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Conscious Finance

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Conscious Finance

  1. 1. IFF San Francisco Nov. 17, 2010 MARIA PEREIRA Conscious Finance
  2. 2. Interconnecting Levels of Perception
  3. 3. Outline of Project <ul><li>Part I – Laying the Framework: Philosophical Thought, Social Norms and Recent Developments in Neuroscience </li></ul><ul><li>Part II – Creating the Framework: How the Financial Paradigm Can Evolve with an Increase in Human Consciousness </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Financial Paradigm <ul><li>Neo-liberalism: institutional blind faith in unfettered markets led to crisis </li></ul><ul><li>Political response: legislation </li></ul><ul><li>And yet... </li></ul><ul><li>“ We can’t legislate wisdom or passion. All we can do is create the structures and hope that good people will be appointed who will attract other good people.” </li></ul><ul><li>(C Dodd, NYT, July 16, 2010) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Incorporating philosophy into the financial/economic discourse <ul><li>Subjectivity vs. Objectivity </li></ul><ul><li>Adam Smith </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Adopted as father of market liberalism: The Wealth of Nations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And yet, believed in human capacity for ‘sympathy’ and societal predisposition for human goodness: The Theory of Moral Sentiments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A utilitarian: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ the greatest happiness for the greatest number” </li></ul>
  6. 6. Why do we consume? <ul><li>Pleasure </li></ul><ul><li>Desire </li></ul><ul><li>Love </li></ul><ul><li>Irving Singer </li></ul><ul><li>Luc Ferry: </li></ul><ul><li>The Revolution of Love: Spirituality for the Laity (2010) </li></ul>
  7. 7. What kind of society do we want? <ul><li>“ Commercialization of modern eating away at the very heart of social life, not merely by putting salesmanship in place of moral virtue, but by putting everything – virtue included – on sale.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The ethical vision safeguards social sense to our lives. But it is demanding.” </li></ul><ul><li>Roger Scruton (2000) Modern Culture </li></ul>
  8. 8. What type of person are we? <ul><li>Egoistic </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enlightenment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Freud </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Compassionate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Auguste Comte: no self-interest can rival universal love </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jeremy Rifkind: biosphere empathy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teilhard de Chardin: evolution of consciousness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Luc Ferry: revolution of love </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Findings in Neuroscience <ul><li>Martin Hoffman </li></ul><ul><li>Jean-Pierre Changeux / Paul Ricoeur </li></ul><ul><li>Antonio Damasio </li></ul><ul><li>Francisco Varela </li></ul>
  10. 10. Role of Language <ul><li>“ the thinking life” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Language and cognition are deeply intertwined.” (Jackendoff) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Language is a sophisticated mechanism for expressing empathic communication.” (Arbib) </li></ul><ul><li>What is the current economic/financial language? </li></ul>
  11. 11. Importance of Reflection <ul><li>Discussion of reflection in neuroscience </li></ul><ul><li>Middle Ages: no knowledge is complete without both </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ratio: discursive, logical thought </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intellectus: intuitive understanding of the truth, arrived at through contemplation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ It is necessary for the perfection of human society that there should be men who devote their lives to contemplation.” (Thomas Aquinas) </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Theory of Society <ul><li>“ History is but a succession of changes.” (Victor Hugo) </li></ul><ul><li>Homeostatic loops: causal factors which have a feedback effect in system reproduction, where that feedback is largely the outcome of unintended consequences </li></ul><ul><li>“ Human history is created by intentional activities but not an intended project.” (Anthony Giddens) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Marcuse: civilization as a movement from barbarism Barbarism Civilization Immediate satisfaction Delayed satisfaction Pleasure Restraint of pleasure Joy (play) Toil (work) Receptiveness Productiveness Absence of repression Security
  14. 14. Discussion: Part I <ul><li>Incorporating philosophy into economics: subjectivity vs. objectivity </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we consume? </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of society do we want? </li></ul><ul><li>How is the human person? </li></ul><ul><li>Findings in neuroscience </li></ul><ul><li>Language </li></ul><ul><li>Reflection </li></ul><ul><li>From empathy to ethics </li></ul><ul><li>Theory of society </li></ul>
  15. 15. Part II: Creating the new financial paradigm <ul><li>What drives the financial apparatus? </li></ul><ul><li>A review of the history of finance and its evolution </li></ul><ul><li>A brief analysis of the interaction of human behavior and the financial system </li></ul><ul><li>A proposal for necessary financial reform – relating it to philosophical thought, social behavior, recent developments in neuroscience, and increasing consciousness and empathy </li></ul><ul><li>Building the future: the importance of education, reflection and ethics to ensure financial and social harmony. </li></ul>
  16. 16. G20 Meeting, Seoul, Nov. 2010 <ul><li>“ I kind of feel like I’m living in parallel Korea I feel...warmth...and the sense of trying to have a dialogue...but then when I get back to my real universe, it’s cold in that universe.” Vikram Pandit, CEO Citigroup </li></ul><ul><li>“ There needs to be a mind shift away from making money to earning money in the proper sense.” Angela Merkel </li></ul>
  17. 17. Review of the evolution of finance <ul><li>What is the role of money? </li></ul><ul><li>Oikonomia </li></ul><ul><li>What is the human role in society? </li></ul><ul><li>Homo economicus? </li></ul><ul><li>Homo empaticus? </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated homo? </li></ul>
  18. 18. What caused market failure? <ul><li>Blind faith in unfettered markets: </li></ul><ul><li>“ a simple, constant and clearly communicated ideology of market efficiency and investor rationality leading to equilibrium” (Adair Turner) </li></ul><ul><li>Human behavior: </li></ul><ul><li>“ today’s financial crisis is, at heart, a crisis of trust, a loss of confidence in counterparties and regulators” (Onora O’Neill) </li></ul>
  19. 19. Prerequisites of financial reform <ul><li>Root causes of breakdown must be addressed: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Addiction to growth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resource constraints (financial and ecological) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consumption paradigm: from what is happiness derived? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Financial modeling and speculation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Expanded metrics and regulation cannot solve problem </li></ul><ul><li>Trust and responsibility must be restored </li></ul><ul><li>Ethical invesment is not an asset class, but an all pervasive requirement </li></ul>
  20. 20. Building the future <ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Virtue derived from within </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics stemming from empathy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ the self like the other” (Paul Ricoeur) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Community </li></ul>
  21. 21. Discussion: Part II <ul><li>Role of money </li></ul><ul><li>Root causes of necessary financial reform </li></ul><ul><li>Human causes of market failure </li></ul><ul><li>Metrics </li></ul><ul><li>Restoration of trust: virtue and ethics </li></ul><ul><li>Building the future </li></ul>