow business-as-usual to continue while covering over the less savoury practices so as to create an appearance of righteousness.
Across these and other approaches, what remains critical is to ensure that the ethics of business is the subject of incisive questioning, critical research, and diverse theoretical development. It is through such scholarly inquiry that the increasingly powerful purview of corporations and business activity can be interrogated, understood and, ultimately, reformulated. This series contributes to that goal by publishing the latest research and thinking across the broad terrain that characterised business ethics.
The series welcomes contributions in areas including: corporate social responsibility; critical approaches to business ethics; ethics and corporate governance; ethics and diversity; feminist ethics; globalization and business ethics; philosophical traditions of business ethics; postcolonialism and the ethics of business; production and supply chain ethics; resistance, political activism and ethics; sustainability, environmentalism and climate change; the ethics of corporate misconduct; the politics of business ethics; and worker’s rights.