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Beyond Self

Ethical and Spiritual Dimensions of Economics

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Laszlo Zsolnai

This book addresses ethical and spiritual issues in economics. The central idea advanced in the book is that the extreme focus on the self by economic actors leads to the destruction of both material and non-material values.
The assumptions of self-interest in behavior represent the core of mainstream economics today. From this perspective, the welfare of economic agents depends on their own consumption; their goal is to maximize their own welfare; and their choice is guided by the pursuit of their own goals.
Throughout the book the author argues that self-interest-based actions and policies have a detrimental impact on nature, future generations, and society at large. If we want to survive and flourish in the material world we have to transcend the self and embrace wholeness. This value shift requires enormous changes in economics, politics and social life, but there may not be any other option in light of the current state of ecological degradation and human suffering.
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Chapter 3: Corporate Transgressions (co-authors: Albert Bandura and Gian-Vittorio Caprara)

1 When Corporations Break the Rules

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← 30 | 31 → CHAPTER 3

Corporate Transgressions*

Corporate transgression is a well-known phenomenon in today’s business world. Some corporations are involved in violations of law and moral rules that produce organizational practices and products that take a toll on the public.

Social cognitive theory of moral agency provides a conceptual framework for analyzing how otherwise pro-social managers adopt socially injurious corporate practices. This is achieved through selective disengagement of moral self-sanctions from transgressive conduct.

Moral disengagement practices can be recognized in cases of corporate transgressions. Business ethics is a major vehicle to counteract organizational use of moral disengagement strategies.

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