, Volume 84, Issue 3 Supplement, pp 281-295
Date: 08 Oct 2009

A Rich Concept of Wealth Creation Beyond Profit Maximization and Adding Value

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Abstract

The purpose of this article is to take a fresh look at the concept of wealth creation that is urgently needed, given the huge gap between the global importance of wealth creation and the attention paid to it. It is argued that its notion we encounter is often very simple (as in “making money”) or extremely vague (as in “adding value”). In the first section “Need for a fresh look at the creation of wealth”, the need for a fresh look is highlighted by pointing to three concerns about globalization and the roles and responsibilities of corporations. In the second section “Conceptual clarifications: what is the creation of wealth?”, a rich concept of wealth creation is developed that includes physical, financial, human, and social capital, encompasses private and public wealth, accounts for its production and distribution, recognizes its material and spiritual side, and places wealth in the time horizon of sustainability. Moreover, creating (wealth) as “making something new and better” is distinguished from possessing and acquiring, and different motivations required for wealth creation are explored. The third section “Challenges for business ethics” discusses several challenges of this rich concept for the understanding of business ethics.