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Title: Revisiting business ethics in times of recession and fiscal crisis
Other Titles: Public life in Malta : essays on governance, politics and public affairs in the EU's smallest member state : Vol. 1 / 2
Authors: Warrington, Edward
Keywords: Recessions
Business ethics -- Malta
Wealth -- Moral and ethical aspects
Business cycles
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: University of Malta. Faculty of Economics, Management and Accountancy. Department of Public Policy
Citation: Warrington, E. (2012). Revisiting business ethics in times of recession and fiscal crisis. In M. T. Vassallo (Ed.), Public life in Malta : essays on governance, politics and public affairs in the EU's smallest member state : Vol. 1/2 (pp. 68-80). Msida: University of Malta.
Abstract: The ‘baby-boomers’, born in the two decades following the Second World War, were raised in circumstances of considerable economic security. Sheltered by the Welfare State, they benefited as of right from a wide range of public services funded out of general taxation and provided by governmental organisations. By the middle of the 1970s, however, for a variety of reasons, widespread discontent with the performance of government had set in. Affluent, ambitious and politically assertive, the baby-boomers looked to private enterprise for the generation of wealth and a general raising of public welfare. They advocated the adoption of business principles and methods in public management. Nearly three decades later, the promises of the Thatcherite Revolution, which emancipated private enterprise from state control, lie in ruins. The late Tony Judt offers a penetrating insight into this transition, its illusions and betrayals, in Ill Fares the Land (2010). Capitalism has been unmasked, revealing the awful face of an unrestrained lust for power and riches. Its features are strikingly similar to the face unmasked by socialism’s collapse at the end of the nineteen eighties, though capitalism generally seduces people with its promise of personal wealth and well-being, while socialism coerced them into submission. That said, capitalism is not above resorting to coercion, as revealed by the vigorous response of the forces of law and order to the disturbances triggered in Greece and elsewhere by the austerity programmes mandated by financial rescue packages, as well as the swift trial and sentencing of rioters in London and other British cities during the summer of 2011. This is therefore a propitious time to reflect about ‘business ethics’, with the world enmeshed in the coils of an economic crisis that is, in considerable measure, the consequence of business strategies and decisions that were professionally unsound, frequently illegal or nearly so, and morally reprehensible. This is not the place either for recrimination or for an inquiry into the causes of the present crisis. Rather, in a spirit of Christian hope, and utilising insights from political science, this essay explores certain questions of business ethics in Malta. It begins by introducing three familiar landscapes that speak eloquently about the place of business in Malta today, the ethical problems that are associated with it, and the systemic weaknesses which aggravate these problems. There is nothing fanciful in so doing: the link between landscapes and power structures is very well established (El-Eini, 2006).
ISBN: 9789995701680
Appears in Collections:Public life in Malta : essays on governance, politics and public affairs in the EU's smallest member state : Vol. 1 / 3

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