Episode 2: Does Financial Ethics Make Sense?
The second episode of the financial ethics video training series, “Ethics in Finance is Good!” produced by Seven Pillars Institute shows why financial ethics has been largely neglected by the finance academy and until recently perhaps (with glacial progress), the financial industry. Spoiler alert: Financial ethics does make sense.
On moral relativism: “Consider the example of the Greeks and Callatians. The Greeks believed it was wrong to eat the dead; the Callatians believed it was right. Does it follow, from the mere fact that they disagreed, that there is no objective truth in the matter? No, it does not follow; it could be that the practice was objectively right (or wrong) and that one of them was simply mistaken.”
— James Rachels, The Elements of Moral Philosophy.
On economics and ethics: “ The support that believers in, and advocates of, self-interested behaviour have sought in Adam Smith is, in fact, hard to find on a wider and less biased reading of Smith. The professor of moral philosophy and the pioneer economist did not, in fact, lead a life of spectacular schizophrenia. Indeed, it is precisely the narrowing of the broad Smithian view of human beings, in modern economies, that can be seen as one of the major deficiencies of contemporary economic theory. The impoverishment is closely related to the distancing of economics from ethics.”
— Amartya Sen (Nobel Laureate in Economics), On Ethics and Economics.