The Intellectual Origins of the Global Financial Crisis

By Roger Berkowitz; Taun N. Toay | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Capitalism, Ethics, and
the Financial Crash


In the wake of financial crashes, most postmortems tend to focus on poorly designed economic or regulatory systems. Explanations of the great crash of 2008 have been no exception, and we are all now familiar with such causes of the meltdown as cheap money, lax government watchdogs, and shady financial engineering. Inevitably, as well, there is a fair bit of moralizing that follows periods of greed and speculation, and this time around has been no different. Wall Street figures such as Richard Fuld have been demonized, and the investment bank Goldman Sachs has been cast as something of an evil empire. Also demonized have been over-leveraged Americans who bought homes that they can’t afford and the front-line mortgage brokers who signed people up for mortgage time bombs.

What has been missing, though, is a more serious probe into how the ethical climate emerged that fostered and legitimized all the bad behavior that led to the crash. This is no small gap in our understanding. If it is true that the crash can be traced as much to a decline in ethics as to any other cause, then it suggests that even the most ambitious regulatory reforms will not prevent future crises. Instead, we’ll have to deal more fundamentally with those factors that are responsible for a deterioration in ethics.

This is not as hard it sounds. Because, as it happens, any probe into what’s wrong with America’s ethics leads inevitably back to familiar terrain related to the overreach of markets and the failures of regulation. Recent scandals illuminate a growing conflict between market values and human values. Indeed, the great moral struggle today is not between traditionalism and modernism, or between faith and secularism—the


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Intellectual Origins of the Global Financial Crisis


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 220

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?