Economy Suspended: The Possibilities of a Badiouian Business Ethics

13 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2013

See all articles by Robert B. Couch

Robert B. Couch

Willamette University - Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Joseph Spencer

University of New Mexico

Date Written: October 2013

Abstract

In the philosophy of Alain Badiou, ethics can only arise in relation to an evental truth procedure that breaks from the economic logic of a situation. Further, because for Badiou there cannot be economic truths per se – rather, economic matters must be understood in their relation to one or more truths in the domain of love, art, science or politics – a Badiouian business ethics would look entirely distinct from any ethics that simply places limits on certain kinds of economic activity. Although Slavoj Žižek, among others, has suggested that this marks an essential weakness in Badiou's economic/political theory, it may actually be the greatest strength of his position. Within a capitalist system, a Badiouian business ethics would then be a question of mobilizing economic resources in order to serve the ongoing construction of a truth procedure. For a business to be considered ethical on Badiou's terms, it must break – and continue to break – from the dominant logic of capitalism and its merely economic pursuit of profit maximization.

Suggested Citation

Couch, Robert B. and Spencer, Joseph, Economy Suspended: The Possibilities of a Badiouian Business Ethics (October 2013). Business Ethics: A European Review, Vol. 22, Issue 4, pp. 404-416, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2332915 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/beer.12032

Robert B. Couch (Contact Author)

Willamette University - Atkinson Graduate School of Management ( email )

900 State Street
Salem, OR 97301
United States

Joseph Spencer

University of New Mexico

107 Humanitites Building
Albuquerque, NM 87131-1221
United States

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