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Ethics and the Global Financial Crisis
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Book description

In this topical book, Boudewijn de Bruin examines the ethical 'blind spots' that lay at the heart of the global financial crisis. He argues that the most important moral problem in finance is not the 'greed is good' culture, but rather the epistemic shortcomings of bankers, clients, rating agencies and regulators. Drawing on insights from economics, psychology and philosophy, de Bruin develops a novel theory of epistemic virtue and applies it to racist and sexist lending practices, subprime mortgages, CEO hubris, the Madoff scandal, professionalism in accountancy and regulatory outsourcing of epistemic responsibility. With its multidisciplinary reach, Ethics and the Global Financial Crisis will appeal to scholars working in philosophy, business ethics, economics, psychology and the sociology of finance. The many concrete examples and case studies mean that this book will also prove useful to policy-makers and regulators.


'The witty aphorism, 'never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity', suggests that malice and stupidity are distinct, that ethics and knowledge are two separate aspects of decision making. But what if they are closely connected? The author of this original and insightful book, Boudewijn de Bruin, brings together classical ethical theory, recent psychological research, and a deep understanding of modern financial practice to offer a prescription for reforming our troubled financial system that focuses on the character of decision makers. The provocative idea that the act of knowing has a moral dimension and carries with it moral responsibility provides a novel and fruitful approach to much-needed financial reform.'

John Boatright - Raymond C. Baumhart, S. J., Graduate School of Business, Loyola University Chicago

'Ethics and the Global Financial Crisis takes a distinctive, refreshing and practical approach to the financial disaster of 2008 and its legacy. Boudewijn de Bruin concentrates not on macroeconomic policy, but on remediable failings in financial institutions. He argues convincingly that the crash reflected not only dishonesty and greed, but widespread institutional and individual incompetence, and shows why trustworthy financial services need to meet rigorous epistemic as well as ethical standards.'

Baroness Onora O’Neill - Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge

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  • 1 - Financial ethics: virtues in the market
    pp 23-44


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