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Philosophy of Management

Volume 11, Issue 1, 2012

Philosophical Lessons from the Global Financial Crisis

Michael Schefczyk
Pages 25-38
DOI: 10.5840/pom20121119

The Financial Crisis, the Exemption View and the Problem of the Harmless Torturer

Richard Posner avers in his A Failure of Capitalism that managers bear no moral responsibility for the financial crisis. This view has numerous supporters in economics and philosophy, and I shall call it the ‘exemption view’. In this paper, I criticise four arguments for the exemption view and propose a superior alternative, the ‘participation view’. The participation view claims that managers can be co-responsible for harm, even if their actions were not necessary or sufficient conditions for its occurrence. The paper spells out three conditions for moral responsibility according to the participation view.

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