Ethics, Economic Organizations, and Human Flourishing: Lessons from Plato and Aristotle

  • Benedetta Giovanola
  • Arianna Fermani


This paper seeks to show the importance of the thought of Plato and Aristotle for today’s economics and business, especially in the light of the global financial and economic crisis. Our aim is twofold. On a general level, we illustrate the intrinsic connection between ethics and economic processes and organizations. On a more detailed level, we describe several specific values and principles highlighted by both Greek philosophers that can play a fundamental role in today’s organizations and business leadership. To this end, the first two sections examine Plato and Aristotle’s reflection on economics and riches and analyse how they relate to human flourishing (Sect. 18.2) and social justice (Sect. 18.3). Sect. 18.4 and Sect. 18.5 focus on several specific values and principles examined by Plato and Aristotle that can be key in enabling economics to foster the good of the individual and society. More specifically, Sect. 18.4 describes the notions of virtue, self-moderation and excellence, whereas Sect. 18.5 focuses on self-knowledge and wisdom, which are strictly interrelated. The concluding section shows how the values and principles described in the previous sections can play a fundamental role in today’s economic organizations and business leadership.


Social Justice Good Life Practical Wisdom Economic Organization Nicomachean Ethic 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of MacerataMacerataItaly

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