special track Annual Conference

Special Track EBEN AC 2018

June 27-29, 2018


Reinventing Capitalism in the Light of the
Catholic Social Teaching


It is one of the central ideas in the contemporary discussion about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that corporations should contribute to sustainable development and societal wealth. In the understanding of the so-called Brundtland Commission, sustainable development entails meeting “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (WCED, 1987, § 27). As outlined by the Commission, sustainability encompasses economic as well as social and ecological aspects. Especially in the European understanding of CSR, as presented in the so-called Green Paper of the European Commission, CSR is aligned with this “Triple Bottom Line” (Elkington 1999; 2004) and the idea of economic, social and ecological sustainability (European Commission, 2001). But also other important CSR documents, like The Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact (UNGC, 1999) refer to ideas of social justice and environmental protection.

However, attempts to reach this goal in global economy hitherto have been either insufficient or have failed. As Pope Francis criticizes in his Encyclical Letter Laudato si, we “have not yet managed to adopt a circular model of production capable of preserving resources for present and future generations (…). A serious consideration of this issue would be one way of counteracting the throwaway culture which affects the entire planet, but it must be said that only limited progress has been made in this regard” (Francis, 2015, § 22). And the Pope calls it a terrible injustice especially of industrialized countries to ”think that we can obtain significant benefits by making the rest of humanity, present and future, pay the extremely high costs of environmental deterioration. (Francis, 2015, § 36).

Seen in the light of the Encyclical Letter, capitalism focuses unilateral on economic development thereby ignoring questions of ecological preservation and societal justice. It is the aim of the Encyclical Letter to reinvent the present form of shareholder-capitalism and to call for an increased awareness vis-à-vis questions of social justice and environmental protection and, as the Pope formulates: “to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (Francis, 2015, § 49).

It is the aim of the workshop to analyze recent development in economics as well as in the field of business ethics from perspective of CST and especially in the light of the Encyclical letter Laudato si. Suggested topics may encompass but are not limited to:


·       CST and the alleviation of global poverty

·       CST on Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability

·       CST on social justice and human rights in the economic sphere

·       CST and labor rights in global economy

·       CST and the responsibilities of the business world

·       Contributions of CST to humanizing business

·       CST and the normative foundations of economy

·       Moral responsibilities of business leaders according to CST

·       Historical and philosophical studies on Christian understanding of economy

·       Christian Humanism in economics and business

·       Christian spirituality in leadership and at the workplace

·       Subsidiary responsibilities of the business world to foster social justice and environmental protection





Prof. Michael S. Aßländer

Technical University Dresden

International Institute Zittau

Zittau, Germany

Email: michael.asslaender@tu-dresden.de


Prof. Domènec Melé

IESE Business School

Barcelona, Spain

Email: mele@iese.edu




Michael Stefan Aßländer is professor for business ethics at the International Institute of the Technical University Dresden located in Zittau (Germany). From 2005-2010 he held the Plansecur Endowed Chair for business ethics at the University of Kassel. He has studied management, philosophy, sociology, psychology, political economy and Russian language in Bamberg (Germany), Vienna (Austria), Bochum (Germany) and Moscow (Russia) and holds a Diploma in Business Administration (1988), a Master in Philosophy (1990), a PhD in Philosophy (1998) and a PhD in Social Sciences (2005). From 2005-2011 he was board member of the German Business Ethics Network, and was a founding member of the Austrian Business Ethics Network (2004) where he serves as a deputy chairman till today. From 2008-2016 he was also member of the executive committee of the European Business Ethics Network.


Domènec Melé is Emeritus Professor and Chair of Business Ethics at IESE Business School, University of Navarra, Spain. He earned a doctorate in industrial engineering from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Spain, and another PhD degree in theology from the University of Navarra. Over the last 30 years, he has taught and written extensively in economic and business ethics, corporate social responsibility, Catholic social teaching (CST), and philosophy of management. Professor Melé has chaired the biennial International Symposium on Ethics, Business and Society led by IESE from 1991 to 2014 (18 editions). Now, he serves as associate editor of Humanistic Management Journal and as a member of the editorial boards of Philosophy of Management (UK), International Journal of Management Science and Information Technology (IJMSIT), Corporate Governance (UK) and the International Journal of Applied Ethics (Spain). Previously he has served as section editor of the Journal of Business Ethics for ten years. Regarding CST, apart from several articles, he has co-edited two work: Human Development in Business. Values and Humanistic Management in the in the Encyclical «Caritas in Veritate» (Palgrave - MacMillan, 2012) and Humanism in Economics and Business. Perspectives of the Catholic Social Tradition (Springer, 2015). Currently he is working in the 2nd edition of Business Ethics in Action: Seeking Human Excellence in Organizations (Palgrave Macmillan, New York)



Submissions should be made directly to the organizers, not later than March 1, 2018. We accept full papers as well as extended abstracts (about 1000 words), either in pdf or word format.




Elkington, J. (1999). Cannibals with Forks – The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business (Capstone, Oxford).

Elkington, J. (2004). Enter the Triple Bottom Line, in A. Henriques and J. Richardson (eds.), The Triple Bottom Line, Does it all Add up? (Earthscan, London), pp. 1-16.

European Commission (2001). Green Paper Promoting a European Framework for Corporate Social Responsibility COM(2001) 366 (Commission of the European Communities, Brussels). Retrieved from europa.eu/rapid/press-release_DOC-01-9_en.pdf. Accessed on December 31, 2017.

Francis (2015) Laudato si, Encyclical Letter on Care for Our Common Home, 24th of May 2015 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Rome). Also available at: www.vatican.va.

UNGC (1999). United Nations Global Compact – The Ten Principles. Retrieved from https://www.unglobalcompact.org/what-is-gc/mission/principles. Accessed on December 31, 2017.

WCED (1987). Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future. Annex to document A/42/427’, Development and International Co-operation: Environment. Retrieved from http://www.un-documents.net/wced-ocf.htm. Accessed on December 31, 2017.