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Блог Зиновія Свереди

NEW SPIRIT OF ETHICS AND ECONOMICS

26.01.2016, 22:46
ETHICS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO REBUILD REAL SENSE OF ECONOMICS

 

«The one that works with hands is a worker. 

The one that works with hands and head is a craftsman. 

The one that works with hands, head and heart is an artist». 

(St. Francis)

Throughout human history thinkers, philosophers and economists have sought to find the harmony between spiritual values ​​and ambitions of man,in his spiritual growth and pursuit of enrichment.Many figures generally rejected the notion of "ethics" in the economic human activities, while others insisted that humanity needs upbringing as well as ethical rules in the economy.

Observing recent crisis in the global economy,we have reason to recognize: one of the main reasons for this decline is the lack of ethical rules in relation to human rights, nature and economy. 

The issue of reform is very actual in the present,especially in Ukraine after the Revolutionof Dignity.

Ukrainian social and economic thought is very interesting and diverse.Despite the lack of independence through the agesUkrainian land brought many scientists, philosophers, thinkers and social leaders. However, the major drawback is that not only the international scientific community,however, the major drawback is that not only the global scientific community, but even Ukrainian people often do not know and do not admit their outstanding individuals – economists.Only occasionally we could hear some mentions of one or more of them.The reason is colonialism for centuries,which destroyed the elite and middle class of Ukrainian people, but also faith in their strength and creative spirit.Therefore, persons who rescued the Ukrainians for centuries and shaped their history (not subjected to the mainstream) are few known or unknown on the whole, since they were persecuted and often became a kind of "martyrs" for freedom of their people.

An interesting page in the history of Ukraine is the period from 1891 to 1939.This period historians call not just the development but revival. There was revival not only of culture, education and the economy, but, above all, creative spirit and freedom of the Ukrainian people. Many commercial, cooperative and agronomic schools in Western Ukraine were established.  Their activity helped the raise a generation of engineers, co-operators, agronomists and other activists. These leaders with daily sacrificial work for developing Ukrainian villages and towns, struggled with alcoholism, helped poor people and orphans. It was a glorious page in the history of our people. 

Their slogan was "To the good and beauty". High professionalism, integrity, honesty, selflessness, sacrifice and patriotism was the basis of ethics of their daily work.

In the period between 1921 and 1939 the leading figures from Ukraine had established Ukrainian Academy of Economic in Podebrady in the Czech Republic. This institution had brought up several generations of Ukrainian social economic leaders from across Ukraine. Professor at the Academy were known Austrian, German, British leaders. Many alumni returned to Ukraine and worked for the good and development of their people.

This Academy was managed by catholic priests too and worked out a "code of ethics" activities, behavior and learning. It was one of the first declaration of the principles of the ethics in daily economic activities. The social doctrine of the Church gave first fruits in the practical teaching. 

That the principles and ideals of the Ukrainian Academy of Economic,social and economic thought of cooperatives, modern economists, philosophers and eminent figures in Ukraine and the world have led to the founding of the Academy of Ethics and Economics and of the Ukrainian Co-operative Alliance in the modern time. 

 

Economics without ethics is like a body without a soul….

We need to rethink the type, style and form of the modern development of man and society in the present. The loss of natural resources, climate change, contamination and the formation of consumer outlook made ​​the danger of life itself.

As an example we can take the last revolutionary events in Ukraine end of 2013 –March of 2014. People were fighting not only against criminal politics and economics, but also against neglecting basic human rights, right to self-expression and decent life. The moving force of the revolution was young generation with new outlook of high culture and ethics. It is important not only to change the corrupted authorities but to hold the reformation of Dignity for real welfare and development of the country. Present crisis can be viewed as a setting of detailed diagnosis of illnesses of the society that needs healing.

 

That is why standard approaches in economics and management are not giving necessary results for forming creative thinking elite in the economics and for successful reformations. Not only in Ukraine but in other countries that received their independence in 20-21stcenturies, we can observe bankruptcy of the most economic directions, limitation of ideology for development of society, losses of potential of a person and resources, pollution of the territories, damages of the institution of family and civic cooperation.  There is a lack of new original ideas, fresh thoughts that would give an impulse for real harmonious development and welfare. Unfortunately, in most cases, the level of welfares determinedby semi-mythical financial indicators,that arenot always a priority and essential to human happiness. Nowadays legislation system created so many laws that they no longer play functionof standards of life as a result of dialogue between citizens. Existing legislation only makes obstacles for a person that decided to implement some ideas or talents, it is only lobbying interests of some financial groups. The mission of law is twisted, only privileged people in society prove their right for wealth and sharing common goods.

Another reason for the destruction of well-being– is a contempt and disregard of the modern market systemof the basic laws of science and nature and generally accepted ethical principles. The current socio-economic conditions and commercial understanding of the market are not conducive to the realization of morally and physically healthy person and develop consumption based on defects, social and physical illnesses due to a lack of objective information that generates ignorance and irrational choice of a person. The author studies situation in Ukraine and in other ex-soviet republics thoroughly for many years and gives several facts for thinking: according to figures of the Ministry of Statistics of Ukraine, only selling of vodkabrings about 36 -42 billion UAH each year, and for the development of science and researchin Ukraine government planned for 2012-2013 only a few hundred millions. Other example is government of Russia: every year they have near 35 billion dollars for Army and military expenses, but the state expenses for the development of science and education is only 500 million dollars. Correlation of the selling goods that are destroying and damaging for people’s health and nature with those that are useful is 80% against 20%. An important mission is taken by spiritual outlook of the human person, due to which the hierarchy of moral values​​ and practical choice of goods and services is formed. Moral ambiguity creates man deliberately irrational behavior on the market and destroys the «iokos», the concept of "home"in which mankind lives.

The main problem of modern monetary systems, which is called the curse of the modern economy, wasidentifiedby Aristotle in his book "Ethics": if to substitute the link GOODS-money-GOODS by MONEY-goods-MONEY it will lead not only to the damage of economics by to the end of civilization. That is why it is important to return to the original functions of money, such as mediation, i.e. GOODS-MONEY-GOODS. In the currentcirculation of finances, has been created yet another paradox: money - money- money, in which only one-sixth of the entire money supply is designedfor real production and services. An important aspect is to provide the financial operationswith realmeaning and comply with ethics and social control. Otherwise, it is importanttocreate alternative financial relationship or to conduct transactions between people in a different way. Therefore, an important step is to study real social and economic indicators for organic development of philosophy, mentality and needs of the community, family, individual, and not to see the development as an increase in the overall gross income.

Pope Francis wrote:

The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings…

So the question arises: if we do not agree with this type and form of the modern economy, what can we offer to society? 

We have to rebuild the values, principles of the ethics in economics: 

First, promotion of the creativityas a gift to human person that gives a special status, tasks and responsibility in the world:

  • revival and development of the creative spirit, philosophy and human activities;
  • protection of rights of human personand community for the creative business, innovational and research activities;
  • promotion the solidarity and cooperation between local communities and citizens;
  • balanced social, economic and cultural development of society.

 

Second, realization of the economicsas a science about usage of creativity gift by human being for care about world and implementation of talents and skills:

 

  • development and implementation of social entrepreneurship and creativity;
  • high standard of economic and business activities;
  • implementation a code of ethics into management in accordance with international rules and standards;
  • Adherence to the principles of "sustainable development";
  • implementation of initiatives and projects aimed at meeting the needs of society,simultaneously with the rational use of available natural resources and respect for human rights. 

 

How is possible to renew the ethics and ethical economics?

 

  1. Important step to renew spirit of ethics is to preserve and develop the first meaning of economics – “oikos”, i.e. home, our world which we have to save and take care of. The first meaning of «oikonomía» was leading the family household and way of saving people. This notion gave the beginning for formation of economics as a study.
  2. The humanbeing which isnotable to understandhis/her talents, abilities, needs and steer herself to the creativeand interesting life, ismostly unhappy with any level of material and financial support and welfare.
  3. Changing the function and understanding of money and profit needs other design principles and implementation of practical initiatives. “Ethics in economics” is using financial performance merely as a means, not as a goal itself. Financial indicators in the projection is one of the aspects of the social cost of labor and business, and should take the primary role allotted to it by humanity: to have a mediating function in the exchange of real goods and services rather than speculative activities under schemes "Money for Money", reducing the quality of goods and services, devaluing the value of human labor and creating artificial speculative crisis, during which the social middle class is being destroyed.
  4. Ethic principles treat a person, community and society as a living body: state of health, personal or social diseases depend on consumption and morality. Therefore, reforms are seen as determining of diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the social body, rather than the traditional concept of investment that, in practice, does not solve most social problems. Ethical economics goes from the planning of not only individual needs, but the family, strength and well-being of which is a brilliant social, economic and financial indicator.

 

  1. Difference in the strategy between: 

 

Traditional economics              and             ethical economics                    

Capital – activity – profit                        Wisdom – creativity – prosperity 

 

We invite the people to trust to social doctrine of the Church. The greatest problem is not to know the theology and doctrine of the Church. Many people look to criticize but not to research. But it is very important to spread the teaching of the Church in this very hard time in Ukraine. 

Zinoviy Svereda

Doctor of social economics,

President of Ukrainian Co-operative Alliance

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