Ideology, Social Ethos, and the Financial Crisis

Journal of Ethics 16 (3):273-303 (2012)
Abstract
The crisis of 2008–2009 has been viewed primarily as a financial one, which has spilled over into the economy more generally. I want to argue that there is a much deeper crisis, of which the present one is a result. The deeper crisis is political: more specifically, it is a crisis in the ideology and social ethos of the American people. I refer to what has happened to the thinking of United States citizens since the Second World War, and the dangers that that transformation entails for world peace and cooperation—let alone the creation of an economic regime in which deep financial crises do not occur. Short of a change in the ideology of a many of its citizens, I do not believe the United States can succeed in preventing a repeat performance, perhaps many encores, which become increasingly severe.
Keywords G. A. Cohen  Economic distribution  Financial crisis  Justice  Politics  John Rawls  Social ethos  Incentive theory
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