Goods That are Truly Good and Services that Truly Serve: Reflections on “Caritas in Veritate” [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 100 (S1):9-16 (2011)
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If we read the central message of Caritas in Veritate (CV) through the lens of contemporary business ethics—and the encyclical does seem to invite such a reading (CV 40–41, and 45–47)—there is first of all a diagnosis of a crisis. Then, we are offered a response to the diagnosis: charity in truth , “the principle around which the Church’s social doctrine turns, a principle that takes on practical form in the criteria that govern moral action .” (CV 6) In business ethics, the norms of personal and (especially) corporate responsibility are the natural correlates to “the criteria that govern moral action.” Using this as a point of departure, I propose to relate some recent scholarship in business ethics to the message of CV — with the suggestion that there is significant convergence. I argue, further, that the encyclical breaks new ground with its suggestion that, at the center of our moral thinking in business ethics lies a logic of contribution or gift. I discuss Benedict’s understanding of the crisis, and his exhortation to reach beyond conventional interpretations of corporate responsibility, under the following four headings: Diagnosing a Crisis , Institutionalizing Conscience , A Tripartite View of Corporate Responsibility, and Comprehensive Moral Thinking



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Kenneth E. Goodpaster
University of St. Thomas, Minnesota

References found in this work

Corporate responsibility and its constituents.Kenneth E. Goodpaster - 2010 - In George G. Brenkert & Tom L. Beauchamp (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Business Ethics. Oxford University Press.
Business ethics: Two moral provisos.Kenneth Goodpaster - 2010 - Business Ethics Quarterly 20 (4).

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