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date: 20 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter analyzes the financial crisis from three ethical perspectives. It starts from utilitarianism, the ethical theory underlying neoclassical economics, which has partly driven the crisis. The best-known alternative is deontology, a rule-based ethics. This has failed to prevent the crisis because the dominant utilitarianism has undermined professionals’ belief in universal rules. The third approach is the ethics of care, a relational ethics grounded in moral commitments between people in their particular contexts, which emerged from research on families, households, and healthcare. There are two case studies that illustrate that the ethics of care is not necessarily limited to micro practices shaped by women’s traditional roles as caregivers. One case is on “caring finance” in Rabobank, and the other is on gender differences in financial behavior. They illustrate that the ethics of care deserves more attention from economists.

Keywords: deontology, ethics of care, financial crisis, gender, Rabobank, utilitarianism

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