Book Details

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    • September 2013
    • 9780231152648
  • 208 Pages
  • Hardcover
  • $32.50
  • / £22.50


    • September 2013
    • 9780231526432
  • 208 Pages
  • E-book
  • $31.99
  • / £22.00

The Ethical Economy

Rebuilding Value After the Crisis

Adam Arvidsson and Nicolai Peitersen

A more ethical economic system is now possible, one that rectifies the crisis spots of our current downturn while balancing the injustices of extreme poverty and wealth. Adam Arvidsson and Nicolai Peitersen, a scholar and an entrepreneur, outline the shape such an economy might take, identifying its origins in innovations already existent in our production, valuation, and distribution systems.

Much like nineteenth-century entrepreneurs, philosophers, bankers, artisans, and social organizers who planned a course for modern capitalism that was more economically efficient and ethically desirable, we now have a chance to construct new instruments, institutions, and infrastructure to reverse the trajectory of a quickly deteriorating economic environment. Considering a multitude of emerging phenomena, Arvidsson and Peitersen show wealth creation can be the result of a new kind of social production, and the motivation of continuous capital accumulation can exist in tandem with a new desire to maximize our social impact.

Arvidsson and Peitersen argue that financial markets could become a central arena in which diverse ethical concerns are integrated into tangible economic valuations. They suggest that such a common standard has already emerged and that this process is linked to the spread of social media, making it possible to capture the sentiment of value to most people. They ultimately recommend how to build upon these developments to initiate a radical democratization of economic systems and the value decisions they generate.

About the Author

Adam Arvidsson teaches sociology at the University of Milano. He has written on brands, the information economy, and cities and creativity. His most recent book is Brands: Meaning and Value in Media Culture. He is based in Milan.

Nicolai Peitersen has founded and cofounded a number of companies and organizations, including a cross-disciplinary think tank and, most recently, a new international platform for socioeconomic development, the Hanwang Forum in China. He has written on creativity, ethics, and the economy, both at the think tank and during his earlier career at the Central Bank of Denmark and the investment bank JP Morgan in London. He is based in Beijing.

This book offers a thought-provoking combination of ethics and economics to propose a new value regime that will contribute to our understanding of how business can become a force for good in sustainable development. The analysis of the ethics of collaborative work will be useful to practitioners and analysts alike.

Guido Schmidt-Traub, executive director, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, A Global Initiative for the United Nations

Our mainstream economic system has been focusing on a single type of financial capital no longer capable of dealing with the multiple value streams of the emerging contributive and collaborative economy. How to measure, value, and reward contributions is a key question for solving the 'crisis of value,' yet unfortunately, literature and effort are still scarce. This book looks squarely at the value crisis and offers an analysis and proposals for an 'ethical economy.'

Michel Bauwens, P2P Foundation

This book presents a different way to create and distribute wealth. We all want to behave ethically today, but here it is shown how the ethical economy is not just a moral phenomenon. Arvidsson and Peitersen claim that it could and should be the basis for future societies. I personally recommend this book and hope it will not only stimulate positive discussions but also inspire our politicians to make the necessary decisions.

Niels Jørgen Thøgersen, honorary director general, European Commission

No topic is more vital than how to rebuild trust in capitalism--yet none is more slippery. Adam Arvidsson and Nicolai Peitersen have done us all a huge favor by thinking it through so thoroughly and above all so realistically.

Bill Emmot, former editor in chief, The Economist

Read the preface to The Ethical Economy: