Chapter 1 reviews global capitalism, its emergence over the centuries, and the originating ideas and architects of capitalism. It explains the multi-disciplinary nature of capitalism and how it has become not only a socio-economic system, but an ethical meaning-making system.

The chapter includes the many criticisms of capitalism and explains how it has strayed from its original foundations. In sum, capitalism has lost its cohesiveness, its systemic checks and balances, and the spirit which was supposed to animate capitalistic activities. The chapter highlights the ethical challenges presented by the current practices of global capitalis and points out how this impacts the systemic ethical behavior of businesses.