MO21 Business Philosophy

Module Name
Business Philosophy
Module Code
Saskia Harkema
Related phase 1 modules (MO) or equivalent
A simple but comprehensive explanation of the ideas of the Great Economists. This module gives an insight into the lives of these economists and the history of economics. Robert L. Heilbroner places their concepts in a proper context, thereby explaining how their philosophies evolve along with historical events. A valuable introduction to any course in economics. Students will find a basic explanation of capitalism, socialism, communism, prosperity, depression, and the practical workings of an economy. In marked contrast to the dry, technical, and theoretical treatment of economics by most textbooks, The Worldly Philosophers offers a vibrant, practical explanation of the world of economics — past, present, and future. A student will find it extremely profitable to study the book along with these notes prior to enrolling in a course or taking an exam in economic principles and problems.
  • Understand  different philosophical themes and questions that are most relevant to business and the economy
  • Explain the basic ideas of several economic philosophers (such as Smith, Marx, Keynes, etc.)
  • Discuss different approaches to understanding political-economy
  • Better frame philosophical issues related to business and the economy and be more aware of the philosophical questions which underlie individual and collective decisions.
  • Evaluate the strengths and weakness of different ways of understanding political-economy.
  • Develop further their capacity to read management literature from a more critical perspective and to develop further their interest for fundamental questions as part of their evolution as effective executives or managers.

I Introduction
II The Economic Revolution
III The Wonderful World of Adam Smith
IV The Gloomy Presentiments of Parson Malthus and David Ricardo
V The Dreams of the Utopian Socialists
VI The Inexorable System of Karl Marx
VII The Victorian World and the Underworld of Economics
VIII The Savage Society of Thorstein Veblen
IX The Heresies of John Maynard Keynes
X The Contradictions of Joseph Schumpeter
XI The End of the Worldly Philosophy?

Instruction / Study Load

24 Lesson hours
8 Preparation Lesson hours
20 Exam and exam preparation hours
32 Literature ( Depending on the length and difficulty of the book ) hours

The course uses 224 pages from the book(s) and journal articles where:

• 224 pages easy reading and understanding material –32 hours


• Difficult reading and understanding material – 3 pages per hour

• Average reading and understanding material – 5 pages per hour

• Easy reading and understanding material – 7 pages per hour

Total 84 Hours

IBA Final Qualification Mapping
Mapped with numbers 11, 12 and 17 See the EEG for further reference.
Teaching Language
Teaching Methods
  • Classroom lecturing
  • Case study discussions
  • Feedback and presentation sessions
  • Video and film
  • Discussion sessions
  • Research Papers
Module / Lecture and seminar status
Testing and assessment
Assignment / Report / Essay (2) See the EEG for further reference.
European Credits
Required literature
  • The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times And Ideas Of The Great Economic Thinkers, Robert L. Heilbroner, Touchstone; ISBN-10: 068486214X, ISBN-13: 978-0684862149