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The End of Ethics and the Way Back: Markets Degenerate Without Honesty and Trust

The Legatum Institute hosted Ted Roosevelt Malloch, Chairman and CEO of The Global Fiduciary Governance LLC, for a luncheon discussion on his new book, ‘The End of Ethics and the Way Back’.

Malloch discussed a wide range of research showing that notions of virtue and levels of trust have been eroded in our society, why this matters, and laid out the essential role the “arc of trust” plays in markets. In particular, Malloch discussed recent surveys that show how students at top level business schools don’t mind “a little bit of lying, or a little bit of stealing.” This, Malloch argues, is indicative of the wider trend that it has become acceptable to bend the rules in order to get ahead – because nearly everyone does it anyway.

Malloch referenced a 1950s book by German author Wilhelm Röpke, The Humane Economy. Röpke argued that without honesty and trust, the market will degenerate and the economy will spin out of control. Malloch builds on these arguments in his account of a way forward, and argues that we will fall further and further behind on a personal, corporate, cultural and societal level unless we restore a basic level of trust.

While his book takes a close look at “the worst of the worst cases of recent economic vice,” Malloch still thinks the glass is half full. “My book is about refilling it.”

Source: Legatum Institute



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