Economic Ethics

  • The book collects and analyzes 11 exemplary cases of progressive business. Progressive business is understood as ecologically sustainable, future respecting and pro-social enterprise. The collected cases aim to show the best to be expected from business in the 21st century. Authors include Eleanor O'Higgins, Laszlo Zsolnai, Antonio Tencati, Knut Ims, Nel Hofstra, Luit Kloosterman and Michael Müller-Camen.




  • On May 4, 2017 Peter Rona and Laszlo Zsolnai presented their book on Economics as a Moral Science at Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford. The presentation was introduced by Richard Finn, OP, the Director of Las Casas Institute for Social Justice.

  • Economics as a Moral Science has been published by Springer. The book is an attempt to reclaim economics as a moral science. It argues that ethics is a relevant aspect of all levels of economic activity, from individual and organizational to societal and global. Taking ethical considerations into account is needed in explaining and predicting the behavior of economic agents as well as in evaluating and designing economic policies and mechanisms. The book employs the personalist approach that sees human persons with free will and conscience as the basic agents of economic life and defines human flourishing as the final end of economic activities.

  • The book contains selected papers presented at the international conference coorganized by the European  SPES Institute and IFIM Business School in Bangalore, India on January 9-10, 2014. Addressing issues of human values, ethics, spirituality and leadership in business the authors of this volume create a dialogue and interchange between Indian and European cultural traditions. Topics include spiritual orientations to business in Hindu, Buddhist and Christian traditions; the effect of spirituality upon contemporary leadership theories; sustainable business models in India and Europe and a comparison between Indian and European philosophies of leadership.
  • The Center for Ecological Economics and Ethics of the Bodo Graduate School of Business, University of Nordland organizes the 2016 Annual European SPES Conference in May 27-29, 2016, in Bodo, Norway. The topic of the conference is „Integral Ecology, Earth Spirituality and Economics”. Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato si’  (Praised Be: On the Care of Our Common Home)  is an excellent opportunity for building a conversation between science and spirituality on ecology and sustainable development.

  • Carlos Hoevel and Laszlo Zsolnai edited a special issues on Spirituality in Business in Spanish for the journal „Revista Cultura & Económica” Vol 32, No. 88. The volume contains the following papers:

    The Mission and Activities of the European SPES Institute

    Luk Bouckaert (Leuven): Spiritual Discernment in Decision-Making

    Hendrik Opdebeeck (Antwerp): Rediscovering the Personalist Philosophy of  Jacques Maritain

    Laszlo Zsolnai (Budapest): Spiritually Driven Entrepreneurship

    Henri-Claude de Bettignies (INSEAD): Can We Develop the Responsible Leaders We Need?

    Mike Thompson (London and Shanghai): Managers’ Self-understanding of Wisdom

  • In coopearation with the Gandhi Peace Foundation, the European SPES Institute and Binghamton University Manas Chatterji organized an international seminar on Gandhi, Spirituality and Corporate Social Responsibility in October 31, 2015 in New Delhi, India. The program of the workshop included the following presentations






    The “Virtues and Vices in Economics and Business” international workshop was organized by  the Centre for Economics and Ethics of the Catholic University of Leuven in cooperation with the European SPES Institute in June 19-20, 2015, Leuven, Belgium. Inspired by the spiritual humanism of the European personalist movement and applying the virtue ethics tradition participants seeked to develop new models for encouraging virtuous actions in business and  in economic policy.

  • With the help of Laszlo Zsolnai and the European SPES Institute an International Workshop on “Teleology and Reason in Economic and Social Affairs” was organized at the Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford, June 30 – July 1, 2014. The workshop explored Catholic Social Thinking for analysing pressing eco-nomic and financial problems of today. Inspired by the spiritual humanism of the European personalist movement and applying the analytical rigour of the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition the workshop aims to develop new models for business functioning and economic policy serving the spiritual and material flourishing of the human person.

  • Initiated by Laszlo Zsolnai and the European SPES Forum the Von Hügel Institute of the St. Edmund College, University of Cambridge organized an international workshop on „The Economic and Financial Crisis and the Human Person” on June 8-9, 2013 in Cambridge.

  • The centenary of E.F. Schumacher’s birth (1911-1977) offered an urgent opportunity to revisit his work and life. Against the background of the crisis at the beginning of this century, reconsidering Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful or frugality paradigm makes clear that advances in responsible economics continue to be a priority. This book contains the proceedings of the 2011 Annual Conference of the European SPES Forum on ‘Responsibility in Economics and Business: The Legacy of E.F. Schumacher’, which was organised in September 2011 by the Centre for Ethics of the University of Antwerp in collaboration with the Business Ethics Center of Budapest.

  • Walter Moss published an article "Is Consumer Capitalism Outdated?" in Los Angeles based LA Progressive which analyses and connects Occupy Wall Street, Spirituality in Business, E.F. Schumacher's human scale economics, Steve Jobs' legacy and Laszlo Zsolnai's work on Buddhist Economics. He argues that perhaps the best we can do in our present period of malaise is to seek the truth and wisely attempt to bring our lives and societies more in keeping with it.

  • Together with the Center for Ethics of the University of Antwerp, the Business Ethics Center of Corvinus University of Budapest co-organized of the Annual Conference of the European SPES Forum entitled Responsibility in Economics —The Legacy of E.F. Schumacher from 22-23 September, 2011 in Antwerp, Belgium. A Charter of Human Responsibilities was launched by the Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation as a tool for dialogue. 

  • The book contains essays in honor of the 70th anniversary of K.U.Leuven professor Luk Bouckaert, co-founder of the European SPES forum, which aims to make spirituality accessible as a public good to as many people as possible. In the spirit of the European SPES forum, this volume covers issues of contemporary economics using a humanist perspective and discusses interrelated problems of business, ethics and society from spiritually based viewpoints. The authors argue for practicing economic wisdom in economic and social life.

  • The Palgrave Handbook of Spirituality and Business summarizes the most important issues, approaches and models in the field of spirituality in business, economics and society. It presents a comprehensive pluralistic view covering all the major religious and spiritual traditions. It is a response to three developments that challenge the business-as-usual mindset. Firstly, in response to a growing interest in spirituality applied to models of transformational leadership, in theories of social capital and in practices of values-driven management, it explores the emerging field of business spirituality—its main concepts, models and practices.

  • The book "Spirituality and Ethics in Management" is a collection of scholarly papers focusing on the role of spirituality and ethics in renewing the contemporary management praxis. The basic argument is that a more inclusive, holistic and peaceful approach to management is needed if business and political leaders are to uplift the environmentally degrading and socially disintegrating world of our age. The book uses diverse value-perspectives (Hindu, Catholic, Buddhist, and Humanist) and a variety of disciplines.

  • Business, Spirituality and the Common Good provides a robust and thorough look at the nature of business and spirituality and how they can reinforce each other for human flourishing and the common good of all. the book does not offer a one size fits all answer to complex questions, rather it provokes the reader to think deeply on these important issues. Contributors include Luk Bouckaert, Helen Alford, Mike J. Thompson, Sanjoy Mukharjee, Francois Lépineux, and Judy Neal.

  • The book "Business, Globalization and the Common Good" brings together contributions from various disciplines, written by scholars who are at the forefront of this debate. It provides multiple insights into a tripartite relationship: business, globalization and the common good. It helps explain why the business sphere will probably not be in a position to ignore the common good much longer, and why this latter concept, widely ignored in today's management realm, is likely to become part of tomorrow's corporate policies and practices in the global context.

  • The book "Frugality: Rebalancing Material and Spiritual Values in Economic Life" examines frugality as an ideal and an ‘art de vivre’ which implies a low level of material consumption and a simple lifestyle, to open the mind for spiritual goods as inner freedom, social peace and justice or the quest for God or ‘ultimate reality’. By rational choice we can develop a more frugal and sufficient way of life, but material temptations can always overwrite our ecological, social and ethical considerations. But the spiritual case for frugality is strong enough. Spiritually based frugal practices may lead to rational outcomes such as reducing ecological destruction, social disintegration and the exploitation of future generations.

  • Ethics needs spirituality as a driver to find its inner purpose and meaning. Selected papers from the foundational meeting of the European SPES Forum in Leuven (Belgium) in 2005, explore the fascinating relationship between spirituality, ethics and economics in the context of globalisation. The first part focuses on the emergence of spirituality within economics and business while the second part elaborates on the influence of globalisation on spirituality.

  • INSEAD organized an international workshop jointly with the European SPES Forum, focusing on the research project “Globalization and the Common Good” in September 17-18, 2006, in Fontainebleau, France. This workshop was hosted by Henri-Claude de Bettignies, the Aviva Chair Professor of Leadership and Responsibility at INSEAD.

  • The University Antwerp organized an international workshop jointly with the European SPES Forum focusing on the research project “Spirituality and the Economics of Frugality” in April 20-21, 2006 in Antwerp, Belgium. The workshop focused on the spiritual concept of frugality and its economic applicability in present day context. The intention was to create an overview of the different spiritual approaches to frugality in Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Islamic and Philosophical traditions. The general assumption is that, although frugality is contrary to consumerism and excessive economic growth, it is not contrary to rationality.

  • The second meeting of the European SPES Forum was held in 21-22 October, 2005 in Leuven, Belgium. The theme of the meeting was « Spirituality in the Context of Globalisation » Participants discussed the role of spirituality in the process of socio-economic globalisation.  Is it a motivational factor of resistance to globalism, as seems to be the case in the anti or alternative globalist movements? Or does spirituality, as a desire for universal brotherhood,  sustain the drive towards cosmopolitism, universal values, open communication and market systems?

  • The Founding Meeting of the European SPES Forum was held in October 22-23, 2004 in Leuven, Belgium. The aim of the meeting was to reflect on the meaning of spirituality as a public affair and to establsih a European network for Spirituality in Economic and Social life, called  the European SPES Forum (SPES is an acronym for SPirituality in Economy and Society). The program of the founding meeting included  the following presentations: « Spirituality as a public affair » (Luk Bouckaert, Leuven). « Spirituality and ethics » (Laszlo Zsolnai, Budapest).