The idea of an ethical society has exercised the most brilliant of minds for as long as historical memory can extend. As an ideal, ethics provide philosophical coherence to society.

Pharaonic Egypt, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, the Chinese empires and many other societies obsessed about the definition of a good society.

Equally, the 1994 South African democratic breakthrough was the triumph of the ethical idea for the people who had been subjected to a racist order that diminished the humanity of both the oppressor and the oppressed.

Ethics is a living idea and societies need to self-reflect to interrogate epistemological, ontological and cosmological conditions under which an ethical society emerges, evolves and survives.

The Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (Mistra) has cottoned on to this sociopolitical and historical imperative and, accordingly, embarked on a study, culminating in a book titled: Seeking the Ethical Foundations of the South African Nation.

This study arises out of the current ethical crises enveloping humanity at the global, continental and national levels.

We have seen how corporate greed caused the collapse of the world’s financial system in 2008, deepening the misery of a large section of humanity.