Letters - September 2010

Editor Paul Lay reads a selection of your correspondence.

Ethical Concerns

What stood out for me from the excellent editorial in the August edition of History Today was the phrase ‘Mere regulation is never enough’. It is appalling that, during the recent expenses scandal, some MPs could only use the excuse that they acted within the rules. Perhaps university courses should include a mandatory course on ethics. 

This trend is of great concern to the study of history. Adam Smith expected that the creators of the new wealth would be restrained in rewarding themselves and that much of the riches generated would be spent on education and culture. Unfortunately, and unlike in Germany and France, his legacy in English-speaking countries was distorted by reaction to the French Revolution.

Now we have the lethal combination of unbridled capitalism and globalisation. Neither academics nor politicians have told the general public what this means or what the consequences are likely to be. Politicians in a democracy, of course, don’t want to admit that they are powerless to control the consequences.

Norman Wood

Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands

 

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