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Human and Social Capital Gone into the Dark Side: The Case of XXI Century’s Financial System

Human Capital and Assets in the Networked World

ISBN: 978-1-78714-828-4, eISBN: 978-1-78714-827-7

Publication date: 19 August 2017


In the last decades, many of the most talented and promising young graduates in the developed economies have joined the financial industry. Simultaneously, ill-designed incentives’ schemes have favored the development of a culture in which excessive greed, free-riders’ behavior, unreasonable appetite for risk, and short-term decision making have endangered the economy and, potentially, have laid the foundations for financial, economic, social, and environmental crises.

In this chapter, we review current challenges in the financial industry from the lens of human and social capital. We examine some of the factors that allowed unethical behavior and a short-term financial focus in the financial sector, examining how compensation and an extremely competitive culture became key elements that favored greedy and manipulative behavior and ultimately generated socially harmful human and social capital in the financial sector. Finally, we discuss the emergence of a number of game-changers (namely, Brexit, FinTech, the growing relevance of ethical standards, and the increasing participation of women and millennials in the industry) that might represent potential promotors of change and help restructure and reshape the financial industry.



Larreina, M. and Gartzia, L. (2017), "Human and Social Capital Gone into the Dark Side: The Case of XXI Century’s Financial System", Russ, M. (Ed.) Human Capital and Assets in the Networked World, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 215-272.



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