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1. Spiritual Goods: Faith Traditions and the Practice of Business: Spiritual Goods: Faith Traditions and the Practice of Business
George Brenkert Preface
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Islam
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Stanley S. Harakas An Eastern Orthodox Perspective on Economic Life, Property, Work, and Business Ethics
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Eastern Orthodox Christianity carries forward a moral tradition from the earliest Christian period, in the belief that scriptural and patristic teaching remains applicable to the contemporary economic sphere of life. The Church Fathers focused on the ownership of property and the ethical acquisition of wealth and its use; they stressed special concern for the poor and disadvantaged. Carried forward through the Byzantine and modern eras, these early Christian understandings now can be applied through a basic and elementary natural law morality to business activities. The Orthodox approach embodies traditional virtue and character ethics as well. The essay concludes by applying these Orthodox approaches to two current issues: the charging of interest and internet ethics.
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Protestantism: Baptists
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Darryl M. Trimiew, Michael Greene How We Got Over: The Moral Teachings of the African-American Church on Business Ethics
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An analysis of the business ethics of the African-American church during and after Reconstruction reveals that it is a conflicted ethic, oscillating between two poles. The first is the sacralization of the business ethic of Booker T. Washington, in which self-help endeavors that valorize American capitalism but are preferentially oriented to the African-American community are advanced as the best and only options for economic uplift. The second is the "Blackwater" tradition, which rejects any racial discrimination and insists upon social justice. The inability of the Washingtonian business ethic to address the needs of the Black underclass are explored. A new business ethic is called for, which would be committed to meeting the basic needs of the mostdisadvantaged members of American society and those of the "international poor."
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Shirley J. Roels The Business Ethics of Evangelicals
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Understanding the evangelical framework for business ethics is important, since business evangelicals are well positioned to exercise considerable future influence. This article develops the context for understanding evangelical business ethics by examining their history, theology, and culture. It then relates the findings to evangelical foundations for business ethics. The thesis is that business ethics, as practiced by those in the evangelical community, has developed inductively from a base of applied experience. As a result, emphases on piety, witnessing, tithing, and neighborliness, important foundations in the evangelical model for business ethics, have resulted in a multitude of applied ethical strategies. This operative ethics model is then evaluated, particularly in regarding to its limited focus on the fundamental purposes and structures of business. The article concludes with severalrecommended sources that can enrich the evangelical tradition of business ethics, suggesting many resources from the Reformed Christian tradition as well as other ideas from contemporary Protestant and Catholic thinkers.
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F. Neil Brady, Warner Woodworth A Mormon Perspective on Business and Economics
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This essay examines the doctrine, the history, and the current institutions of the Mormon Church as they relate to business and economic activity. The Mormon tradition emphasizes cornmunitarian principles such as economic cooperation and equality; these which conflict with modern values of wealth acquisition, competition, and individualism. While Mormon businesspeople typically have adopted these values and become integrated quite comfortably into mainstream American business life, many have resolved the conflict by using their business skills to promote more communitarian ideals throughout the world.
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Protestantism: Lutherans
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Buddhism
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Manuel Velasquez Catholic Natural Law and Business Ethics
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This article describes Catholic natural law tradition by examining its origins in the medieval penitentials, the papal decretals, the writings of Thomas Aquinas, and seventeenth-century casuistry. Catholic natural law emerges as a flexible ethic that conceives of human nature as rational and as oriented to certain basic goods that ought to be pursued and whose pursuit is made possible by the virtues. Four approaches to natural law that have evolved within the United States during the twentieth century are then identified, including the traditionalist, proportionalist, right reason, and historicist approaches. The normative implications of these approaches are discussed in relation to ethical issues in the tobacco industry, ITT under Geneen, the marketing of pharmaceuticals, affirmative action, and bribery. It is argued that Alasdair MacIntyre is correct in claiming that the natural law tradition issuperior to the liberal ethics of modern deontology and utilitarianism.
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Ronald M. Green Guiding Principles of Jewish Ethics
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This discussion develops six of the most important guiding principles of classical Jewish business ethics and illustrates their application to a complex recent case of product liability. These principles are: (1) the legitimacy of business activity and profit; (2) the divine origin and ordination of wealth (and hence the limits and obligations of human ownership); (3) the preeminent position in decision making given to the protection and preservation (sanctity) of human life; (4) the protection of consumers from commercial harm; (5) the avoidance of fraud and misrepresentation in sales transactions; and (6)the moral requirement to go beyond the letter of the law. Although these Talmudic principles are clearly obligatory only for "Torah-obedient" Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, many Jews share a sensibility informed by them. Non-Jews, too, may be instructed by Jewish teachings about business ethics.
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Catholicism
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Stewart W. Herman, Arthur Gross Schaefer Introduction
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This introduction a) presents organized religion as a source of "spiritual goods" and briefly summarizes each of the seventeen tradition-centeredarticles; b) explains why organized religion merits the attention of business ethics; c) categorizes the articles according to rubrics useful for teaching and research; d) further explains the value of these essays to academic researchers, business practitioners, and spiritual seekers.
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Protestantism: Mennonites
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Dennis P. McCann Catholic Social Teaching in an Era of Downsizing: A Resource for Business Ethics
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The paper attempts to provide a basis for exploring the continued relevance of Catholic social teaching to business ethics, by interpreting the historic development of a Catholic work ethic and the traditions of Catholic social teaching in light of contemporary discussions of economic globalization, notably those of Robert Reich and Peter Drucker. The paper argues that the Catholic work ethic and the Church's tradition of social teaching has evolved dynamically in response to the structural changes involved in the history of modern economic development, and thus is well poised to speak to the ethical challenges implicit in the advent of a knowledge-based society. In order to test this thesis, the author sketches an approach to the ethicalchallenge of corporate downsizing that he believes illustrates the continued relevance of Catholic social teaching to business ethics.
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Stewart W. Herman From the Truly Real to Spiritual Wisdom: Religious Perspectives on Business Practice
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This essay sketches a method for identifying the insights that diverse religious traditions offer to the field of business ethics. Each article in this volume asserts or assumes faith-based claims about what is "truly real" as the ground of moral aspiration and obligation. Four distinct kinds of claims yield four kinds of wisdom, that is, moral guidance for business practice. 1) In Judaism and Islam, scriptural commands, as interpreted authoritatively down through these traditions, yield precise methods for rendering specific moral judgments; in Roman Catholicism, similar guidance is provided through natural law. 2) In Buddhism, Judaism, and most of the surveyed Christian traditions, the values of compassion, love, and justice provide spiritual resources to counter pressures towards immoral behavior in business. 3) The African-American and Mennonite churches interpret their particular histories of oppression to offer distinctive models of fortitude and hope. 4) In Evangelical Calvinism, Mormonism, and Roman Catholic social teaching, convictions about God's redemptive and sanctifying activity offer a robust moral vision for successful striving.
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Contributors
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Abdulaziz Sachedina The Issue of Riba in Islamic Faith and Law
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With the growth of Muslim economies, both at the national and international levels, the issue of riba (interest, usury) poses great difficulties. The charging or receiving of riba has been forbidden in Islam, which presents a major problem to financial institutions that charge interest. Muslim legal scholars belonging to all schools of legal thought have reinterpreted scriptural sources to accommodate drastic economic changes; practical considerations have forced Muslim groups, both of Sunni and Shi'ite persuasion, to justify interest-based banking and other institutions of finance. As a matter of religion, the status of interest is far from resolved. However, within the legal tradition, there are ethical principles like maslahah (public good) and la darar wa la dirar (no harm, no harassment) that will determine the future direction of a Muslim search for a morally responsible economy.
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Elliot N. Dorff Judaism, Business, and Privacy
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This article first describes some of the chief contrasts between Judaism and American secularism in their underlying convictions about the business environment and the expectations that all involved in business can have of each other-namely, duties vs. rights, communitarianism vs. individualism, and ties to God and to the environment based on our inherent status as God's creatures rather than on our pragmatic choice. Conservative Judaism's methodology for plumbing the Jewish tradition for guidance is described and contrasted to those of Orthodox and Reform Judaism.One example of how Conservative Judaism can inform us on a current matter is developed at some length-namely, privacy in the workplace. That section discusses (1) the reasons for protecting privacy; (2) protection from intrusion, including employer spying; (3) protection from disclosure of that intended to remain private; (4) individualistic vs. communitarian approaches to grounding the concern for privacy; and (5) contemporary implications for insuring privacy in business.
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Judith White Interdependence: The Core of a Buddhist Perspective on Business Ethics
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This paper applies central concepts found in Buddhism--interdependence, small ego, karma, suffering from desire and aversion, and non-harming--to current issues in business ethics and social responsibility. Despite their contrast with Western ethical principles, these Buddhist concepts address ethical problems found in Western business practice: hyperindividualism, greed, exploitation, and deception. The key is finding a middle ground between East and West.