Skip to main content

Über dieses Buch

Discussing ethics applied to finance can become a trivial and selfjustifying task if left to the practical men, or a task with no connection to reality, if performed by philosophers. This book, however, turns out to be an exciting piece of work, useful, provocative, full of ideas and suggestions, as experts in ethics discuss specific issues related to the financial institutions and markets, with the men and women that carry out the daily practice in such institutions and markets, as well as with scholars of economics and finance. Thus, the book covers everything from daily subjects to issues of a deeper nature, using a simple and clear language with solid foundations in economics and ethics, from a necessarily plural and open perspective.



Chapter 1. The Treatment of Ethical Problems in Financial Institutions and Markets

Ethics is in vogue in the world of business, probably because there is an alarming lack of ethics in the business world — although probably no more than there is in personal, family, political or social life.
Antonio Argandoña

Chapter 2. Ethics and Regulation in Financial Institutions and Markets

This paper proposes to show the opportuneness and importance of ethical considerations and of efficiency, and to conclude that there is a need for some regulation in the financial sector (particularly as regards the evaluation and management of risk and information.)
Federico Basáñez, Luís Cortés

Chapter 3. Social and Institutional Responsibility in Banking

I am going to start with the conclusions to be drawn from this paper, just in case they are not very clear at the end. The initial reaction — which is psychological, but real all the same — to abstract concepts such as “social responsibility” could be as follows: a difficult idea to put into practice, a nuisance to business which might, at best, serve to clear consciences. However, emergency situations arise in society which may justify anyone moving into the front line who is capable of doing so. In other words, if I can help to prevent wrong from being done, then I am obliged to act. Power becomes duty when the wrong is profound.
José María Ortiz, Nekane Echevarría

Chapter 4. On the Social Responsibility of Banking

I feel that a precise definition of the “abstract concept” of social responsibility is all the more important when we are talking about social responsibility in banking, because there is a sort of oral tradition in banking which suggests that banking fulfils its social responsibility by supporting and promoting certain artistic and cultural activities. Thus, financing exhibitions, purchasing works of art, or providing economic support for scientific research are the material manifestations of what could be interpreted as social responsibility. This idea probably originates from the behaviour patterns of some American banks, especially Chase Manhattan in the glorious days of the patronage of the Rockefeller family. Our own Banco Urquijo was, at one time, another brilliant characteristic example of this type of action (“a humanist bank”). However, it is — at the very least — risky to believe that this type of action covers the social responsibility of financial institutions.
Luis A. Lerena

Chapter 5. Ethics in the Management of Financial Institutions

We sometimes forget that ethics and economics have something in common: they both deal with goods. Ethics deals with goods in general, while economics is restricted to a certain type of goods. That is to say, ethics studies goods in its broadest sense, i.e. not only economic goods, but goods of all types (Garay 1994b, pp. 1–19).
Jesús de Garay

Chapter 6. Ethics in Financial Institutions

I will begin with a premise on which my subsequent reflections are based; that the management and administration of a financial institution is essentially an ethical task, whether one likes it or not. The premise is correct in its strictest sense; it would not be so, of course, in the ordinary sense when “ethical”, meaning good or correct, is regarded as being the opposite of unethical, meaning bad or incorrect. In the ordinary sense, the management of a financial institution is not necessarily ethical; it can obviously be unethical.
Rafael Termes

Chapter 7. Ethical Issues in Financial Markets: The American Experience

Most people, most institutions, and even most politicians and governmental officials are decent, well-meaning people. Ethical issues sometimes occur not because people are evil or even greedy, but because the way in which their view a situation belies its ethical import. The model of financial markets one adopts, that is, the way one thinks markets operate or should operate, affects one’s perception of those markets and whether and how one focuses on its ethical issues. Part of this model or perception is derived from the political, ideological, and economic context, (in the cases I shall discuss, the United States), and part from individual mores, corporate culture, or more global perspectives. Often ethical dilemmas arise because of a narrow perception of what is at issue, or because one has failed to see clearly how one’s model or point of view concerning financial markets may be incomplete, narrow, or even erroneous. Often, too, that perspective does not include a moral point of view. Managers, traders, CEOs, financial analysts, and bankers do not always think clearly about the normative implications of their decisions and actions-how they will affect (positively or negatively) the well-being other people and other institutions, nor how their actions may or may not treat people fairly, respect them and their rights as human beings. This “moral muteness“ in turn can have dilatory economic as well as moral effects. By illuminating these models one can sometimes begin to clear up these problems.
Patricia H. Werhane

Chapter 8. Comment on Patricia H. Werhane

The traditional role of a discussant of an academic paper in the AngloSaxon world seems to be to criticise. This role raises its own ethical dilemmas. Especially in the context in which the primary author has done a great deal of work, without which the discussant would have no role at all. Indeed, in the present context criticism would be inappropriate for two reasons. Firstly, the author is an established expert in the field of business ethics, while the discussant is not. Secondly, there is almost nothing in the paper with which I could greatly disagree. However, I think it fair to comment that Professor Werhane stays on safe ground by focusing mainly on the identification of ethical dilemmas and less on the more difficult solutions. In the absence of disagreements it is, nonetheless, incumbent upon me to say something. So I thought that it might be helpful to add some observations from a British perspective.
K. Alec Chrystal

Chapter 9. Comment on Patricia H. Werhane

I found this paper by Professor Werhane to be a thought provoking piece. It certainly lead me to think about a number of issues which I previously had not considered. It seems that financial ethics as a field is still in its infancy. I believe that projects such as this research conference will play an important role in its development.
A. Craig McKinlay

Chapter 10. The Ethics of Banking On the Ethical Economy of the Credit and Capital Market, of Speculation and Insider Trading in the German Experience

A developed money, credit and capital market which provides the economy with the financial resources necessary for economic transactions and growth is a generally acclaimed hallmark of economic development. Banks play a vital role as the intermediary institutions in the money, credit and capital market. They mediate the money supply in the money market between the central bank and the economy. They mediate credit between the demand for credit and the supply of savings, and they finally function as mediator between industry’s demand for capital and secured loans and the supply of capital from industry, financial immediaries and private individuals. Banks are therefore the intermediators par excellence. In a system of universal banking as the German banking system, banks are, however, not only intermediaries for investment but also judges of investors and of alternative investment uses of capital as well as of the creditworthiness of their customers in the credit market. They are not only mediating, but constantly evaluating risks and creditworthiness. Banks furthermore act as investors for their own account in the stock exchange and give advice to institutional and private investors for their investment in the capital market. Their roles as evaluators and judges in the credit market and as investors and consultants to other investors in the capital market cause that they are influential factors in the economic process far beyond their function as mediators between savings and investments.
Peter Koslowski

Chapter 11. Comment on Peter Koslowski and Bettina Löhnert: Rules of Action for Banking: the German Experience

I am very pleased to discuss a paper on banking written by philosophers. Although the interdisciplinary approach is often praised, it is rarely put into practice. This is an excellent occasion for interdisciplinary efforts in the area of banking.
Günter Franke

Chapter 12. Ethical Behaviour in Banking: A General Equilibrium View

In the present note, I offer some reflections on the theme of ethical behaviour in the economic sphere based on standard general equilibrium theorising and I propose a few illustrations relevant to the banking sector.
Jean-Pierre Danthine

Chapter 13. The Structure of the German Banking System and its Ethical Implications

The institutional peculiarities of the German banking system and some consequences for the business ethics of banking shall be investigated in this paper. It analyses the problem of the power potential of banks in the universal banking system and the close bank-industry relationship linked to it.
Bettina Löhnert


Weitere Informationen