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Maximization of What? Revisiting the Conception of Wisdom from a Buddhist Perspective

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Abstract

Self-interest is an important conception in Hobbesian political philosophy and classic economics. Both theories hold that rational choice to maximize interests is the best strategy to generate optimal outcome. This paper presents three arguments leading to the conclusion that the business goal set to strive for maximization of self-interest is nonmoral. What is characterized as immoral is business action that causes others harm, or fails to help others under certain morally-relevant conditions. The first argument explicates a modified stakeholder framework that enables us to explore the nexus of self- and others-interest at three different yet interconnected levels. The second argument proposes that the maximization of wisdom is the best strategy to maximize authentic self-interest in the light of Buddhist philosophy. Wisdom can be expressed as cause management, a managerial capability that needs to be cultivated not only to enhance individual lives but to wisely foresee business outcomes. The last argument provides two basic principles founded on karma theory and corresponding rules to cultivate maximization of wisdom, which can enhance the lives of individuals and positive value of businesses.

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Thanks to two anonymous reviewers for useful comments and suggestions. Any errors are my own.

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Correspondence to Wen-Chin Kan .

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© 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

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Kan, WC. (2012). Maximization of What? Revisiting the Conception of Wisdom from a Buddhist Perspective. In: Prastacos, G., Wang, F., Soderquist, K. (eds) Leadership through the Classics. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-32445-1_14

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