Financial Ethics Examined by New Research Group

A new international research group studying moral and political issues related to the financial system will be coordinated from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. The recent economic crises and dissatisfaction with how actors in the financial markets view their social responsibility led to the formation of the group, says research director Joakim Sandberg.

‘The financial crisis a few years back can partly be attributed to the selfishness and lack of social responsibility observed in the financial markets. Maybe the market actors thought the ethics issue was someone else’s job, but the crisis shows that standard economic thinking is insufficient,’ says Sandberg, associate professor of practical philosophy at the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg.

The new research group is aiming to develop a new theory concerning the social and environmental responsibility of financial actors. The group will also study specific reform proposals, such as tougher legislation regarding financial risks, fairer pay schemes for business leaders and various measures to make shareholders and consumers more active.

‘A lot of people want to see changed rules and a transition to a more sustainable financial approach. But it is important that the transition is planned and carried out carefully, or else there might not be much change. The first thing we need is a clear goal and a realistic plan for how to get there, that is to say, we need a good theory,’ says Sandberg.

The research group consists of four researchers with PhDs in various fields as well as four current PhD students. The members have been recruited mainly from European countries to further strengthen the University of Gothenburg in the areas of sustainability development and global challenges. The initiative is funded by the University of Gothenburg, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation and the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra).

Contact:

Joakim Sandberg, joakim.sandberg@gu.se , +46 (0)31-786 4571, +46 (0)708 35 65 32
Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science

Press and media contact: Monica Havström, +46 (0)31 786 3042, monica.havstrom@gu.se

Photo: Monica Havström, University of Gothenburg

University of Gothenburg is one of the major universities in Europe, with about 37 800 students and a staff of 6 200. Its eight faculties offer training in the Creative Arts, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Humanities, Education, Information Technology, Business, Economics and Law, and Health Sciences. The University’s unique breadth in education and research provides an interdisciplinary environment conducive to collaboration with private enterprise and public institutions. The quality of the University has earned recognition in the form of numerous awards, including a recent Nobel Prize, and a steady stream of applicants at all levels.

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