07 junho 2015

Morality in finance?

I thank Manuela Silva for her blog of June 3, 2015 on my book, A Banker Reflects on MONEY, LOVE AND VIRTUE.  When I first started feeling uncomfortable about the ways of finance in the early part of the century and became interested in sustainable investment, in discussing this with my ex-colleagues on Wall St., I was told that investment is not about morality, but about making money.  Not feeling comfortable with my position, I  conceded that even if investment is not about morality, one should take into consideration other factors in the investment process, such as environmental and social impacts.

I continue to think this is true and that investment should include such important issues, but have become increasingly convinced that it is also about morality.  And I am happy to see that one of the best economic journalists of our times, Martin Wolf, is saying the same. In his article of May 25, 2015, in the Financial Times, he writes of the danger of ‘too much finance’.  And he asks: “And so what is to be done?”  He lists several possible answers, but the first is: ‘morality matters.’

This is a long way from our liberal perspective of perfect markets, with no role for virtue.  We are beginning a new road, a long road, but one going in a hopeful direction.

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