Back to the Future: Apocalypse Now

Part Three of "Time to Talk About the Public Interest"
Aug 20, 2013 12:30 PM ET

Murninghan Post Blog

Third in a Series: Time to Talk About the Public Interest

The TakeAway: In a society saturated with market values, we need to recoup the idea of civic virtue, and the civic moral obligations of wealth. This has philosophical and practical significance for any discussion of sustainability, responsible investing, and the 21st century fiduciary—something well beyond the loose canons of Modern Portfolio Theory that have led us astray.

As Steve Lydenberg has argued [in his award-winning paper Reason, Rationality, and Fiduciary Duty], the corporate responsibility and ethical investing movements have much to contribute [in altering our idea of fiduciary duty]. So, too, does the dynamic field of corporate governance, and the relatively new field of Islamic finance, the basis of the important work of the Harvard Islamic Finance Project. These various efforts shed light on the civic moral purpose of capitalism, of values in public life, because they stem from a shared set of guiding concepts and vocabulary having civic moral meaning—even if these concepts and vocabulary remain veiled....(please continue reading...