In watching the compelling documentary, “Inside Job,” I knew that the financial recession of 2008 was bad, but I didn’t realize that it was so genetically embedded with corruption all the way from Presidential legislature to private investors. Beginning in Iceland with the implementation of large geothermal generator facilities and select privatized banks, what was once a country of relative stability and growth was transformed into an inflating bubble that took millions of dollars of debt and Icelandic tax payers’ money and invested it in companies abroad. Unfortunately, this pattern took root in America as well on an even grander scale. The checks and balances that were in place to prevent self-censoring corruption were “deregulated” by the movers and shakers in the government like Bill Clinton, Alan Greenspan, and George W. Bush. Banks were essentially given free reign to operate without consequence in deliberately providing loans to insecure proposals to earn funds by selling them as debt to investors.
This seems like a crazy concept to fathom, that essentially Wall Street, companies, banks, our own government, our own Presidents would promote and practice such malicious acts of deception and greed unabashed in “broad daylight.” Don’t we all universally agree that this is just WRONG? Apparently, no, and that answer might be more understandable to digest from Michael Walzer’s point of view in his theory of Pluralism. He argues that there is no single standard for society, but instead, plural interpretations of society’s definition and distribution of goods. Additionally, these definitions of goods are categorized into 6 criteria as well. So, to you and I, the horrendous acts of the Recession may be blatantly wrong, but Walzer’s 3rd category of social goods explains that “There is no single set of basic goods conceivable across all moral and material worlds,” meaning that our “morals” for the allocation of the Wall Streets loans won’t be universally the same for the bankers who distributed them.
Does this mean that we are always doomed to have the sea of difference between responsible citizens of society and professional business persons? Are we destined to repeat this pattern of corruption in capitalism since there are no universal theories of equality? We saw this quandary with the plural theories of ethics ranging from Deontological, Virtue, and Utilitarianism. There may never be a universal understanding of anything in our society (which is what Walzer hints at), but the fact that these plural equalities are being realized and publicized provides hope that society can take a step closer to understanding why and how situations like the Recession happen as corruption sets in from a self-validated point of view.