14th Annual Conference of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Sofia, 7-8 October 2011
Edited By George Chobanov and Jürgen Plöhn
JOACHIM SCHWALBACH: SUSTAINABILITY: WHY THE HONOURABLE MERCHANT WINS IN THE END
SUSTAINABILITY: WHY THE HONOURABLE MERCHANT WINS IN THE END JOACHIM SCHWALBACH (HUMBOLDT-UNIVERSITY, BERLIN, GERMANY) Disregarding “The General Principle of the Honourable Merchant” (GPHM) is one of the major reasons for the recent financial crisis. In this context, for example, one may well call the investment adviser and former non- executive chairman of the NASDAQ stock market, Bernhard L. Madoff, a prototype of a dishonourable merchant (“It’s all a big lie”). However, one must concede that his misconduct has only become possible through lax control by the auditors and the supervisory authorities as well as through the greed of the small and big investors for higher returns irre- spective of the risks. Although the reasons for the financial crisis are manifold, the misconduct of the actors has primarily something to do with their individual nature rather than the institutions. In this respect, returning to the GPHM seems to be imperative. The GPHM defines criteria of character and culture. Their compliance acts as harmoniser for the acting of entrepreneurs and society. You can trace this concept back to medieval Italy. As early as 1340, Italian mer- chants’ books talk about the “true and honest merchant”. In Germany, the rise of the Hanse is inseparably linked with the image of the Honour- able Merchant. The loose league of towns that was the Hanse could only achieve the magnitude that determined history through mutual tolerance and virtuous behaviour of its members. In this sense, the GPHM de- scribes a life philosophy whose realisation lets...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.