© 2018

Art, Spirituality and Economics

Liber Amicorum for Laszlo Zsolnai

  • Luk Bouckaert
  • Knut J. Ims
  • Peter Rona

Part of the Virtues and Economics book series (VIEC, volume 2)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Luk Bouckaert, Knut J. Ims, Peter Rona
      Pages 3-9
  3. The Power of Art

  4. Beyond Rational Ethics

  5. Economics and the Creation of Meaning

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 157-157
    2. Knut J. Ims
      Pages 171-193

About this book


This volume celebrates the work of Laszlo Zsolnai, a leading researcher and scholar in the field of the ethical and spiritual aspects of economic life, who has made significant contributions to the connection between ethics, spirituality, aesthetics and economic theory. The book offers a selection of essays concerned with the ethical, spiritual and aesthetic context within which economics as a social studies discipline should be situated in order to avoid the sort of dehumanising consequences that theories based on utility maximisation and rational choice necessarily entail. It presents the economic activities of human beings not as some sort of preordained obedience to universal laws that operate independently of other human concerns, but, rather, as a part of the human desire for the Aristotelian good life. It looks at the various considerations –moral, spiritual and aesthetic – that take part in the formation of economic decisions in sharp contrast with theories that purport to explain economic phenomena solely on the basis of utility maximisation.


Economic Ethics Art and spirituality Virtues and economics Laszlo Zsolnai Virtuous circle of hope Nature’s Awesome Artwork Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper Food, conviviality, sharing, and spirituality Goya’s “el perro” (the dog) Ethics and Spirituality Zsolnai on Human Motivations Science and Spirituality Relationships and Economy in the Bible Sense Making Economics Gross National Product vs. Gross National Happiness Corporate Social Responsibility Aesthetics of Energy Resilience Management and Liberal Arts Universalism in Legal and Fiscal Intervention Virtues and Business Ethics

Editors and affiliations

  • Luk Bouckaert
    • 1
  • Knut J. Ims
    • 2
  • Peter Rona
    • 3
  1. 1.Catholic University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Strategy and ManagementNorwegian School of EconomicsBergenNorway
  3. 3.Blackfriars HallUniversity of OxfordSt. Giles, OxfordUnited Kingdom

About the editors

Luk Bouckaert (°1941) is emeritus professor of ethics at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium). He is a philosopher and an economist by training. His research and publications fall within the fields of business ethics and spirituality. In 1987 he founded with some colleagues the interdisciplinary Centre for Economics and Ethics at the University of Leuven. In 2000 he started the SPES Forum (Spirituality in Economics and Society) and in 2004 the international European SPES Forum which he chaired as president until 2014. He wrote several books in Dutch. Recent publications in English include: Spirituality as a public good (co-edited with L. Zsolnai, 2007), Frugality. Rebalancing material and spiritual values in economic life (co-edited with H.Opdebeeck and L.Zsolnai, 2008), Imagine Europe (co-edited with J.Eynikel, 2009), Respect and Economic Democracy (co-edited with Pasquale Arena, 2010), The Palgrave Handbook of Spirituality and Business (co-edited with L.Zsolnai, 2011), Business, Ethics and Peace, (co-edited with M.Chatterji, 2015).  

Knut J. Ims is Professor in business ethics at the Department of Strategy and Management, the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) in Bergen, from which he has a bachelor degree (1976) and a HAE (1979) degree. He obtained his PhD from the School of Economics and Legal Science, Gothenburg University, Sweden in 1987. He is active member of the business ethics faculty group of (CEMS) – Global Alliance for Management Education and had been teaching at a number of European Universities. He is Fellow of the European SPES Institute. He has been visiting scholar at The Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary, Universidad Catholica Argentina (UCA) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Weatherhead School of Management, Cleveland, US, University of Illinois at Urbana Champagne, US, and University of Oslo, Norway. He has been the lead

From 1985 -1995 (Information and Management) and a number of courses at MBA level including CEMS blocked seminars from 2001; Business Ethics, Nice, France 2001, Ecology and the Limits of Business, NHH, Bergen, 2002, Sustainability, Bocconi, 2005, The Future International Manager, Corvinus University, Hungary, 2008 just to mention a few. He has also been local host of several CEMS Blocked seminars. At bachelor level he has been teaching a number of courses, including compulsory courses at NHH, Bergen with more than 300 students.  From 1985 he has every year presented his research at scientific conferences (From Hawaii, US, to Pharo in Bhutan etc.). The next presentation of his research will be in Tel Aviv, Israel in September.

Peter Róna is Fellow of Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford, where he teaches courses in economics and the philosophical foundations of the social sciences. He obtained his B.A. degree in economic history (cum laude) from the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from Oxford University (First Class) in 1964. He was an associate of the Washington, D.C, law firm, Arnold & Porter and counsel to the US Department of Commerce before becoming the personal assistant of Lord Richardson, Governor of the Bank of England. He joined the Schroder Group in 1969 as the General Counsel of its operations in the United Sates, and became the President and Chief Executive of the IBJ Schroder Bank & Trust co. in 1985. In 2003 he joined the faculty of Eötvös Lóránd University where he taught public international law and in 2006 he was made an Honorary Professor there. His published articles include a study of the Euro and an examination of the philosophical foundations of economics.

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