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Stephan Rothlin

Becoming a Top-Notch-Player

18 Rules of International Business Ethics

Stephan Rothlin:
Becoming a Top-Notch-Player.
18 Rules of International Business Ethics
Renmin University Press,
(Bilingual edition:
English and Chinese)
285 pages
ISBN 7-300-05326-2
book cover
Renmin University Press:
external linkWebsite

As the title indicates, the book consists of 18 rules of business ethics divided into four parts: International business ethics, Labor conditions, areas of Justice and towards Virtue Ethics. This publication is the result of the author's teaching experience in China for many years: Peking and Renmin universities. This is evidenced by the number of case studies and vivid examples he brings in to drive home his points. Thus this volume serves as a textbook highlighting the principles of business ethics in an intelligible way to the ordinary readers, though the immediate context of his research was Chinese.

At the global level there are multinationals who try to remove all the boundaries to promote their marketing process and at the national and individual level there is an in-built urge to go out and get rich quickly. And in this context business ethics sounds irrelevant. Even if people are aware of the consequence of this situation, somehow the immediate interests take priority over the long term benefits.

It is this long term interest that is being highlighted in business ethics. It tries to tell people that one cannot separate the spiritual from the material perspective. It points out clearly that the consideration of long term interests will guarantee the continuation of the immediate interests. To bring in this balance within the thinking framework is the main concern of the people in business.

There is no point in repeating the slogans like: there is corruption everywhere and it has been there all the time, there are scandals all over etc. The presentation here makes people to think and question the short-cut methods for profit. Valuing righteousness does no mean belittling profit. Today one talks of the cultural background conditioning the economic growth. The traditional norms and values need to be taken into account while entering to the arena of global actors in business. Whether it is Chinese or Indian cultural context, the moral concern has been unambiguous and the economic growth is not pitted against the moral values.

The author admits that the main target group of these rules is the Chinese public, especially, entrepreneurs in China, after its opening-up policy, its rapid economic growth, its recent membership into the World Trade Organization, etc. As he himself says, if China as the emerging economic powerhouse in Asia, integrates ethical rules into its economic drive, its development will not only make an impact on Asia, but the rest of the world as well. But still he includes the other readers into this dialogue and makes wider appeal to pay heed to the rules of ethical play. As with traffic rules, if you do not comply with ethical rules, you run the high risks of failure.

Hence this work is to be welcomed, when publications of this type are few and far between. It has its own distinctive and individual characteristics. Its merit lies in its balanced approach to the business ethics, challenging the unprincipled ones in business under false premises of economic growth, combining the traditional values with the modern business ventures at the global level.

Anand Amaladass

polylog: Forum for Intercultural Philosophy 5 (2004).
Online: http://lit.polylog.org/5/srsaa-en.htm
ISSN 1616-2943
Source: external linkSatya Nilayam: Chennai Journal for Intercultural Philosophy 6 (2004), 130-132.
Author: Anand Amaladass, Chennai (India)
© 2004 Author & polylog e.V.
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