What role does duty play in ethical deliberations on the matter of evictions and foreclosures?

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Duty plays a considerable role in ethical deliberations on the matter of evictions and foreclosures, both in terms of duties toward those affected and fiduciary duties toward the companies engaging in these activities.

All those engaged in this grim process have a fiduciary duty to ensure that their company does not lose out financially from evictions and foreclosures. They are ultimately responsible to shareholders, who expect their company to do everything in its power to maximize profits and, by extension, its share value.

In practice, this would probably mean a readiness to resort to evictions and foreclosures, which to those on the receiving end would doubtless be a very traumatic and unpleasant experience. But those responsible for putting them out of their homes would point to the fact that they have duties to perform and that such duties cannot reasonably be carried out without resorting to such admittedly harsh measures.

At the same time, we must acknowledge in such situations the general duty of society, through its various institutions, to help people who find themselves the victims of evictions and foreclosures. The precise measures needing to be taken in such a scenario would, of course, depend on the circumstances, but in general ethical terms, they would be determined by a sense of compassion and understanding toward those affected.

They would also, crucially, involve a recognition that we, as a society, have a duty to help those going through such a devastating and humiliating experience.

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