The Economics of Good and Evil

16th Jun 2011; 13:00

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RSA Thursday


What is the meaning and the point of economics? Can we do ethically all that we can do technically?

Former economic advisor to President Vaclav Havel, and one of the ‘5 Hot Minds in Economics’, Tomas Sedlacek visits the RSA to ask – does it pay to be good?

Economics is touted as a science, a value-free mathematical inquiry, but Sedlacek will argue that it is actually a cultural phenomenon, a product of our civilization. It began within philosophy--Adam Smith himself not only wrote The Wealth of Nations, but also The Theory of Moral Sentiments--and is also woven out of history, myth, religion, and ethics.

Looking at the ways societies have reconciled their moral values with economics forces, he concludes that society must return to a time when economics was more accountable to moral principles.

Chair: Stephen Topping, managing consultant, Europe Economics

Twitter logoSuggested hashtag for Twitter users: #RSATomas

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