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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Get Help Choosing an Ethical Career

80,000 Hours is a student run organization at Oxford University that helps people find a job or career in something that makes the world better. This is great for so many obvious reasons – but the one I love the most is that it shows how philosophy can be applied in your life everyday.

Do you want to spend 8 (or more) hours a day just earning a couple dollars when you can get paid to make the planet, people, and the world better?

According to the organization’s view of ethics-as-impact, a do-gooder job only “does good” insofar as you are better at it than the person who would have filled the job otherwise. “This is the replaceability factor,” says MacAskill. “The difference between you and the person who would have been in your shoes.” If you’re fully replaceable, you are, quite literally, not making a difference.

Read more at Co.Exist.

New Way to Examine Consciousness in Comatose Patients

There are a lot of ethical issues about what to do with a person in a vegetative state in a hospital, and sometimes pulling the plug (so to speak) isn’t the best course of action. Thanks to some smart researchers we can now tell which patients are still thinking and which patients have no activity in their brain.

“You spend a week with one of these patients and at no point does it seem at all they know what you are saying when you are talking to them. Then you do this experiment and find it’s the exact opposite — they do know what’s going on,” said Damian Cruse, a postdoctoral neuroscientist at the University of Western Ontario in Canada who helped conduct the research. “That’s quite a profound feeling.”

The results and similar findings could also provide crucial insights into human consciousness — one of the most perplexing scientific puzzles — and lead to ways to better provide diagnoses and possibly rehabilitate brain-injury patients, the researchers said.

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