Reciprocity as the foundation of Financial Economics
This paper argues that the fundamental principle of contemporary financial economics is balanced reciprocity, not the principle of utility maximisation that is important in economics more generally. The argument is developed by analysing the mathematical Fundamental Theory of Asset Pricing with reference to the emergence of mathematical probability in the seventeenth century in the context of the ethical assessment of commercial contracts. This analysis is undertaken within a framework of Pragmatic philosophy and Virtue Ethics. The purpose of the paper is to mitigate future financial crises by reorienting financial economics to emphasise the objectives of market stability and social cohesion rather than individual utility maximisation.
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