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AbstractThis paper suggests that understanding questions such as those related to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) re- quires economic theorizing to include in its explanatory models the very fact that (economic) agents have their own distinctive conception of how reality ought to be (which implies making judgments of value). Under standard economic theorizing, the relationship between social or ethical values and economics is one of mere juxtaposition. Ethical and economic issues are being put together side by side in such a way that the anomalies pointed out by economics, which refer to the presence of goal paradoxes and the problem of altruism, etc., denote the presence of ethical issues within the processes of valuation and choice by agents. To surpass this relationship a change of perspective by means of the agents’ action plans approach is proposed. The action plan approach allows to pass from a conception of economics understood as a technology-of-choice to economics understood as a theory of production-of-action. In particular, it is shown that the ethical dynamics of agents are capable of generating “ethical novelties”, which consequently alter the agents’ space of goals. Insofar as this is heavily influenced by CSR, the consequence is that CSR is neither strange to Economics nor a concept juxtaposed with the analysis of autonomous economic processes.
Modern Economy 3 (2012): 355-363