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Taking the FloorModels, Morals, and Management in a Wall Street Trading Room$
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Daniel Beunza

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691162812

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691162812.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Taking the Floor

Daniel Beunza

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter considers recent developments in financial reform within the United States and the United Kingdom. What emerges from these developments is a novel approach to financial reform, ostensibly aimed at bank culture but substantively centered on morality in the financial industry. This approach, the chapter argues, is really about ethics and conduct. The bank culture agenda thus stands in contrast with the traditional regulatory emphasis on outlawing misconduct and aligning incentives. Moral norms, unlike laws or incentives, do not speak to interests, but to underlying assumptions, prevailing customs, and the institutionalized definitions of right and wrong. By underscoring the moral dimension of markets, the new approach equates to an implicit admission that no amount of tinkering with bonuses or legal rules can, in the absence of ethical change, address the shortcomings of the financial industry.

Keywords:   financial reform, bank culture, morality, financial industry, ethics, moral norms

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