Chapter 19

Doug Casey on Ethics (Part One)

June 23, 2010

Louis: Doug, we touched on ethics in our last conversation on your education as a speculator, and we decided we should have a conversation on the subject. Now, most religious people base their personal ethics on the moral mandates of their religions, and I know socialists who base their ethics on the utilitarian principle (or at least say they do). Both types seem shocked when someone like you or I—atheists, anarchists, and capitalists to boot!—refuse to do something that may seem profitable, on ethical grounds. So let’s talk about ethics: What are they, what are yours, and how do you apply them?

Doug: Well, as always, let’s start with a definition. Although I fear we may end up with a lot fewer subscribers, because this is a subject like religion, politics, and the U.S. military, where people have all kinds of hot buttons. But they don’t pay us the big bucks to talk about the weather and the state of the roads.

L: Sure. Webster’s says:

1. The discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation.
2. (a) A set of moral principles: a theory or system of moral values; (b) The principles of conduct governing an individual or a group; (c) A guiding philosophy; (d) A consciousness of moral importance.
3. (Plural) A set of moral issues or aspects.

D: These are all workable definitions, depending on the context we’re discussing. Now, there are clearly some people who have no ethics at all, which is to ...

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