A Hippocratic Oath for Bankers

Bankers destroyed the economy and in too many countries those responsible walk free despite the damage they wrought. Iceland jailed bankers at fault in their country, but what can we do to ensure that bankers behave in the future?

Doctors take the hippocratic oath in order to practice medicine, now it’s being suggested bankers need something similar. We don’t want bankers to be like people with MBAs.

In contrast to a rigid moral regime that most ethical systems call for, the theory of virtue recognises that people’s needs are all different and as a result, argues for the fulfillment of those needs in all of their distinctness. Applying this theory to banking reform means that our banks should, to the best of their abilities, attempt to meet people’s diverse financial needs, and should not simply focus on self-enrichment or basic transactional services.

This bankers’ oath would symbolise a turning point for the profession and make a much-needed encouraging signal to the public. Lawyers, doctors and architects all hold a professional motive to not only do the best for their client but also adhere to the well established principles of that profession. In medicine, the Hippocratic oath provides a centre-piece for personal responsibility in the profession and their overarching principles. Banking is no different and in the post-crash era, should strive towards professionalism.

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