Quotes that shaped Business, Ethics and Life in General

I have sampled some of my favorite quotes that have shaped some of my understanding of business, society, ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility. I see the list as a work in progress or as a way to spotlight some of the thinking behind my approach to business ethics and sustainability.

“The socially conscious consumer can be defined as a consumer who takes into account the public consequences of his or her private consumption or who attempts to use his or her purchasing power to bring about social change.” (Webster, 1975:188)

“ans les champs de l’observation le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés” (In the field of observation, chance favors the prepared mind) (Louis Pasteur, 1854)

Christianity cannot be poured into a child. No one begins with being Christian; each one becomes that in the fullness of time-if one becomes that. A strict Christian upbringing in Christianity’s decisive categories is a very venturesome undertaking, because Christianity makes men whose strength is in their weakness: but if a child is cowed into Christianity in its totally earnest form, it ordinarily makes a very unhappy youth. The rare exception is a sort of luck.” (Søren KierkegaardConcluding Unscientific Postscript Vol 1, p. 591) (Inspired me to write some of my posts related to faith)

“It is the responsibility of managers, and the management function, to select activities and direct resources to obtain benefits for legitimate stakeholders.” (Donaldson and Preston, 1995.)

“I can calculate the motions of the heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people” Sir Issac Newton, 1720 (quoted after losing 20’000 pounds in the South Sea Bubble. One of the first records of a “boom and bust” event.)

“We will never return to the old boom and bust” Prime minister Gordon Brown, March 2007

“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.” Søren Kierkegaard

“I do not wish to seem overdramatic, but I can only conclude from the Information that Is available to me as Secretary-General, that the Members of the United Nations have perhaps ten years left In which to subordinate their ancient quarrels and launch a global partnership to curb the arms race, to improve the human environment, to defuse the population
explosion, and to supply the required momentum to development efforts. If such a global partnership Is not forged within the next decade, then I very much fear that the problems I
have mentioned will have reached such staggering proportions that they will be
beyond our capacity to control.” – U Thant, 1969

“People at present think that five sons are not too many and each son has five sons also, and before the death of the grandfather there are already 25 descendants. Therefore people are more and wealth Is less; they work hard and receive little.” HAN FEI-TZU, ca. 500 B.C.

“In the circumference of a circle the beginning and end are common.” HERACLITUS, 500 B.C.

“Towards what ultimate point is society tending by its industrial progress? When
the progress ceases, In what condition are we to expect that it will leave mankind? JOHN STUART MILL, 1857

“Most persons think that a state in order to be happy ought to be large; but even if they are right, they have no idea of what is a large and what a small state . . .. To the size of states there Is a limit, as there Is to other things, plants, animals, implements; for none of these
retain their natural power when they are too large or too small, but they either wholly lose their nature, or are spoiled.” Aristotle, 322 B.C

“to forge a deeper reconciliation among peoples, based on a shared narrative and memory of a troubled past. Often this process entails more than simply adopting declarations and resolutions, visiting and laying down flowers at victims’ memorials or signing agreements or protocols and shaking hands. To be lasting, reconciliation may require the settling of the past, recognition and acceptance of responsibility for committed crimes” Armenia’s Ambassador Garen Nazarian


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