Postprint version. Published in Journal of Business Ethics, Volume 72, January 1, 2007, pages 41-46. Copyright © 2007 Springer. The original publication is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-006-9154-x.
This paper identifies the ultimate justification for business activity as an aesthetic justification. Aesthetics, loosely defined as the appreciation of beauty, subsumes both ethics and economics within an holistic justificatory mechanism for business decisions.Five essential qualities of aesthetic judgment are identified: disinterest, subjectivity, inclusivity, contemplativity, and internality. The quality of aesthetic judgment, exercised by the individual through the organization, will determine the extent to which business activity enhances quality of life.