Economics and Ethics


We all want a good economy, but we disagree about what is really good. This course will explore those disagreements. We will ask such questions as whether or when competition is better then co-operation, can profits be unjustly high, and what can political and business leaders to do to make the economy better. These and other deep questions will be approached through various economic controversies, chosen in consultation with the students. We might look at such issues as the value of unions, the problems of the 737 Max, and British regional development, always from an ethical perspective. Students will be provided with enough background in both ethics and economics to be able to participate fully in the discussions. Students with expertise or experience will be encouraged to present cases for debate.

Programme details

Courses starts: 17th Jan 2022

Week 0:  An Introduction to Teams – Course orientation

Week 1:  Just prices, just wages (zero-hour contracts, surge pricing for Uber)

Week 2:  The goals of corporations (stakeholders vs. shareholders)

Week 3:  What unions are good for (Amazon in Alabama)

Week 4:  National versus global economic justice (supply chain supervision)

Week 5:  Inequality (executive pay)

Week 6:  Immigration (Brexit)

Week 7:  "Free markets" and competition (737 Max)

Week 8:  Health care (the NHS choices on rationing)

Week 9:  Infrastructure (Northern Powerhouse or Heathrow expansion) 

Week 10:  Taxes (wealth tax, progressive income tax)


Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.


Description Costs
Course Fee £229.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00


Mr Edward Hadas

Edward Hadas is a Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. His  Human Goods, Economic Evils: A Moral Look at the Dismal Science was published in 2007. He writes regularly on economics and finance from an ethical perspective for Reuters Breakingviews.  

Course aims

Students should learn how to think ethically about complex and controversial economic issues

Course Objectives:

1. An understanding of basic methods of ethical analysis: deontology, virtue, consequentialist.

2. An understanding of basic ethical concepts useful in economics: common good and equity, long-term considerations,  individual flourishing, limits of material accomplishments.

3. Competence is ethical analysis of particular situations: identification of conflicting and partial goods, recognition of necessary evils. 

Teaching methods

The course will be a mixture of lecture and discussion. Students will be encouraged but not required to give presentations. Depending on enrolment numbers, there may be some small group discussions. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to: 

a) understand and explain the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to ethics.

b) understand and explain the some of the principal ethical challenges of the current economy, both in the UK and in the world.

c) be able to identify the key ethical components of a particular economic situation or controversy. 

Assessment methods

Students will be asked to submit one 1500 word essay, which will be an ethical analysis of a particular economic or business situation. Students will choose the situation in consultation with the tutor. 

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form - Declaration of Authorship form


We will close for enrolments 7 days prior to the start date to allow us to complete the course set up. We will email you at that time (7 days before the course begins) with further information and joining instructions. As always, students will want to check spam and junk folders during this period to ensure that these emails are received.

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

There are no prerequisites. Students should be curious about economic issues and willing to think somewhat abstractly about ethical questions.

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)