Many people believe that careers in the banking industry necessarily demand selfishness and unethical behavior. One consequence of this thinking is that ethically concerned youngsters tend to shy away from careers in finance and investing.

Yet Oxford University philosopher Will Crouch is warning young people to not automatically consider banking a less ethical option than others. In fact, Crouch argues that people with a strong interest in ethics should opt for careers in banking.

His reasoning:

… if ethical people went into finance — and then gave back a slice of their higher salaries — the impact would be greater than a career as a charity worker.

“We are calling on people to be like Robin Hood, but by earning the money rather than stealing it,” he says.

He argues that someone becoming an investment banker could create sufficient wealth to make philanthropic donations that could make a bigger difference than someone choosing to work in a “moral” career such as an aid charity.

“The direct benefit a single aid worker can produce is limited, whereas the philanthropic banker’s donations might indirectly help 10 times as many people,” says Mr Crouch.

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