Can a Good Person be a Good Trader? An Ethical Defense of Financial Trading

Journal of Business Ethics 159 (1):89-103 (2017)
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Abstract

In a 2015 article entitled “The Irrelevance of Ethics,” MacIntyre argues that acquiring the moral virtues would undermine someone’s capacity to be a good trader in the financial system and, conversely, that a proper training in the virtues of good trading directly militates against the acquisition of the moral virtues. In this paper, we reconsider MacIntyre’s rather damning indictment of financial trading, arguing that his negative assessment is overstated. The financial system is in fact more internally diverse and dynamic, and more reformable, than suggested by MacIntyre’s treatment. The challenge at the heart of MacIntyre’s claims can be crystallized in the question, “under which conditions, if any, can a person be an effective trader and simultaneously live a worthy human life?” We conclude that there are realistic possibilities of integrity and growth in moral virtue for those who work in the financial sector, at least for those operating in a work environment minimally permissive toward virtue, provided they possess characters of integrity and genuine aptitude for the skills and attitudes required in their professional tasks.

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References found in this work

After virtue: a study in moral theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1981 - Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press.
Nicomachean ethics. Aristotle - 1999 - New York: Clarendon Press. Edited by Michael Pakaluk. Translated by Michael Pakaluk.
Responsibility for Justice.Iris Marion Young - 2011 - , US: Oxford University Press USA.
Modern Moral Philosophy.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1958 - Philosophy 33 (124):1 - 19.

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