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Research Projects

The next independent research projects are opearting within the framework of Corvinus Institute for Advanced Studies.

Great Books

Great books program is designed for those first-year BA students (or students who take part in unified, undivided degree programs) of Corvinus University of Budapest who – above the insights of their own discipline – would like to acquire deeper knowledge in philosophy and social theory. Through the writingsof the most remarkable authors of the Western thought, this program examines the key – political, legal, cultural and economic – questions of human natureand social coexistence. With the usage of rational arguments, the students will be prepared to think and debate systematically, creatively about these crucial questions.

Following the curriculum of numerous North American and European universities, the courses of this program examine the distinguished works of classical authors – the great books of our civilization. The lectures take place in small groups in the form of a reading seminar. To accomplish the courses, it is necessary to proactively take part in the ongoing conversations about the readings, as it is required to write and defend essays. This program is suitable for the intensive cooperation between the teachers and the students. The students take part in events besides the course (e.g. communal events, weekend retreats, or other lectures). Above the transmission of literacy, the aim of this programis to develop intellectual skills. Moreover, there is an intention to ground and contextualize the knowledge that the students acquired during their BA studies. The individual elaboration of the readings (which are often difficult andabstract) and the lead discussions will develop creativity, debate culture, abstraction skills, and fine reasoning. Creating and evaluating individual writings serve the same purposes.

  • The courses and the lecturers of the program:
  • The basis of philosophy (Plato) – Balázs Mezei
  • The Judeo-Christian tradition (Old and New Testament)– Zoltán Balázs III. Law (Aristotle) – Miklós Könczöl
  • Political philosophy (Pascal) – András Lánczi V. Political economy (Smith) – Károly Mike
  • The sociological thought (Weber) – Zoltán Szántó
  • All courses examine one ormore writings which still influence our thinking about man and society. The lecturers are all leading figures of their discipline.

The program consists of six courses. All first-year BA students (or students who take part in unified, undivided degree programs) of Corvinus University of Budapest who had more than 400 points for the university admission can apply to the program after the autumn break of his/her first semester. The writing admission consists of writing a short essay about a statement or passage. For the students enrolled, the program begins in the spring semester; they can attend one or two courses per semester, which are treated as elective courses. The lectures take place in small groups, so the number of recordable students is maximized (25 students/group). The ambition of this program is to have students from more departments of all the three faculties.

The students who accomplish at least four out of the six courses will receive a written recognition about their participation in the program. Those who accomplish all six courses will receive a written recognition about the accomplishment of the program.

Economy & Religion

The Economy & Religion Program aims to explore and study the multiple roles that religion/spirituality plays in the functioning of the eonomy. It focuses on the contemporary issues of capitalism in relation to ethics and morality, ecology and sustainability, and social inequality and cultural diversity. It fosters the spirit of open dialogue that seeks collaboration across disciplines, cultures, and faith traditions.

Leaflet Economy & Religion

Research Areas

Comparative Mapping of Religious Economic Thoughts (Laszlo Zsolnai and others)

The project aims to reconstruct the economic ethics conceptions of world religions and to comparatively analyze them according to basic values and suggested modes of management and desired institutions. It intends to contrast the economic ethics conceptions of the world religions with the emerging humanistic business paradigm based on the “Global Ethic” conception developed by Hans Küng. The project plans to demonstrate the relevance and applicability of economic models of world religions in the context of today’s globalized economy.The project will employ official documents of world religions on economic matters and contemporary interpretations of them for reconstructing the economic ethics conceptions of world religions. The expected result of the project is a research monograph which presents the economic conceptions of the world religions and their alternative models of economic action, management and institutions. A project also intends to develop a professional website dedicated to the economic teaching of world religions in a comparative perspective.

The Common Good and Integral Human Development (Laura Sarolta Baritz, OP and Roland Szilas)

The project explores the Aristotelian-Thomistic virtue ethics tradition for economics and management and places the common good at the center of the economic activity. Relational goods such as trust, cooperation, loyalty, reciprocity, and solidarity play a basic role in this conception of the economy. Catholic Social Teaching and the works of Stefano Zamagni, Luigino Bruni, Amartya Sen, Karl Polanyi, Martin Buber, Elinor Ostrom, Eric Fromm, Richard Ryan, Edward Deci, Tim Kasser, Michael Naughton, and Helen Alford are synthesized to arrive at a robust conception of alternative economic functioning and organizational principles which can serve integral human development.Special attention will be paid to research topics such as the objectivist concept of self-interest, reciprocity in economic and business transactions, quality of work-life and virtuous leadership. The concept of the civil economy and the thoughts of 18th century Italian economist, Antonio Genovesi will be applied, the relation between material and immaterial goods, homo oeconomicus versus homo reciprocans, self-determination theory, happiness, and the Natural Law and the natural world order will be emphasized.

The Economy of Francis: Ecology and Globalization (Balázs Sárvári, Gábor Kovács and András Ócsai)

By his Encyclical Letters Pope Francis brought new light to international discussions on ecology, economy, and globalization. He addresses the interconnected issues of ecological degradation, climate crisis, wealth and income inequality, and social justice by providing a comprehensive, humanistic “big picture”. The project aims to study the economic vision of Pope Francis by concrete case analysis, e.g. ecology, international cooperation, catch up processes, and new ways of entrepreneurship. 

Utopian Thinking in Catholic Social Thought (Károly Mike)

Is Utopian thinking compatible with Catholic social thought? A Utopian approach assumes that a radical overcoming of society’s existing moral failures and limitations is possible. There is an increasing tendency in the papal magisterium and more generally to engage in (quasi-)Utopian arguments. The research project uncovers and critically examines these lines of thinking as they appear in discussions of ecology, ecumenism, universal human fraternity, death penalty or just war. It confronts them with ‘moral realism’, an approach also firmly embedded in Catholic thought.

Vilfredo Pareto Redivius (Balázs Sárvári, Gabor Kovács, and Laszlo Zsolnai)

Vilfredo Pareto’s legacy is far more insightful than its simplification offered by welfare economics. His “Cours” and “Manuale” go beyond pure economic modelling. These are interdisciplinary approaches. Pareto used this wide context to understand micro- and macro level decisions and their social effects as well. His thoughts offer more than a framework to analyze current trends: a theoretical context in which we may accommodate the diverse cultural traditions and techniques aiming peace and prosperity. This promises an important take away for defining common values in the era of global institutions.

Ethos as a Focus of Economic Analysis (Károly Mike)

How are people able to cooperate successfully in economic life? The research project explores ‘ethos’ as a possible foundational concept for making sense of economic cooperation. Ethos is understood as a context-specific shared understanding and appreciation of the goals and means of human interaction. Ethos-based economics is proposed as an approach that overcomes the inadequacies of institutional analysis focusing on the incentives of social rules on the one hand, and the literature on general ‘attitudes’, ‘social preferences’ or ‘moral sentiments’, on the other hand.

Hindu Spirituality in Management and Buddhist Economics (Laszlo Zsolnai and Gabor Kovács)

Hinduism and Buddhism are gaining influence in shaping economic and business functioning in today’s India and other countries including Bhutan, Thailand, Japan, and China. The project aims to reconstruct the Indian spiritual tradition applied to management. This research direction is based on and continues the works of S.K. Chakraborty and Manesh Shrikant. It explores how the Vedantic tradition and the related Human Values can refresh modern-day economic and business models. The Buddhist economics approach as it has been developed in the last 40-50 years aims to create an alternative mindset that challenges the main underlying assumptions of Western economics. Buddhist economics is based on a set of assumptions: minimizing suffering,  simplifying desires, non-violence, genuine care, and generosity. The Buddhist economic model has shared prosperity in a sustainable world with minimal suffering as its goal. Buddhist economics suggests evaluation of economic performance by measuring well-being of people (prosperity) and the environment (sustainability), and fairness of resource distribution (justice).

Spiritual-Based Business Models (Laszlo Zsolnai, András Ócsai, Roland Szilas)

Spiritual-based business models employ a spiritual conception of man. Human beings are considered spiritual beings embodied in the physical world who have both materialistic and non-materialistic desires and motivations. For them, materialistic desires and outcomes are embedded in and evaluated against spiritual convictions and experiences. The project aims to collect, analyze, and compare spiritually-based innovative business models in different faith traditions and diverse socio-economic contexts. Exemplary models include Leket Israel, Mondragon cooperatives, Focolare enterprises, Scott Bader Company, Organic India, Aravind Eye Care System, Apopo, Greyston Bakery, Patagonia, Green Monday – Hong Kong, Triodos Bank, Grameen Bank, and TAHITO Financial Services.

Daoist and Confucian Values in Chinese Economic Policies (Balázs Sárvári)

Our age is in a transition period in which China is becoming increasingly involved in globalization. China’s ever stronger presence in global networks will gradually make these networks acquire Chinese characteristics. It highlights the need for a deep understanding of its cultural heritage. The main pillars of this high culture are Confucianism, Daoism and Legalism. Not one of these traditions alone but a mix of them formulates the complete picture of Chinese policies in the 21st century. Thus the analyses of Chinese traditions may provide the missing messages for global institutions: how to reach long-term sustainability and efficiency, and how to accommodate to Eastern cultures.

Socio-Ecological Wellbeing in Spiritual Perspectives (Laszlo Zsolnai, Gabor Kovács, & Andras Ócsai)

The project studies conceptions and models of wellbeing creation in today’s economic and business context. The Western “eudaimonia” tradition and the Eastern “moderation” tradition are used and combined with the latest findings of positive psychology and happiness economics. Wellbeing is understood in broad ecological and social context where the flourishing of people and their communities is related to and interlinked with ecological regeneration and social reforms. Gross National Happiness and other alternative policy frameworks will be studied at the level of countries, cities, companies, and communities.


  • Luk Bouckaert & Laszlo Zsolnai (eds. 2011) The Palgrave Handbook ofSpirituality and Business. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Laszlo Zsolnai (ed. 2011) EthicalPrinciples and Economic Transformation – A Buddhist Approach. Springer.
  • Laszlo Zsolnai (ed. 2013) Handbook ofBusiness Ethics – Ethics in the New Economy. Oxford: Peter Lang.
  • Laszlo Zsolnai (ed. 2015) The Spiritual Dimension of Business Ethics andSustainability Management. Springer.
  • Laura Sarolta Baritz, OP (2016) TheThree-Dimensional Economy: Virtue Ethics and Economic Activities. Budapest:Kairosz Kiadó. (in Hungarian)
  • Madhumita Chatterji & Laszlo Zsolnai (eds. 2016) Ethical Leadership.Indian and European Spiritual Approaches. London: Palgrave-Macmillan.
  • Ove Jakobsen & Laszlo Zsolnai (eds. 2017) IntegralEcology and Sustainable Business. Emerald.
  • Karoly Mike (2017) The intellectual orders of a market economy. Journal of Institutional Economics 13 (4) pp. 899-915.
  • Eleanor O’Higgins & Laszlo Zsolnai (eds. 2017)Progressive Business Models: Creating Sustainable and Pro-social Enterprise.London: Palgrave-Macmillan.
  • Peter Rona & Laszlo Zsolnai (eds. 2017) Economicsas a Moral Science. Springer.
  • Balázs Sárvári (2017) Economic Policy andGeopolitical Aspects of the Chinese Development 1949-2007. PhD Dissertationat the International Relations Multidisciplinary Doctoral School, CorvinusUniversity of Budapest.
  • Károly Mike (2018) Ecology as Moral Kitschand as Prudent Governance. A Critique of Mainline Catholic Social Thought. In:Klára Katona (ed.) Market and State in the Service of Man (?). Budapest: PázmányPress, pp. 127-137. (in Hungarian)
  • Balazs Sarvari (2018) Political Economics of the New Silk Road. In: YuCheng, Lilei Song & Lihe Huang (eds.): The Belt & Road Initiative inthe Global Arena: Chinese and European Perspectives. Singapore: PalgraveMacmillan, pp. 117-140.
  • János Csák, Károly Mike & Ákos Szalai (2019): The Social Teaching of Charity – A Proposal to Interpret Benedict XVI’sEncyclical Caritas in Veritate. Kommentár 2019 (4) pp. 3-15. (in Hungarian)
  • Károly Mike & Gábor Kiss (2019) CombiningFormal and Informal Contract Enforcement in a Developed Legal System: A LatentClass Approach. Journal of Institutional Economics 15 (3) pp.521-537.
  • Laszlo Zsolnai & Bernadette Flanagan (eds. 2019) The RoutledgeInternational Handbook of Spirituality in Society and the Professions. Londonand New York: Routledge.
  • Gabor Kovacs (2020) The Value Orientations of Buddhist and ChristianEntrepreneurs. A Comparative Perspective on Spirituality and Business Ethics.London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Károly Mike (2020): The Inner Ethics of the Market Economy: The Principle of Mutual Value Creation. In: Gentle Capitalism. The Order of Free Cooperation. Budapest: Gondolat. (in Hungarian)
  • Roland Szilas (2020) Demographic SocialPolicy Change in Hungary in the Light of Catholic Social Thought. In: H. Alfordand M. Russo (ed.): In a Different Voice, Reflections on Catholic Social Thought form and for Europe. Rome: Angelicum University Press, pp. 159-177.
  • Laura Sarolta Baritz OP (2021) Christian Ethics and Big Tech Giants – A World Turned Upside Down, with Potentials. In Focus: Tech Companies –
    The New Sovereigns?
     2020 (1) pp. 68-73.
  • Andras Ocsai (2021) Ecologically Conscious Organizations. New Business Practices Based on Ecological Commitment. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Sanjoy Mukherjee & Laszlo Zsolnai (eds. 2021) Global Perspectives on  Indian Spirituality and Management. Spinger (forthcoming)



Dr. Zsolnai László Rektori Szervezet / Corvinus Institute for Advanced Studies / Gazdaságetikai Központ
Egyetemi tanár / Professor
C épület, 711, 707
Phone: +36 1 482 7206 • Ext: 7206


Dr. Sárvári Balázs Közgazdaságtan Intézet
Egyetemi Adjunktus / Assistant Professor
E épület, 225
Phone: +36 1 482 5107 • Ext: 5107
Dr. Szilas Roland Ferenc Vezetéstudományi Intézet / Szervezeti Magatartás Tanszék
Egyetemi Docens / Associate Professor
E épület, 381
Phone: +36 1 482 5382 • Ext: 5382

Laura Sarolta Baritz, OP (Sapientia College of Theology of Religious Orders, Budapest)

International Advisory Board

  • Clair Brown (University of California at Berkeley, USA)
  • Luigino Bruni (LUMSA University Rome, Italy)
  • Georges Enderle (University of Notre Dame, USA)
  • Peter Heslam (Faith in Business, University of Cambridge, UK)
  • Carlos Hoevel (Catholic University of Argentina, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • Feisal Khan (Hobart and William Smith Colleges, New York, USA)
  • David Miller (Princeton University, USA)
  • Stephan Rothlin SJ (Macau Ricci Institute, University of St. Joseph, Macau, China)
  • Surya Tahora (S P Jain Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai, India)
  • Shay Tzatzir (University of Haifa, Israel)
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GEN.:2022.12.02. - 21:00:43