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Article

Sally Riad

In the last few years, signs of material excess by organizational and political leaders have often evoked public outcry. The paper aims to argue that there is insight to…

Abstract

Purpose

In the last few years, signs of material excess by organizational and political leaders have often evoked public outcry. The paper aims to argue that there is insight to be gleaned from drawing together strands from the leadership literature with the literatures on moral economy and conspicuous consumption. The premise is that views of leader conspicuous consumption are shaped by their moral economy, the interplay between moral attitudes and economic activities. The paper seeks to juxtapose tales of Cleopatra and Antony's display of wealth with current media accounts to contribute to the leadership literature on ethics, specifically its intersection with power and narrative representation.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts an analytic approach, with an international orientation and an interdisciplinary perspective. It acknowledges the role of narrative representation in shaping leadership and the psychological ambivalence with which societies approach their leaders' practices, focus here on desire-disdain and discipline-decadence. Cleopatra and Antony's conspicuous consumption generated a legacy of condemnation for millennia. Drawing from the retellings of their story, four moralizing representations – by Plutarch, Shakespeare, Sarah Fielding and Hollywood – are analyzed and juxtaposed with current media accounts. Altogether, the paper combines the interest in leadership across history with moralizing perspectives on the display of wealth by leaders.

Findings

The intersection of the literatures on leadership, moral economy and conspicuous consumption draws together several dynamics of relevance to leadership. First, evaluations of the display of wealth on the part of a leader are contextual: they change across time and place. Second, interpretations of conspicuous consumption involve aesthetic judgment and so sit at the nexus of morality and taste. Third, following tragedies, tales of leader conspicuous consumption offer critics another knife to dig into the fallen tragic hero. Fourth, views of conspicuous consumption are gendered. Last, conspicuous consumption by leaders attracts condemnation through support for social responsibility and sustainability.

Originality/value

The paper establishes a novel articulation between the literatures on leadership, moral economy and conspicuous consumption.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

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Article

John Conway O'Brien

A collection of essays by a social economist seeking to balanceeconomics as a science of means with the values deemed necessary toman′s finding the good life and society…

Abstract

A collection of essays by a social economist seeking to balance economics as a science of means with the values deemed necessary to man′s finding the good life and society enduring as a civilized instrumentality. Looks for authority to great men of the past and to today′s moral philosopher: man is an ethical animal. The 13 essays are: 1. Evolutionary Economics: The End of It All? which challenges the view that Darwinism destroyed belief in a universe of purpose and design; 2. Schmoller′s Political Economy: Its Psychic, Moral and Legal Foundations, which centres on the belief that time‐honoured ethical values prevail in an economy formed by ties of common sentiment, ideas, customs and laws; 3. Adam Smith by Gustav von Schmoller – Schmoller rejects Smith′s natural law and sees him as simply spreading the message of Calvinism; 4. Pierre‐Joseph Proudhon, Socialist – Karl Marx, Communist: A Comparison; 5. Marxism and the Instauration of Man, which raises the question for Marx: is the flowering of the new man in Communist society the ultimate end to the dialectical movement of history?; 6. Ethical Progress and Economic Growth in Western Civilization; 7. Ethical Principles in American Society: An Appraisal; 8. The Ugent Need for a Consensus on Moral Values, which focuses on the real dangers inherent in there being no consensus on moral values; 9. Human Resources and the Good Society – man is not to be treated as an economic resource; man′s moral and material wellbeing is the goal; 10. The Social Economist on the Modern Dilemma: Ethical Dwarfs and Nuclear Giants, which argues that it is imperative to distinguish good from evil and to act accordingly: existentialism, situation ethics and evolutionary ethics savour of nihilism; 11. Ethical Principles: The Economist′s Quandary, which is the difficulty of balancing the claims of disinterested science and of the urge to better the human condition; 12. The Role of Government in the Advancement of Cultural Values, which discusses censorship and the funding of art against the background of the US Helms Amendment; 13. Man at the Crossroads draws earlier themes together; the author makes the case for rejecting determinism and the “operant conditioning” of the Skinner school in favour of the moral progress of autonomous man through adherence to traditional ethical values.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 19 no. 3/4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Book part

Philip Balsiger and Simone Schiller-Merkens

Moral struggles in and around markets abound in contemporary societies where markets have become the dominant form of economic coordination. Reviewing research on morality…

Abstract

Moral struggles in and around markets abound in contemporary societies where markets have become the dominant form of economic coordination. Reviewing research on morality and markets across disciplinary boundaries, this introductory essay suggests that a moral turn can currently be observed in scholarship, and draws a direct connection to recent developments in the sociology of morality. The authors introduce the chapters in the present volume “The Contested Moralities of Markets.” In doing so, the authors distinguish three types of moral struggles in and around markets: struggles around morally contested markets where the exchange of certain goods on markets is contested; struggles within organizations that are related to an organization’s embeddedness in complex institutional environments with competing logics and orders of worth; and moral struggles in markets where moral justifications are mobilized by a variety of field members who act as moral entrepreneurs in their striving for moralizing the economy. Finally, the authors highlight three properties of moral struggles in contemporary markets: They (1) arise over different objects, (2) constitute political struggles, and (3) are related to two broader social processes: market moralization and market expansion. The introduction concludes by discussing some of the theoretical approaches that allow particular insights into struggles over morality in markets. Collectively, the contributions in this volume advance our current understanding of the contested moralities of markets by highlighting the sources, processes, and outcomes of moral struggles in and around markets, both through tracing the creation, reproduction, and change of underlying moral orders and through reflecting the status and power differentials, alliances, and political strategies as well as the general cultural, social, and political contexts in which the struggles unfold.

Details

The Contested Moralities of Markets
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-120-9

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Article

“Communism has never concealed the fact that it rejects all absolute concepts of morality. It scoffs at any consideration of “good” and “evil” as indisputable categories…

Abstract

“Communism has never concealed the fact that it rejects all absolute concepts of morality. It scoffs at any consideration of “good” and “evil” as indisputable categories. Communism considers morality to be relative, to be a class matter… It has infected the whole world with the belief in the relativity of good and evil.” Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, Warning to the West, 1975.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Article

Philip Whitehead and Paul Crawshaw

This article aims to critically explore current forms of neoliberalism and their impact upon the moral economy. The authors examine how the dominant neoliberal political…

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to critically explore current forms of neoliberalism and their impact upon the moral economy. The authors examine how the dominant neoliberal political economy impacts upon three overlapping registers: individual subjectivity, national reconstructions and organizational transformations. These three registers are fashioned by, and subsequently help to reproduce, the contours of the prevailing politico-economic system. The market-driven ethic of neoliberalism, however, is diametrically opposed to that of a moral economy concerned with universalism and equality in meeting human need.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual theoretical piece.

Findings

The result is that the latter have been replaced by competitive individualism as societies reconstruct themselves in the image of the market place. This profound cultural shift is well known, but in this article, the authors will claim that it has in turn had a profound impact upon individual subjectivities and the key institutions and organisations that have long formed the basis of the Western social democratic consensus.

Originality/value

It is original because it theorises the impact of neoliberalism on organisations.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 34 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article

James B. Sauer

Understanding the differences in the Islamic and Christian view of interest requires coming to terms not with the acts constitutive of the practice but the meaning of the…

Abstract

Understanding the differences in the Islamic and Christian view of interest requires coming to terms not with the acts constitutive of the practice but the meaning of the practice in two different views of what an economy produces and delivers. The difference in the norms that govern interest transactions differ because the metaphysical foundations about what the practice means differ. The Islamic norms are broader via public accountability for the good produced by an economy as a social good than the normative regulation of interest transactions in Christian cultures that focuses on the goods delivered by an economy to more or less independent individuals participating in an economy. However, some reconciliation of the Christian and Islamic view is possible when we recognize that the ethical accountability of interest rests on a view of economic justice as increasing the degree of economic participation in an economy as an economic and social good. When this view is taken, we see that the range of potentially illicit practices in Christian economies is larger than is actually the case in the actual regulation of interest transactions.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 29 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Article

Zhiqiang Li and Qinqin Zheng

This paper aims to examine how firms respond to societal moral degradation in a transition economy from the corporate social responsibility (CSR) perspective.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine how firms respond to societal moral degradation in a transition economy from the corporate social responsibility (CSR) perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a survey of 302 firms operating in China and using hierarchical regression, this study explores the effect of societal moral degradation on firm CSR implementation.

Findings

The study finds that the amount of CSR performed by firms in a transition market will reduce when they face increased moral degradation in the business field. The authors also find that CSR philanthropy is more significantly deterred by societal moral degradation than CSR sustainability.

Practical implications

These findings reveal that firms conducting CSR initiatives need to strategically consider the great influence of environment. Meanwhile, strategic CSR decisions should be fully aware of the different characters of different CSR forms.

Originality/value

This paper draws on the strategic choice theory and contributes to understanding of the influence of specific environmental factors in transition economies on CSR implementation. Based on two main categories of CSR, this study develops a framework that explores how firms choose different CSR forms when they encounter severe moral degradation in business sector.

Details

Chinese Management Studies, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-614X

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Article

Lilliemay Cheung and Janet R. McColl-Kennedy

The purpose of this paper is to introduce a transformative service logic-based framework designed to help researchers and practitioners better understand resource…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce a transformative service logic-based framework designed to help researchers and practitioners better understand resource integration in liminal periods.

Design/methodology/approach

Using netnography, we show how consumers across four countries integrate resources, adopting different value creation practices following natural disasters.

Findings

The authors’ novel framework extends current conceptualizations of social and economic exchange. Following a natural disaster, a state of ‘liminality’ occurs when the market economy is temporarily displaced by the moral economy, transitioning to a new transformative service logic.

Research limitations/implications

Important implications for theory and practice are discussed.

Originality/value

This research proposes an organizing framework comparing the market economy logic and moral economy logic with the new transformative service logic.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 29 no. 6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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Article

James E. Alvey

Mainstream economists now consider their discipline to be a technical one that is free from ethical concerns. I argue that this view only arose in the twentieth century…

Abstract

Mainstream economists now consider their discipline to be a technical one that is free from ethical concerns. I argue that this view only arose in the twentieth century. In this paper I set out a brief history of economics as a moral science. First, I sketch the evolution of economics before Adam Smith, showing that it was generally (with the exception of the mercantilists) conceived of as a part of moral philosophy. Second, I present elements of the new interpretation of Smith, which show him as a developer of economics as a moral science. Third, I show that even after Smith, up to the beginning of the twentieth century, a number of leading economic theorists envisioned economics as a moral science, either in theory or in practice. Fourth, I sketch the decline of economics as a moral science. The key factor was the emergence and influence of positivism. Overall, I show that the current view of the detachment of economics from morals is alien to much of the history of the discipline.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 27 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

Content available
Article

Haithem Kader

This study argues that in order to address the problems associated with the modern market economy at their core, such as persistent poverty, growing inequality and…

Abstract

Purpose

This study argues that in order to address the problems associated with the modern market economy at their core, such as persistent poverty, growing inequality and environmental degradation, it is imperative to re-assess the well-being and moral philosophy underpinning economic thinking. The author attempts to offer a preliminary way forward with reference to the Islamic intellectual tradition.

Design/methodology/approach

This study employs content analysis of classical and contemporary Islamic texts on human well-being and economic ethics to derive a conceptual well-being model. The paper is structured in four sections: section one provides an overview of relevant secondary literature on moral economic approaches; section two outlines the main well-being frameworks; section three discusses the concept of human well-being in Islam informed by the Islamic worldview of tawḥīd, the Islamic philosophy of sa'ādah, and the higher objectives of Islamic Law (maqāsid al-Sharīʿah); and finally, section four discusses policy implications and next steps forward.

Findings

A conceptual model of human well-being from an Islamic perspective is developed by integrating philosophical insights of happiness (sa'ādah) with an objective list of five essential goods: religion (Dīn), self (Nafs), intellect ('Aql), progeny (Nasl) and wealth (Māl) that correspond to spiritual, physical and psychological, intellectual, familial and social, and material well-being, respectively.

Research limitations/implications

Further research is needed to translate this conceptual model into a composite well-being index to inform policy and practice.

Practical implications

This model can be used to review the performance of the Islamic finance sector, not solely in terms of growth and profitability, but in terms of realising human necessities, needs and refinements. It can also provide the basis for the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) countries to jointly develop a well-being index to guide national and regional co-operation. More generally, this study highlights the need for research in Islamic economics to be more firmly rooted within Islamic ontology and epistemology, while simultaneously engaging in productive dialogue with other moral schools of economic thought to offer practical solutions to contemporary challenges.

Originality/value

This study offers three aspects of originality. First, by outlining well-being frameworks, it highlights key differences between the utilitarian understanding of well-being underpinning modern economic theory and virtue-based understandings, such as the Aristotelian, Christian and Islamic approaches. Second, it provides a well-being model from an Islamic perspective by integrating the Islamic worldview of tawḥīd, the Islamic philosophy of sa'ādah, and the higher objectives of Islamic Law (maqāsid al-Sharīʿah). Third, it proposes an ethical framework for informing economic policy and practice.

Details

Islamic Economic Studies, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1319-1616

Keywords

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