The Changing Basis of Economic Responsibility

Third Call for Papers

The Changing Basis of Economic Responsibility:

A Look from the Perspective of Today


2016 is the hundredth anniversary of the publication of John Maurice Clark’s article “The Changing Basis of Economic Responsibility“ in the Journal of Political Economy, 24 (3), pp. 209-229.

The Springer Book Series “Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy” will take this event as a starting point for the initiation of a discussion about the basis and meaning of the concept of economic responsibility from today’s perspective.

Clark’s article has not attracted much attention within the economic scientific community and beyond. By equating “economic responsibility” with “be profitable,” the discourses related to the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) make use of a reduced meaning of “economic responsibility.” They have not yet put much effort into the clarification of origin, range, and limitations of this equation.

Clark’s article is a suitable starting point for the attempt to re-address the content and meaning of “economic responsibility”. Clark presents an analysis that refers to economic as well as political, social, and historical dimensions of the concept and its application. He compares the situation in 1916 – characterized by an “economics of irresponsibility,” – to the situation twenty years before. His analysis includes many aspects that are either still relevant today, or have been addressed in the decades after the publication of the article, or should be addressed in future inquiries. Thus, Clark’s article might be considered as a “paradigmatic” example for the many-faceted aspects which are of relevance for but also contradict today’s understanding of the concept of responsibility.

The list of topics addressed by Clark is:

  • The range of individual responsibility under the condition of modernity
  • Knowledge and responsibility
  • Diffusion of responsibility in human-made environments
  • Corporate responsibility, responsible investment and stockholder responsibility
  • Laissez-faire economics vs. public control
  • Competitive standards and standards of the public good
  • Other topics related to this call are also welcome.



Please forward an abstract (ca. 1500 words) which outlines the content and structure of your contribution by May, 15, 2014 to

  • Language: All submitted papers must be written in English.
  • Quality standard: All submitted papers must be original research of high quality and must contain a clear theoretical foundation.
  • Review process: All submittedwill double-blinded reviewed.
Full Paper 30.09.2014
First Review 15.11.2014
Resubmission 05.01.2015
Second Review 02.02.2015
Submission Final Version 30.04.2015

The Workshop


A workshop will be conducted at the Weltethos Institute at the University of Tübingen from February 25 to February 26, 2015. The workshop will give authors the opportunity to discuss their papers and to present them to an audience.

Planned publication date of the book: Autumn 2015.