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The Golden Rule

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 06:27:59 GMT

There are two versions of the Golden Rule. The standard is “ Do to others what you want them to do to you” and appears in most developed religions. Colloquially it is “Those that have the gold, make the rules”. Someone raised this distinction on my work in financial ethics by asking “Are you saying participants in financial markets should be benevolent in how they price instruments?” They answer rhetorically with the observation that the reality is that the markets are motivated by greed and fear with leading market participants acting in a ‘brutish’ manner that motivates the rest to conform. On this basis, ethics needs to be ‘realistic’ in referencing the ‘facts on the ground’ and accommodate human nature. Faced with this reality, you can try to ensure the regulator is of good character (‘superiorly prudent’ to use Adam Smith’s language) and might be able to improve the functioning of markets. My correspondent referred me to the Menian Dialogue in Thucydides History of the...

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