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February 12, 2010


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What are the readings for your ethics course? I followed the link but wasn't able to find a reading list. I'd be curious.

As for the quote, I don't think it's well thought out. For one, that's not really what Smith said- it's not greed, or need not be, that motivates people on his account. He has a much more subtle and interesting view than that, and self-interest or advantage [the terms Smith uses] need not be greed, anyway. (Henderson should read the real text, along with some of the Theory of Moral Sentiments, and read some Bishop Butler, to get a better view of what Smith really thought.) And it's not clear at all why he thinks the things that are unpleasant are "likely" the real motivations for his loving his wife. Does he have evidence for this? We might, in some cases, but it's unlikely that those would be the "real" motives and not have them leave evidence. But many people love others with no evidence of these being the "real" motives at all. In such cases, unless one is in the grips of a theory, there's no need to think there are deeper, "real" motives behind the surface ones. (Butler is again good on this.)

Kim Krawiec

Hi Matt -- I just emailed you the Taboo Trades syllabus. I wasn't sure whether you were looking for the reading list for the financial crisis readings in ethics course, or the taboo trades seminar. The reading for the former is:

(1) Michael Lewis, Liar's Poker
(2) George A. Akerlof & Robert J. Shiller Animal Spirits.
(3) William D. Cohan, House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street (Hardcover)
(4) Reinhart & Rogoff, This Time is Different.
(5) Roger Lowenstein, When Genius Failed.
(6) One more book to be decided, but possibly the new Michael Lewis or Andrew Ross Sorkin books.

The class is a full year course, so it started in August and meets once a month either at my house or at a restaurant or coffee shop, and we discuss one book each meeting.

Best, Kim

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