Chciwość w świecie finansów? Problem użyteczności przednowoczesnych kategorii moralnych

Słowa kluczowe: business ethics, finance, modernity, morality, greed


The basic question posed in this article refers to the problem of relevance of pre-modern moral categories to today’s ethical argumentation concerning business and finance. Since the financial crisis of 2007–2009 a revival of interest in the notion of greed has been noticeable. After the fall of Lehman Brothers in 2008, greed as an excessive desire for wealth became the popular catchword. However the question arises is it really possible that financial crisis resulted because of egoistic pursuit of self-interest and not because of regulatory neglect or others systemic failures? To answer this question the notion of greed is analyzed in its historical religious context of the evolution of Christian dogma in the Middle Ages. Greed as a cardinal sin was part of cultural construction of morality and something fundamental to the social order. Today however the use of this notion can do more harm than good. Instead of turning our attention to structural issues of the market it offers an explanation in terms of personal desires and idiosyncrasies. This type can easily trigger the scapegoating mechanism which soon can restore to life old prejudices and stereotypes.