Monday, March 12, 2012
Bringing Ethics and Economics Together
By Alan Freeman
A new venture starts this Monday, 12th March: an online conference on ethics and economics. It is unusual for two reasons. First, economists are not in the habit of discussing ethics. In fact, the American Economic Association, at its last annual meeting in January, adopted ethical guidelines - for the first time in its 125-year history - under considerable pressure after the scandals revealed in the outstanding film ‘Inside Job’.
Second, the conference is online, which means that anybody can participate from anywhere in the world. 25 papers have been posted on the conference site, organized by the newly-formed World Economics Association. The WEA, which promotes critical analysis of mainstream economics and supports the principle of pluralism, has reached 7,700 members worldwide and hopes to reach 10,000 by its anniversary in May.
The topics listed for discussion are:
- What constitutes ethical conduct for economists?
- Should economics have an ethical content?
- Is Economics really a Positive Science?
- The theory and practice of ethics
The discussion will go on until April 15th and readers of this site are cordially invited to take part and follow the debate. You can read the papers by just visiting the site. To join the discussion, register using the link at the top right of the main page. You will need to be a wordpress.com subscriber - but the site will take you through the needed steps.