John Kay & James Anderson | Investing & Radical Uncertainty | Ethical Finance 2020

What implications does the concept of radical uncertainty pose for investors? Prof. Heather McGregor speaks to author & economist Prof. John Kay and Baillie Gifford Partner James Anderson to find out in an insightful discussion ranging from the practical to the philosophical.

Uncertainty in this context is a concept developed by John Maynard Keynes and Frank Knight, and refers to events that are by their nature unpredictable. It stands in contrast to risk, which refers to events that, while not certain, can be predicted with a given likelihood. An uncertain event oiled be a pandemic; we know there is a chance that one might occur, but when, where and how seriously is impossible to assign a certain probability to.


Ethical Finance 2020 (EF2020) convened the world’s foremost business, political, civic and social leaders for a virtual summit to network, share, co-develop and shape a fairer, more sustainable financial system. The annual Ethical Finance summit is organised by the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI), which coordinates a series of programmes to promote finance for positive change.

It is now widely recognised that the financial services sector has a fundamental role to play in delivering universally supported targets such as the Paris Agreement and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, as well as supporting economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite its potential, the current financial system can be a cause – rather than a solution – to some of the pressing challenges our planet and its people currently face. Ethical Finance 2020 explored how the finance services can support inclusive economic growth without depleting natural resources or leaving anyone behind.

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