Financial ethics: Guidance from the religions

McCosh, Andrew M (1998) Financial ethics: Guidance from the religions. MTh(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The global capital markets affect all of us. Those who work in the markets are affected most, of course, but we are all affected, at least in terms of our material welfare, by what these markets do. The markets have grown very considerably over the last thirty years. This growth has created an expectation of further growth, and there is great pressure on the capital markets workers to continue to "perform". These workers have a long history of operating in a very ethical fashion, and of dealing firmly with those few workers who have deviated. The growth in pressure to perform is a force which acts against the continued maintenance of these high standards. Ethics is one of the lifelines that protect the capital market workers from the temptation to cut corners. We will consider those ethical commands which flow from religious sources, and their implications for capital market workers. We collate the instructions of the founders and early leaders of the religions concerning business, with particular reference to finance. Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Christianity are all quite similar in what they require of the business financier. A set of thirteeen topics are found to be common ground betweeen the four religions. Of these, the majority are already almost universally practiced within the finanicial industries, and these maxims do not need any additional work beyond their maintenance. There are, however, two instructions from the religions to the financial community and which have not as yet been obeyed. The first command is that the financial community should take steps to fund improved systems for food distribution to the poorest sections of the poorest countries. They should use their considerable ingenuity to make such funding profitable as well as effective. The second command states that a financier does not have the right to deprive anyone of the probability of a livelihood without procuring the provision of adequate compensation. Six tools for implementing the second command are reviewed. These are prayer, training, and approach involving the creation of an ethical impact report, a new set of financial instruments which would diminish the number and intensity of capital market disputes, a changed system for rewarding financiers, and law. The discussion concludes that the first four of these are worth pursuing.

Item Type: Thesis (MTh(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Economics, Finance
Date of Award: 1998
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1998-73400
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/73400

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