East meets west: Toward a universal ethic of virtue for global business
Ethics and Business Law
Date of this version
Confucius, Aristotle, ethical relativism, virtue ethics, global ethics
Rudyard Kipling famously penned, “East is East, West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” His poetic line suggests that Eastern and Western cultures are irreconcilably different and that their members engage in fundamentally incommensurable ethical practices. This paper argues that differing cultures do not necessarily operate by incommensurable moral principles. On the contrary, if we adopt a virtue ethics perspective, we discover that East and West are always meeting because their virtues share a natural basis and structure. This article sketches the rudiments of what a universal virtue ethic might look like. Such an ethic is especially relevant and valuable in this era of global business.
Journal of Business Ethics