ALL PEOPLE ARE NOT MORALLY SOUND
Christine Lagarde, IMF Managing Director , IMF, speaks (16 Swptember) at the International Bar Association Conference, Washington, DC HERE
“Mending the Trust Divide”
“I started my intervention by appealing to Aristotle’s ancient wisdom. Let me close by appealing to the wisdom of a founding father of modern day economics – Adam Smith.
To many of us, Adam Smith is perhaps best known for terms such as “self-interest”, “laissez-faire” and the famous “invisible hand.” Yet for Smith, the classical discipline of economics was always a branch of moral philosophy. Indeed, for him, the market would only work effectively if it was underpinned by trust: the baker that is featured in the Wealth of Nations would only be able to sell his goods if he or she was trusted.
In his Theory of Moral Sentiments, published in 1790, Smith elaborated on the importance of trust and good citizenry.
As noted by Smith: “Concern for our own happiness recommends to us the virtue of prudence: concern for that of other people, the virtues of justice and beneficence…the one restrains us from hurting, the other prompts us to promote happiness.”[6th edition: VI.III.54).
These two great thinkers – Aristotle and Smith – millennia apart, cherished and upheld the value of good citizenry. This is no coincidence. Good citizenry is critical for nurturing trust. And that is the glue that holds economic systems, and ultimately societies, together.”
Except that there has always been participants in the market and government, and in all systems of society under all social systems, both theological and secular, the presence of morally corrupt people in all ranks. Including, sad to say, occasionaly in the IMF.