Morality must be safeguarded by the citizens

Morality must be safeguarded by the citizens

I was listening to the radio the other day and the speaker said something to the effect ‘let the market decide the value of our higher education system…and the market appears to think that our higher education system is doing a good job’.

Is it wise to allow the market to set the standard of value for our colleges and universities?

Philosopher, tycoon, philanthropist, author, and international political activist George Soros said in his book “Open Society” that as an anonymous market participant I never had to weigh the social consequences of my action. “Still my decisions had social consequences…When I sold sterling short in 1992, the Bank of England was on the other side of my transactions, and I was in effect taking money out of the pockets of British taxpayers…Britain would have devalued sterling whether I had been born or not.”

Soros makes clear that he recognizes that the argument ‘If I didn’t do it someone else would’ holds true only for financial markets. Anonymous market participants are immune from moral considerations as long as they play by the rules. In this sense financial markets are not immoral; they are amoral.

There is a difference between immorality and amorality. Amorality makes markets more efficient and without this difference such markets could not flourish. Soros argues that such an argument applies to the person who considers her or him self as being a moral person or not.

Collective values must be safe guarded by collective political and civic actions and institutions. The amorality of the markets makes it essential that social values find expression in the rules that govern financial markets.

Rules are made by the authorities and the authorities are chosen by the citizens. Morality must be safeguarded by the citizens. If the citizen fails to meet some minimum level of civic responsibility, is that citizen acting in an amoral manner or in an immoral manner?