Summary of Restoring Ethics to Economics

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According to policy expert Anthony Annett, economics needs to return to its origins in moral philosophy to regain its validity in the 21st century. In this insightful appeal, he argues that the prevailing neoclassical doctrine encourages reckless behaviors, such as those that led to climate change and to the 2008 global financial crisis. He posits that economics must consider the social and environmental costs of economic activities. getAbstract recommends Annett’s well-presented and compelling case to government and business leaders as well as to economists.

About the Author

Anthony Annett is an assistant to the director of the IMF’s Communications Department. 



Many people today question the neoclassical economic assumption of “homo economicus” – the idea that individuals focus strictly on maximizing their material outcomes within free and competitive markets. Developments such as income inequality, the effects of globalization, the fallout from the global financial crisis and the environmental impacts of climate change are converging to expose the hollowness of this premise. Applying this neoclassical doctrine has reduced trust in institutions and fueled an accompanying rise in nationalism and extremism.


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