The economic crisis that followed the 2007 subprime mortgage meltdown is, among other things, a crisis of trust. The well-known Edelman Trust Barometer (2011) reports that trust in banks has declined tremendously over the last three years, while at the same time trust in other industries and government has not undergone significant change. Banks, the study concludes, are ‘the most distrusted global industry’. But if citizens and companies distrust banks—and if banks distrust citizens and companies—a chilling effect will spread through the economy. It will be more difficult for companies to obtain credit and for citizens to obtain mortgages. The economy will slow down, unemployment will rise, and companies—or countries—will go bust. This has already happened. The social costs we pay for an untrustworthy banking sector are very high.
A few months after the sudden and dramatic collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers in September 2008, an influential white paper was published under the auspices of the Netherlands Bankers Association, entitled Restoring Trust. This paper led to the well- known Banking Code in the Netherlands, which has been active since January 2010. While the speed with which the Dutch government responded to the global economic crisis is certainly to be applauded, the available evidence cautions us not to be too optimistic about the effectiveness of the Code so far. Ethicists provide important insights from which policy makers and the banking sector can benefit greatly in their attempts to restore trust. But the concepts of trust and trustworthiness have not yet taken centre stage.
NWO-toekenningen Vrije Competitie Geesteswetenschappen, juli 2012
Prof Boudewijn de Bruin, Faculteit Wijsbegeerte en Faculteit Economie & Bedrijfskunde, RUG
Prof Alex Oliver, Philosophy Department Cambridge University
Starting in the new academic year, our Centre for Philosophy, Politics and Economics will have two new members: Justin Bruner and Ryan Doody.
Dr. Fred Keijzer, universitair hoofddocent Theoretische Filosofie en VIDI-laureaat, is benoemd tot vice-decaan van de faculteit Wijsbegeerte
Subsidie voor onderzoek naar universele morele normen door prof.dr. Pauline Kleingeld