Finance and ethics, no longer an impossible combination. The new mission of the financial industry
March 22, 2017
Ethics and finance have long been two distinct and separate entities, but things could now be changing. Increasing imbalances, uncertainty and instability are factors that had an ever-greater presence and public importance in the recent economic and financial crisis. This situation has required change from the perspective of how companies work. Finance has had to adopt an ethical perspective.
On the one hand, the world of finance has accepted the need to adopt measures and incentives to ensure that their actions are ethically valid. On the other hand, from an ethical point of view, finance is starting to be seen as a valuable tool to deal with huge issues like reducing poverty and pursuing the common good.
The contributions of Paolo Garonna and Fabrizio Spaolonzi in Ethics in Finance, Finance in Ethics (LUISS University Press 2016) explore this change and present different perspectives on how the link between finance and ethics can be used constructively to, among other things, implement solidarity initiatives, promote sustainable growth, and create an ethical structure of financial institutions.
Moreover, a new ethical awareness is spreading: voters are increasingly swayed by social and environmental protection measures, consumers are taking advantage of their purchasing power to reward companies that implement solidarity strategies, and workers transfer the values they believe in to their companies, favoring transformation from within.
In order to respond to these needs while also guaranteeing the achievement of economic goals, it is necessary to make the operational context more favorable in terms of access to the labor market, education, and fiscal policies capable of attracting investments and strengthening those already in place. Additionally, the debate on social responsibility should be promoted in the business and finance community. An exhaustive response to these issues is still a long way off, but Garonna and Spaolonzi’s volume is meant to be a first step in building a better, more ethical financial sector.