Busienss ethics, Political science

Course date

6 July - 17 July, 1998
Application deadline
15 February, 1998
Course Director(s): 

Laszlo Zsolnai

Business Ethics Center, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
Course Faculty: 

Thomas Donaldson

Warthon School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States of America

Edward Freeman

Darden Business School, Virginia State University, Petersburg, United States of America

Wojcieh Gasparski

Polish Academy of Science, Warsaw, Poland

Peter Koslowski

Hannover Institute for Philosophy, Germany

Lubomir Mlcoch

Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

The Summer Course is focusing on the moral foundation of capitalism in the context of the late 20th century realities. The legitimacy of purely profit-seeking business activities has been questioned on various ground.

The stakeholder theory is central in examining the issue. The main message of the theory is that in corporate and public policy-making every individual, group or organisation, which can be affected by the policy, should be taken seriously. Not only the legitimate interests of the affected parties should be respected but also their moral rights. Corporate decision makers and public administrators have primary duties and obligations concerning the well-being of their stakeholders. Hence the ideal of Kantian capitalism emerges.

To discuss the moral foundation of capitalism is especially important in Central and Eastern Europe where the legitimacy of the market economy is weak and vulnerable. Privatisation and restitution schemes have presented difficult social and ethical issues. The trade-off between economic efficiency and social security produces hard choices for politicians and business managers day by day. The success of the economic transition in the region depends not only on material pay-offs for the people but also on the social and ethical acceptability of the transforming process.

The goal of the course is to get together leading scholars from the USA and Europe for providing a fair picture about the new directions of capitalism and its relevance and applicability in Central and Eastern Europe.

An Internet class will be organised for the course participants to explore opportunities in visiting web sites devoted to business ethics, social responsibility and business and society issues.