• “We need to think deeply about what economic development is and who it is for; and, engage the larger society in that conversation.”

    Dr. David T. Barnard
    President and Vice-Chancellor
    University of Manitoba

  • “Rising income inequality undercuts the trust that is essential for the market system to work.”

    Art DeFehr
    President and CEO, Palliser Furniture.

  • “Investing in people in the new economy is now not just morally sound, but economically rational”

    Alan Freeman
    Cultural Economist

  • “Organizations and societies in which the top few appropriate most of the value are like inverted pyramids – inherently unstable”

    Dr. Hari Bapuji
    Associate Professor, University of Manitoba

  • “The present crisis has overturned many accepted truths: that poverty matters but inequality doesn't is one of the more important.”

    Radhika Desai
    Professor, Department of Political Studies, University of Manitoba

  • “The income gap between rich and poor, between skilled and unskilled workers, has been rising in both developed and less developed countries for a number of years. The trend is disturbing and we must find a way to turn this trend around.”

    Michael Benarroch
    Dean, I.H. Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba

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.