City of London

Ever since it first emerged, capitalism has been accused by its detractors of encouraging greed and selfishness.  Its defenders have responded either that this is not so, or that selfish behaviour is redeemed by its socially beneficial effects of greater economic growth. The financial crisis has triggered soul-searching about our economic system. Surprisingly perhaps, the questioning has come from capitalism’s most committed practitioners: bankers. Stephen Green, HSBC chairman, has written a book about morality and money. Ken Costa, Lazard International chairman, writes: “We are doomed to repeat our mistakes if we do not restore sound ethics to economic behaviour.”

Can capitalism only work if its participants also obey moral values beyond pursuing their self-interest? If so, what needs to be done? Or is the genius of capitalism that it can produce benefits for society even if individuals work for none other than themselves? Was the crisis primarily a result of bad policy or of immoral behaviour? Is there a place for morals in finance? Join the debate. Click on Comment to share your views.

Related:

FT: Ken Costa: Tame the markets to make capitalism ethical
FT: Bankers lectured on the value of morals 
FT: Money and morals videos 
FT: Ethics alone will not prevent financial crises

Arena

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Is there room for morals in finance?

The FT's Arena blog is a forum for the debates of the times. Its latest discussion is on money and morals. Is there room for morals in finance? Share your views. Click on Comment to add your contribution.

Related links:
Video series: Money and morals
In depth: London fights for its future
Global financial crisis

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