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A Global Ethic in an Age of Globalization

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 January 2015

Abstract:

Starting from the four theses that globalization is unavoidable, ambivalent, incalculable, and can be controlled rationally, ethics has an indispensable and important role to play in the process of globalization. Indeed, a number of international documents published in the 1990s not only acknowledge human rights but also speak explicitly of human responsibilities. The author pleads for the primacy of ethics over politics and economics and, in reviewing both the Interfaith Declaration for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and the Caux Roundtable Principles for Business Conduct, he raises the question about the foundation for the unconditional validity of particular basic ethical values and attitudes. In Küng’s view, no universal ethic, but only religion, expressed by the three prophetic religions, the mystical religions of Indian origin, and the wisdom religions of Chinese origin, can provide this foundation. Yet, religion as a spiritual resource intends to influence concrete behavior and decision making. Therefore, the author stresses the importance of a personality culture for business executives and an “ethic of responsibility” to shape business culture and institutions. He then proposes the Declaration of the Parliament of the World’s Religions Toward a Global Ethic as a basis to develop a business ethics that can be supported by believers and non- believers alike.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Business Ethics 1997

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References

Notes

1 Interview in Der Spiegel 24, 1996, “Ich bin kein Spieler.” Super-Spekulant George Soros über Milliardengier und seine Angst vor einem Crash des Weltfinanzsytems.

2 Our Global Neighbourhood, The Report of the Commission on Global Governance, Oxford 1995.

3 Ibid., 46.

4 Ibid., 47.

5 Ibid., 47.

6 Ibid., 49.

7 Ibid., 49.

8 Ibid., 55f.

9 Ibid., 55.

10 Ibid., 55.

11 Ibid., 56.

12 Ibid., 56.

13 Ibid., 56.

14 Ibid., 57.

15 Report of the World Commission on Culture and Development, Our Creative Diversity, Paris 1995.

16 Ibid., 34.

17 Ibid., 36.

18 InterAction Council, In Search of Global Ethical Standards, 1996, no.2.

19 Ibid., no.2.

20 Ibid., no.9.

21 Ibid., no.8.

22 Ibid., no.9.

23 Ibid., no.10.

24 Ibid., no.11.

25 Ibid., no.12.

26 Ibid., no.13.

27 An Interfaith Declaration. A Code of Ethics on International Business for Christians, Muslims and Jews, London 1993.

28 Caux Round Table, Principles for Business, The Hague 1994. Preparation for this was in the hands of the Minnesota Center for Corporate Responsibility, Minneapolis, USA.

29 Ibid., 3f.

30 Ibid., 2.

31 An Interfaith Declaration (n.27), 11ff.

32 Principles for Business (n.28), 4.

33 Ibid., 5.

34 Cf. H. Küng, Global Responsibility, London and New York 1991.

35 M.Weber, ‘Politik als Beruf,’ in Gesammelte politische Schriften, Tübingen 1958, 505–60: 559.

36 Cf. H. Küng and K. J. Kuschel (eds.), A Global Ethic. The Declaration of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, London and New York 1993.

37 Ibid., 26–29.

30
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