22.3 “The Problem of Harm in Economics” by George F. DeMartino – ReSES ID seminar 

We are pleased to invite you to an exciting ReSES ID Seminar featuring a talk by George F. DeMartino on “Moral Geometry and the Problem of Harm in Economics.” The discussion will be led by Caterina Marchionni, while N. Emrah Aydinonat will chair the seminar. This virtual seminar will take place via Zoom on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023, from 16:00 to 18:00.

Event: ReSES ID Seminar 
Speaker: George F. DeMartino 
Title of the talk: Moral Geometry and the Problem of Harm in Economics  
Discussant: Caterina Marchionni  
Time: Wednesday 22.3.2023 from 16:00 to 18:00 
Place: Online via Zoom 

Pre-register by sending email to contact@reses-argumenta.fi 

ReSES ID Seminar

This is the second event in our ReSES ID Seminar series, which is a part of the Rethinking the Serviceability of Economics to Society project (funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation). At every ReSES ID Seminar, attendees can expect a central presentation, succeeded by a discussion facilitated by a designated commentator. The audience is encouraged to participate and offer their questions and comments. We welcome anyone interested in these subjects to join us and engage in valuable discussions and reflections. Students, in particular, are cordially invited to attend, and we look forward to their presence. 


Economists cause harm even as they aspire to do good. The problem is inevitable—it cannot be eliminated by good intentions or better training. Unfortunately, the profession has adopted “moral geometry” to manage the harm its practice causes. Moral geometry seeks to resolve daunting and complex moral questions by way of simple math problems. The approach has proven to be tremendously useful for a profession that has sought to expand its influence in the world. But moral geometry trivializes harms and fails to convey sufficient respect for those whose lives will be damaged and even destroyed by policy choices that economists endorse. In place of moral geometry, the profession must and can do better—not least by empowering those whose livelihoods and lives are at risk to participate meaningfully in decisions that risk harm. 

George F. DeMartino

Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies.  
Dr. DeMartino is a political economist whose research focuses on the intersection of ethics and economics. He studies the ethical foundations of economic policy and theory, the ethical conduct of economists, and the nature and causes of the harms that are often associated with economists’ practice. He teaches in these areas and courses on international trade, values-based leadership, and political economy theory.  
Professor DeMartino is a past president of the Association for Social Economics and a current board member of the Association for Integrity and Responsible Leadership in Economics and Associated Professions. His recent books include The Economist’s Oath (Oxford University Press), the Oxford Handbook of Professional Economic Ethics, co-edited with Deirdre N. McCloskey, and The Tragic Science: How Economists Cause Harm (even as they aspire to do good), University of Chicago Press. At Korbel he co-directs the MA degree in Global Economic Affairs

Caterina Marchionni

Dr. Marchionni is a researcher in practical philosophy at the University of Helsinki and a member of TINT (Centre for Philosophy of Social Science). She specialises in philosophy of science, with a particular interest in economics and the social sciences. More information about Caterina’s research can be found at her website

Practical information 

  • The language of the online seminar is English.  
  • The event will be recorded, and edited version of it will be published later on ReSES website and Youtube channel. Note however that we will only record the talk and commentary, not the audience discussion. 
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