Summary of "Shared Values for a Troubled World: Conversations with Men and Women of Conscience"

 

Summary of

Shared Values for a Troubled World: Conversations with Men and Women of Conscience

By Rushworth M. Kidder

Summary written by Conflict Research Consortium Staff


Citation: Rushworth M. Kidder. Shared Values for a Troubled World: Conversations with Men and Women of Conscience. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1994, 332 pp.


Shared Values for a Troubled World: Conversations with Men and Women of Conscience attempts to identify a core of globally shared ethical values. The author interviews twenty-four notable thinkers of diverse interests and cultural backgrounds, asking each to describe their fundamental moral principles. Drawing on these interviews, Kidder describes a core of common ethical values.

Shared Values for a Troubled World: Conversations with Men and Women of Conscience will be of interest to those who seek an ethical "common ground" from which to address issues of global significance. This work is divided into seven chapters. The first chapter argues that we need a globally shared code of ethics to "help create the moral conditions for a sustainable twenty-first century." Chapters two through six present the interviews, grouped by topic. In the final chapter the author distills an eight-point code of ethical values from these interviews.

Chapter two focuses on religion, philanthropy and charity. This chapter includes interviews with Reuban Snake, Native-American tribal chief; James A. Joseph, executive with a national philanthropic foundation; Shojun Bando, Buddhist monk; Le Ly Hayslip, Vietnamese writer and activist; and Father Bernard Przewozny, administrator of an international environmental prize.

Chapter three considers the ethical values associated with education and youth, interviewing Graca Machel, former first lady of Mozambique; Derek Bok, former Harvard University president; Dame Whina Cooper, New Zealand Maori activist; A. H. Halsey, Oxford don; and Jill Ker Conway, Australian author and former Smith College president.

Chapter four, Entrepreneurs and the Economy, concentrates on ethics in business. Interviewed are: Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi banker; Kenneth Boulding, British economist and author; James K. Baker, American CEO; Newton Minnow, former Federal Communications Commission chairman; John W. Gardner, founder of the citizen lobbying organization Common Cause.

Chapter five, discusses values in literature and journalism. The writers interviewed include Nien Cheng, Chinese author; Varindra Tarzie Vittachi, Sri Lankan journalist and former United Nations official; Astrid Lindgren, Swedish author; Sergio Munoz, Hispanic columnist and editor; and Katharine Whitehorn, British columnist.

Chapter six focuses on issues of political leadership, government and politics. Individuals interviewed include Oscar Arias, Nobel Laureate, Salim El Hoss, former Prime Minister of Lebanon; Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U. N. ambassador; Federico Mayor, director-general of UNESCO.

The final chapter discusses eight core values which constitute a global code of ethics: love, truthfulness, fairness, freedom, unity, tolerance, responsibility, and respect for life.