Values and Ethics for the 21st Century, is the fourth in the series published annually by BBVA, aimed at disseminating knowledge as part of the community OpenMind.
OpenMind incorporates all the books BBVA has published until now and will also contain those to be published in the future; they can be read, downloaded, commented upon and evaluated by a much wider public than that which may have access to the paper books. Above all, it is a space for authors, together with other specialists and any other interested reader, to interact in an open and multi-disciplinary framework, in which general topics can be addressed from different points of view – a framework suitable for debating and generating new ideas and new ways of spreading knowledge. We hope that OpenMind will become a valuable instrument to help us, together with our publishing projects, to fulfil our vision: BBVA, working for a better future for people.
This year’s title was planned as a contribution to the debate on a fundamental issue of our times: the role of ethics in the 21st century’s global society. We firmly believe that the dissemination and general adoption of shared moral principles by everyone is essential in order to take advantage of the enormous opportunities offered by scientific and technological progress in favor of the well-being and quality of life of people all around the world – those of our generation and of generations to come.
The world we live in is changing at an ever accelerating pace, driven by technological development and globalization. The speed, depth and scale of the changes to which people today are subject to, continually cast doubt on many things that we have believed or thought we knew until now.
This process generates uncertainty, imbalances and conflict both socially (by confronting sectors which adopt different attitudes and views regarding change) and personally. And this anxiety has been exacerbated by the economic and financial crisis which, among other global problems, has revealed ethical deficiencies in the actions of many institutions, and has again placed values at the forefront of society’s demands, as a guide for dealing with uncertainty and as a factor of stability in facing up to the crises and conflicts.
Our intention with regard to this book is to discuss how we can understand and avail ourselves of universal ethical principles in order to meet the great challenges that the 21st century has placed before us. To that end, some of the world’s greatest experts have collaborated with us: John R. Boatright, Joseph H. Carens, Thomas Clarke, Richard T. de George, R. Edward Freeman, Mervyn Frost, Geert Hofstede, Bernardo Kliksberg, Peter Koslowski, Hans Küng, Andy Miah, Carl Mitcham, Mollie Painter-Morland,Reinhard H. Schmidt, Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Robert A. Schultz, Peter Singer, Charles Taylor y Mary Warnock.
The book is divided into five parts: ethics in a global world; ethics in science and technology; ethics, development, poverty and the environment; ethics in business; and, finally, ethics in finance. The authors have made a great effort, without diminishing any rigor, to offer clear views of the major ethical challenges in their respective areas, and even tangible and comprehensible proposals for dealing with some of the immense ethical issues of our time.
I hope that readers will enjoy it and will benefit from it as much as we have done in the task of publishing it.