According to Bloomberg's Luigi Zingales, the recent scandles that have plagued Barclays Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other banks is an indication of the lack of morality present in these organizations and that business schools are partly to blame.
[...] Gary Becker pioneered the economic study of crime. Employing a basic utilitarian approach, he compared the benefits of a crime with the expected cost of punishment (that is, the cost of punishment times the probability of receiving that punishment). While very insightful, Becker's model, which had no intention of telling people how they should behave, had some unintended consequences. A former student of Becker's told me that he found many of his classmates to be remarkably amoral, a fact he took as a sign that they interpreted Becker's descriptive model of crime as prescriptive. They perceived any failure to commit a high-benefit crime with a low expected cost as a failure to act rationally, almost a proof of stupidity. The student's experience is consistent with the experimental findings I mentioned above.
In other words, if teachers pretend to be agnostic, they subtly encourage amoral behavior without taking any responsibility.
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