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Über dieses Buch

It was at the fifth SEEP-Conference on Economic Ethics and philosophy in autumn 1997 that the organizational work of the seventh conference in 1999 was entrusted to the editors of this volume. Prof. Peter Koslowski, series editor of The Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy, SEEP, expressed the hope that the SEEP-Conference be held in the Far-East for the fist time would bring a new comparative aspect to economic ethics and philosophy. Further, the agenda of economic ethics seemed to increase its significance also in Japan and other Asian countries especially due to the spread of corruption in the government and business under the financial crisis that attacked these nations in the late 1990s. Though we chose "Com­ petition, Trust, and Cooperation" as the general theme of the conference, this should include the collusion, distrust, and corruption as the opposite side of the medal. The conference was held on March 10-12, 1999 at the Kansai Seminar House of the Nippon Christian Academy, Kyoto, Japan. Fourteen papers were submitted to the conference. In addition to twelve papers that are printed in this volume, Prof. Ruisheng Wang (Capital Normal University, Beijing) read his paper on ethical problems in the context of Asian financial crisis and Prof. Agnar Sandmo (Norwegian School of Economics and Busi­ ness Administration) did the same by his paper on societal aspect of the competition promotion policy.



Basic Considerations


Chapter 1. Trust as a Virtue

This paper addresses the nature and significance of trust in terms of ethics generally and economic ethics in particular. The concept of trust between human beings, often used loosely and imprecisely, has not occupied a crucial place in philosophy and social science.1 To provide a perspective in which trust can properly be treated, I first outline a few of the more prominent issues raised by the resurgence of virtue ethics in recent decades. Since, in my view, trust is best regarded as a kind of virtue, the approach of virtue ethics should be clarified at the outset. Furthermore, I compare virtue ethics and contractarian ethics with special reference to the views of Alasdair Maclntyre and John Rawls respectively and consider the relationship between virtue and right, the basic concepts of the two theories. This leads me to the meaning of trust and its relevance to the concept of community, a central notion of communitarianism that is a modern version of virtue ethics. Next, I examine the positive and negative aspects of competition as an ideal type in economics and political philosophy with regard to trust. Lastly, I examine the relationship between trust and community from the viewpoints of the institutional evolution thesis of Coase-Hayek and of the moral development thesis of Kohlberg-Piaget-Rawls in order to determine the locus of trust in economic ethics.
Yuichi Shionoya

Chapter 2. Trust and Sympathy in the Social and Market Order

A series of radical political changes in East-European nations after the fall of the Berlin Wall renewed the discussion of the concept of ‘ civil society’. Around the same time in Asia, headed by South Korea and Taiwan, the movement toward democracy formed a wave overturning or transforming authoritarian governments. The march of liberal democracy was accompanied by the promise of prosperity under the capitalist market economy. Francis Fukuyama declared the final victory of liberal democracy and predicted a new era dominated by the ‘ last man’ that is rational as well as apathetic in everything.1
Kiichiro Yagi

Chapter 3. Evaluating Trust, Competition and Cooperation

My allotted task here is to question whether the relatively abstract, philosophically-oriented social theory systematised as critical realism can have anything to say about the (relative or absolute) desirability of the social processes of trust, competition and cooperation. This question, however, is sub-ordinate to the broader and prior matter of whether realist social theory can have anything legitimate to say at all concerning matters of ethics. Reason for doubt stems from the recognition that broadly philosophy-of-science projects or perspectives do not connect directly to substantive claims or concrete policy orientations. This applies to the perspective systematised as critical realism as much as any other; substantive claims and policy stances do not warrant being identified as critical realist theories or policies. In particular, movement from a philosophical position to any political stance necessitates the supplementation of the former with empirical claims.
Tony Lawson

Chapter 4. Ethics in Exchange and Reciprocity

Economic scholarship possesses a tradition that spans more than two centuries. Throughout this long history, and indeed still today, there have coexisted distinctly differing views on the essential meaning of the word ‘ economic’ There is what can be considered the formal meaning - “scarce”, and what can be called the substantive meaning — “reproductive” (Menger 1923, ch. 4; Leontief 1928; Polanyi 1957, 1971, 1977). The economizing, or formal, meaning of ‘ economic’, as clearly defined by Robbins (1932), stems from the scarcity of economic resources in the formatively rational relations of ends and means. By contrast, the technical, or Substantive, meaning of ‘ economic’, as Menger in his last days endeavored to depict, and Polanyi subsequently rediscovered1, focuses on the reproductive properties of human economy arising from the metabolic interactions between humans and natural environments which occur under particular social institutions. It is this latter meaning of ‘ economic’ that is of concern to classical economists such as Smith, Ricardo and Marx in their studies on economic societies.
Makoto Nishibe

Historical and Comparative Perspectives


Chapter 5. Contemporary Relevance of the Idea of ‘Sympathy’ in Adam Smith

This paper studies Adam Smith’s moral theory of sympathy and considers its relevance and feasibility in our modern, multicultural, mass society.
Hideo Tanaka

Chapter 6. Trust and Cooperation in German Romanticism: Adam Müller’s Position in the History of Socio-Economic Thought

Historicism, institutionalism, new institutional economics and communitarianism argue against the classical and neoclassical economics idea that man is a calculator of pleasures and pains, and which seeks to explain economic relations as if they were a mere aggregation of such men. Conversely, they assert that men behave and act according to traditions and habits which take root in their social lives, that social institutions in the broad sense - including social norms - exist in relation to traditions and habits, and that we should explain socio-economic relations paying attention to these points.1
Tetsushi Harada

Chapter 7. Evolution, Competition, and Cooperation from a Socio-Philosophical Viewpoint

During the last decade, the term evolution began to spread rapidly into the world of economics. Especially here in Japan, the new stream of “evolutionary economics” becomes increasingly trendy replacing formalistic, static neoclassical economics as well as dogmatic, obsolete Marxian economics, which had been dividing up the academic world for such long time1. It seems, however, there is no consensus among economists about the exact meaning of evolution, except that it refers to change in or development of the economic process in terms of selection, fitness, adaptation, mutation, and so on. In my view, the ambiguity of the concept is inevitable, since is not always semantically univocal even among biologists, as, for example, the controversy between R. Dawkins and S. J. Gould shows. In field of social philosophy, my area of specialization, the situation created by the use of this term is far more complicated, because the questions raised not only touch upon epistemological aspects, but also ethical ones as well. What kinds of social policy should be adopted in view of evolutionary economics? How does this concept relate to other important concepts, such as competition, corporation, or monopoly? In order to discuss these questions in a broad manner, I would like to begin this paper by reviewing the controversies that ranged from the last half of the 19th to the early 20th century, when the concept of social evolution first emerged and entailed serious issues, along with aporias, about the relationship between the nature of evolution and social policy both in Europe and East Asia, focusing particularly on China and Japan. Next, I will survey the new situation that has arisen since in the 1970’s, where new biological-oriented social theories began to appear in the Anglo-American world and in Japan. In conclusion, I would like to point out that in spite of epistemological discontinuity between these two periods, the aporias regarding the relationship between social evolution and social ethics still remains unsettled, and in order to reflect on these aporias, we have to go beyond evolutionary social science and to an ethico-philosopical way of thinking.
Naoshi Yamawaki

Chapter 8. The Pitfall of Modern Japan

Nishida Kitaro (1870–1945), who founded modern philosophy in Japan, in his work The Forms of Culture of the Classical Periods of East and West Seen from a Metaphysical Perspective stated:
What, then, were the differences in the forms of culture of East and West as seen from a metaphysical perspective? I think that we can distinguish the West as having considered “being” as the basis of reality, while the East has taken “nothingness” as its basis1.
Shiro Kohsaka

Chapter 9. Confucianism in the Context of Economic Crisis in Korea

In a fairy tale, magic turns a frog into a prince. In Korea, the financial crisis turned a tiger into a toad. Korea’s economy came to be derided as crony capitalism, and moral hazards became a hallmark of its business practices. Once proud and boastful, Koreans have suffered a crushing humiliation and are trying to change their modus operandi that foundered to the glee of their foreign competitors. As usual in this country, the government takes lead to change the structure of economy. State-guided neoliberalist reform not only sounds like an oxymoron but also is creating new problems. Nevertheless, Korea must take that course, since opening itself to the world is no longer a matter of option, and yet business corporations are dragging their feet in making changes. In the long run, the present crisis may turn out to be the best thing that could happen to Korea, not because the efforts to overcome it promise any future prosperity, but because past practices simply can no longer hold water. In any case, neo-liberalist reforms alone will not resolve the deeper crisis of culture and value that has been the outcome of Korea’s state-guided capitalism. Korea must find within its older and more durable traditions a discipline to overcome its present crisis, and beyond that, build itself to take its appropriate place within the larger world order.
Sangki Kim, Bong Joon Yoon

Modern Economic and Political Issues


Chapter 10. The Shareholder Value Principle and the Purpose of the Firm

The question whether the maximization of shareholder value is the criterion for the working of a firm has become one of the major topics of the discussion in economic science. In July 1998, the German president, Roman Herzog, contended that “it is not acceptable that the price of the shares of a firm rises with the number of employees laid off”1, and admonished German business firms thereby not to maximize the shareholder value only but to look at the purpose of the firm in a broader perspective. On the other hand, there is the Neo-classical theory of the firm contending that the firm works best when it fulfils the task of maximizing the shareholder value only. According to the financial theory of the firm, the firm is a union of investments the return on which it must maximize.
Peter Koslowski

Chapter 11. (Un)ethical Behavior in Business: A Reward-Punishment Probability Framework

The recent inquiry of business ethics can be traced to the early 1960s, following the recovery of capitalism after World War II. Ethical issues related to business in the realm of fair wages, labor practices, consumers’ rights, and morality of capitalism were mainly focused at that time. Consumerism movement in America during the 1960s ushered a new dialogue in business ethics. It asked the business to look at the consumer and the society and be ethical in their conducts. Environment also became an issue. Various laws were passed in America to protect the rights of the consumers and to protect the environment. Business became more concerned about its image in the society and corporate social responsibility was emphasized. About this time, business ethics gained recognition in the academia and professors entered the arena, applying ethical theory and philosophical analysis to structure the discipline of business ethics. By the end of 1970s, issues like bribery, deceptive advertising, price collusion, product safety, environmental damage were debated both in business and in the academia. Limited efforts were also made to describe how ethical decision making worked and what factors influenced such decision making. In the 1980s, business ethics was acknowledged as a field of study in many business schools and Business Ethics was taught as a course in different business programs. Prominent companies established separate departments to handle the ethical conduct of business and corporate social responsibility issues. Self-regulation rather than regulation by the government was emphasized.
A. N. M. Waheeduzzaman

Chapter 12. Redistribution and Recognition: Normative Theories and the Political Economy of Welfare States

The politics of difference is full of denunciations of discrimination and refusals of second-class citizenship. (Taylor 1994, p. 39)
Toru Yamamori


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