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Globethics.net Newsletter n° 5

May 2010

In this issue

Editorial by Christoph Stückelberger

Euro-Collapse or Sufficiency Economy?

“Economic war” is a term often used these days to describe the turbulences around the Euro. The governments of the Euro-zone, in their hectic, never seen night negotiations of Sunday 9 May 2010, agreed a 750 Billion Euro (!) emergency guarantee and aid package to stabilize the Euro against speculation, activated by the deep economic crisis in Greece, Portugal, Spain and other European countries. Martial terms have been used by politicians: the economic war against the fall of the Euro was compared with military wars against dictatorship.

This very threatening crisis is a chance to learn three lessons:
First: Since I worked for development cooperation in the 80th and 90th we lobbied for debt relief, insolvency right for states, taxation of speculative transactions and carbon tax – for Africa, Asia and Latin America. It was hard to make progress even though some successes e.g. in creative dept cancellation have been possible. Now, these days, in the true sense “over night” of the 9th to the 10th of May, all these terms are back – for the European economy! The IMF is back – to support the European economy, transaction tax is on the agenda and never seen stabilization package was agreed over night, insolvency right for states is on the agenda. The Governments showed that a decisive joint action is possible in times of immediate threat. From the perspective of global ethics we have to remind governments that such decisive actions must also be possible for the common threats for humanity such as climate change. If 750 Billion Euros to stabilize the Euro (even if a greater part of it is “only” in form of guarantees”) can be mobilized, similar mobilization is necessary for the “climate war” far beyond the few billion Euros which were contributed towards climate mitigation in Copenhagen last December!

Second lesson: We live beyond our means. We? People and states in North America, especially in the United States, people and states in Europe, not only in Southern Europe such as Greece - and people and States in Asia are developing in the same direction with regards to living beyond their means. State indebtedness on the back of future generations, corruption in government administration, private and other sectors are an expression of it. The bill of the environmental degradation and the bill of the 750 Billion Euro package will be paid by future generations – if we don’t change. The global map has to be redesigned. The distinction between North and South, between developed, developing and emerging countries is no more adequate. The new global mapping has to distinguish between countries and economies - on all continents - which are sustainable and transparent or unsustainable and corrupt, which live within their means or beyond their means.

Third lesson: The economy of greed and private wealth maximization has to be replaced by a sufficiency economy for the common good with sustainable wealth optimization. On 8 June, I moderate a Globethics.net panel on Sufficiency Economy at an international conference in California. The Buddhist, the Islamic and the Christian visions of a sufficiency economy are presented and discussed. I know that we have many experts in ethics, economics, politics, religion, culture, education and media in the Globethics.net network who can contribute to develop and concretize such a new, sustainable model of a global ethical economy. The Globethics.net online workgroup with this title (in formation) is one platform for it. Let’s work on it globally and in our respective context.

Christoph Stueckelberger, Director and Founder of Globethics.net

The Globethics.net Library

Open access journals have been updated!

The Globethics.net library endeavors to offer you open access journals in full-text. To make this possible all the bibliographical information has to be entered manually (=submitted and reviewed) in the database, which represents a lot of work. Fortunately Globethics.net can count on the very helpful assistance of external teams of submitters and reviewers: Heléne and Helena Coetzee from South Africa have been collaborating with Globethics.net since January 2010 and Joseph Deveraj and Arun Wesley from India begin their collaboration this May. Rev. Rajendra Mekala has also joined the Globethics.net team in Geneva as intern to participate in this collective effort.

Globethics.net can also count on committed open access journal editors who are keen on distributing their articles to the Globethics.net participants and who update their data themselves. Globethics.net is very thankful for these collaborative and ongoing efforts and is pleased to announce that the following open access journals have recently been updated:
 

Globethics.net invites the participants to consult these journals as often as the commercial journals. Open access publishing for journals is a very important action in addressing the information gap between North and South and it is a trend that needs to be encouraged by usage and citations.

If you wish to help Globethics.net in its efforts, it is easy: it can be done either by submitting documents (if you wish to help please contact our librarian Amélie at vallotton@globethics.net) or by announcing new titles of open access journals that you know from your country (provided that they are relevant for ethics). 

 

Research

Report: Globethics.net International Conference on Global and Contextual Business Ethics, 25-27 April 2010, Mysore, India


1 Setting the context
From 25-27 April Globethics.net and the prominent Indian Institute of Management Bangalore IIMB held an International Conference on “Global and Contextual Business Ethics” in Mysore India. The main objective of this conference was to present – for the first time in history - the results of the first “Global Survey on Business Ethics in the field of Training, Teaching and Research” which has been conducted by Globethics.net in the last two years. A further objective was to discuss the results of the survey and their relevance in the further development of Business Ethics in India. Prof. Vasanthi Srinivasan, Chairperson of the Centre of Corporate Governance and Citizenship of IIMB, along with Dr. Christoph Stückelberger, Founder and Director of Globethics.net had invited over 60 Indian academics and business practitioners in this field and 20 international guests. The entire conference was hosted by Mr Shibulal, COO of Infosys Technologies and also member of the Globethics.net Board of Foundation.

Various top level speakers had been invited to share their experiences and views on CSR and Business Ethics in India such as Mr. R. Bandyopadhyay, Secretary, Government of India, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, who emphasized the need for a dynamic balance between the enlightened regulations of government and the voluntary actions of business. He spoke on the recent voluntary guidelines that the Government had introduced on Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility. The Conference host Mr. S.D. Shibulal spoke about business ethics in institution building and the Infosys journey from a small company into an institution, through the maturing of Corporate Governance Principles and a well-articulated value system. (For more information on the detailed conference programme and the speakers see the page on our website dedicated to the conference.)
 
The presentation of eight regional reports of the global survey was seen as one of the highlights of the conference. The regional coordinators who had been collecting the data for the last two years presented their results for the very first time and then engaged in discussions with participants during the group work sessions which followed their presentations. Thanks to modern technology the regional coordinator for Latin America, Prof. Alvaro Pezoa Bissieres, was able to present his results via video conference. (More information on the regional reports below.)

A further highlight of the conference was the ‘Idea Café’, which was an informal brainstorming session between delegates and participants with the view to create a Business Ethics Legacy Sheet that would help shape future agenda for Business Ethics in the field of Training, Teaching and Research.

Much appreciation was also found for the panel discussions on Business Ethics in India with very meaningful contributions from renowned personalities such as Mr. Dileep Ranjekar, CEO, Azim Premji Foundation, Mr. Prasad Chandran, Chairman and Managing Director, BASF India and Mr. Gopal Nair, Director, Capital Markets Division, Ministry of Finance Government of India, Mr. Kishor Chaukar-M.D. Tata Industries, Prof. P.D. Jose from IIM Bangalore and Ms. Meena Ranganathan, Director Community Services, GMR Varalakshmi Foundation.

2. A short overview of regional reports from the Global Survey in Business Ethics
The presentations of the regional reports can be found here. The regional coordinators covering all continents had all proceeded with the same methodology by addressing hundreds of institutions in their regions inviting them to hand in information on how Business Ethics is taught in their institution, on the terms used in the local language, the research which is undertaken, future projects that are planned related to Business Ethics etc. From these reports various points of emphasis could be detected:
 

  • The reports show an increase in teaching, training and research on Business Ethics especially in the global South
  • In the last few years the study of the macro level of Business Ethics has gained in importance: institutions tend to focus more on regulatory and systemic issues since the crisis.
  • In the majority of the regions the teaching of Business Ethics is still optional and should become mandatory
  • In research one can see a rise in the focus on governance, transparency and corruption issues
  • The terminology used in the various regions differs a lot and there are often different understandings of CSR and Business Ethics
  • In Asian countries the question of spirituality and Business Ethics tends to be more emphasized than in other world regions
  • Chinese institutions seem to have a more practical orientation
  • In Asia and Africa environment and CSR is specifically important.
     


3. Key recommendations of the conference
The second part of the conference was dedicated to the future of Business Ethics and CSR in India and further outcomes of the conference brought up some innovative and practically oriented steps for India.
 

  1. The conference participants called all Business Schools to teach Business Ethics as a compulsory subject.
  2. An Indian Network of Business Ethics will be set up in the near future 

     


4. Publication Outcomes of the Global Survey of Business Ethics in Teaching, Training and Research will be:
 

  1. A Global Report on Business Ethics as Field of Teaching, Training and Research published as a special issue of Journal of Business Ethics (2010)
  2. A Global Report on Business Ethics as Field of Teaching, Training and Research published in the Globethics.net book series (2011)
  3. Global Directory of Expertise in Business Ethics (online by Globethics.net)
  4. A Global Handbook of Research in Business Ethics (to be published by Edward Elgar Publishers in 2011)

 

News from the International Secretariat

Globethics.net 3rd Meeting of the Board of Foundation

The Globethics.net Board of Foundation met for the third time since its election end of 2008. All board members were present except for Ms Clotilde Fonseca who had just been nominated Minister for Science and Technology of the Government of Costa Rica. All Board Members were re-elected for the mandate 2011/2012. We thank them for their commitment!

The following persons constitute the Globethics.net Board of Foundation:

Mr. Walter Fust - President - Switzerland
Former Executive Director of Global Humanitarian Forum Geneva
Former Director of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC

Ms Clotilde Fonseca - Costa Rica
Minister of Science and Technology Goverment of Costa Rica

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Machasin - Indonesia
Director of Islamic Higher Education at the Directorate General of Islamic Education of Ministry of Religious Affairs of the government of Indonesia.

Prof. Dr. Parichart Suwanbubbha - Thailand
Assistant professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Mahidol University, Salaya, Nakornpathom, Thailand.
Vice director at the Mahidol Research Center for Peace Building

Prof. Dr. Heidi Hadsell - USA
President of Hartford Seminary. Professor of Ethics at Hartford Seminary

Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia - Switzerland/Kenya
General Secretary of World Council of Churches until 2009.

Mr. S.D. Shibulal - India
Co-founder, member of the Board and COO at Infosys Technologies Limited.

Jill Cousins - Netherlands
Programme Director of The European Library and Executive Director of the EDL Foundation

Find out more about the Board of Foundation here.
 

New: Annual Report 2009

Globethics.net has just published the Annual Report 2009 which can be found on our website or downloaded here.

In its short and attractive format the Globethics.net Annual Report gives an important insight into our projects of 2009, our developments, our new partners as well as detailed information on our accounts.

 

Pre-Announcement: Donation Button

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If you feel committed to what we do and want to support us financially, there will soon be an easy way to do so.

By the end of May you will find donation buttons on our website which enable you to donate the amount you choose in a fast and more importantly secure way. You can either donate to Globethics.net projects in general or support a specific project. It will take you only four steps to make a change and improve access to knowledge for everyone.

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News from participants

Call for contributions to Newsletter

The Globethics.net secretariat would like to extend its participatory values to the Newsletter. If you have an interesting contribution to make which is related to ethics, open access or any other topic related to Globethics.net please contact Natalie Emch emch@globethics.net.

You might also want to suggest a topic for a future Newsletter, all contributions are welcome!