Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Moral Hazard

The HSBC Moral Hazard Paradox

Recently HSBC, the British bank, was found by the Department of Homeland Security to have laundered vast amounts of money for drug cartels, terrorist organisations, and rogue states. One would expect a steep penalty for aiding and  abetting such malevolent organisations. Consider Salim Hamdan, a man whose sole crime was to drive Osama bin Laden around for $200 a month, yet nonetheless ended up in prison from 2001 to 2009 and was subjected to “coercive interrogation” and “sexual humiliation”, whatever that means. Given the billions of dollars HSBC laundered for these kinds of groups, what Hamdan got should be a picnic in comparison, right? Well it turns out, not so right, as the Justice Department decided not to prosecute.

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Personal Responsibility and Moral Hazard

Today I attended a lecture on the political philosopher Ronald Dworkin, and it made me think some new thoughts with regard to the concept of personal responsibility. Traditionally, I have found myself thinking the concept has relatively little merit, but in this post I would like to reconsider this position and precisely where my view on the just society stands with regard to it, to and Dworkin more broadly, specifically considering moral hazard–the notion that, without some level of personal responsibility, there is long-term damage to people’s sense of duty to society and consequently to societal outcomes.

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