Ethics and Economy: After Levinas

Dag G. Aasland

“Rather than succumbing to the easy temptation to blame business leaders for anything that went wrong in recent years, Aasland looks for the remnants of good in business as such. This leads him to ask the right questions: one should, for example, not ask why a leader did the wrong thing but why such a leader did not do it. A thought-provoking and hugely original essay is the outcome of this approach” – René ten Bos, Radboud University, The Netherlands.


While today many express astonishment at ethical scandals in business, in this important new book Dag G. Aasland asks why, in capitalist economies, such scandals are not more common or even the norm. Taking his lead from the ethical philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, this book proposes a thoroughgoing reconsideration of the meaning of ethics and economy. This elegantly written text offers a clear statement of the importance of a Levinasian ethics of the Other for thinking through and beyond the limits and persistence of economic rationality. This book invites readers to step beyond the enclosure of business ethics and takes us beyond “business as usual” but also beyond “ethics as usual”.


Dag G. Aasland is Professor of Economics and Head of the Department of Working Life and Innovation at the University of Agder, Norway. For the last few years his teaching and research has concentrated on ethics in business and management, especially from the perspective of the works of Levinas.

You can read the book online below, download it for free (and donate a suggested £1 if you like), or purchase a paperback copy at your local bookstore or online.