The Center for Ethics, Capital Markets and Political Economy is a non-profit organization established in 1994 to provide a discussion forum and information resource for persons who believe that moral concerns should be taken into account in economic and political thinking.

The basic idea is that the concepts and vocabulary of economics no longer incorporate the moral standards according to which most people live their lives. This has caused ways of thinking and acting to evolve in the finance and public policy arenas which no longer connect with the general moral consensus. The Center proposes to act as faciltator in reconnecting the two by closely examining political economic concepts and practices in an interactive forum and then using the resources of communications technology to generate a public discussion which can give voice to the moral consensus as it relates to issues of political economy.

All areas of activity which involve the interplay between governmental policy and markets are fair game for analysis and discussion. This produces specific projects in seemingly diverse subject areas as globalization of financial markets, fairness in tax and fiscal issues, human rights, and the world environment.

The Center's approach will be to examine the practical issues of capital markets and public policy but do so working back and forth from the level of concept to the level of practice. The attempt will be to develop, in the process, a method of political economic analysis which is grounded conceptually but is not ideological. Dominant economic concepts like risk, competition, probability, cost/benefit, Rational Choice, political realism etc. will be subjected to close scrutiny using topical practical examples.

The Center is engaged in a number of ethics learning activities:

The Center's current projects fall into two general categories, The New Dialogue and Ethics in a Changing World which are briefly described below and in greater detail in the accompanying pages. Ethics learning materials related to these topics can also be found in the linked pages. Please take the time to browse, read, and respond. All are invited to participate in the New Dialogue and other center discussions through the "visitor comment" channel located at many points throughout the discussions as well as in the "Get Involved" section below.

New Dialogue:

The New Dialogue is structured as an on-going moral discussion which takes as a starting point the widespread concern that our society has lost its moral bearings. The New Dialogue tries to address this concern by offering a forum for thinking about basic values and beliefs and considering questions of human nature and purposes of society against the backdrop of pressing political and economic realities. To keep in mind that this effort has both a reflective and practical dimension, one might view the the discussion as situated in the active and useful space between the philosophical dialogues of the classical tradition and the familiar ethical debate over a cup of coffee in your local roadside diner.

Ethics and a Changing World:

Though the word ethics is frequently heard as a term of indictment, moral reflection has come in recent times to occupy a more and more tenuous position in everyday thinking. Of late, however, there seems to be a growing awareness that an understanding of moral categories and a facility in moral evalution are essential as societies strive to come to terms with a fast changing world.

Recognizing this growing interest, the Center has formulated two initiatives. One is an attempt to aid in the reintroduction of a moral vocabulary into the areas of International Affairs, Public Policy, and Financial Theory. The Center uses the "Meeting at the Center" forum, "ethics behind the news" essays, position papers, seminars -- available on-line--to illustrate how ethical considerations come to bear in even the most technical areas.

The second initiative involves the design of ethics learning programs to provide leaders in business, public policy, and education a way to recover the moral voice in their institutions and to increase the facility with which the people in these institutions handle everyday activities.

Get Involved with the Center:

For a free society to thrive, there must be a forum for exchanging views on connections between fundamental values and the matters of daily life. The Center is one such forum. Here you will find different ways to become involved with the Center by joining the conversation and supporting its activities.

People at the Center:

Meet the people at the Center. The staff is small and views its role as stimulating and facilitating productive conversation and distilling material that might be used in ethics learning programs. The success of the Center's activities will depend on those who visit, participate and recruit others to the conversation. Since visitors are important to the work of the Center, a visitor profile will appear on the "people" page on a regular basis.

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