on the Morality of Money
Casey Interviewed by Louis James, Editor, International
by Doug Casey:
The Morality of Money
So youíre saying that money is a positive moral good in society
because the pursuit of it motivates the creation of value. Itís
the bridge between selfishness and social good, and itís the basis
for voluntary cooperation, rather than coerced interaction. Anything
Yes, but first, let me say one more thing about the issue of selfishness
the virtue of selfishness and the vice of altruism.
Ayn Rand might never forgive me for saying this, but if you take
the two concepts ethical self-interest and concern for others
to their logical conclusions, they are actually the same.
Itís in your
selfish best interest to provide the maximum amount of value to
the maximum number of people thatís how Apple became the
giant company it is. Conversely, it is not altruistic to help other
people. I want all the people around me to be strong and successful.
It makes life better and easier for me if theyíre all doing well.
So itís selfish, not altruistic, when I help them.
To weaken others,
to degrade them by making them dependent upon generosity, is not
doing those people any good. If you really care about others, the
best thing you can do for them is to push for totally freeing all
markets. That makes it both necessary and rewarding for them to
learn valuable skills and to become creators of value and not burdens
on society. Itís a win-win all around.
Thatíll bend some peopleís minds… So, what was the other thing?
Well the accumulation of wealth is in and of itself an important
social, as well as personal, good. The good to individuals of accumulating
wealth is obvious, but the social good often goes unrecognized.
Put simply, progress requires capital. Major new undertakings, from
hydropower dams to spaceships, to new medical devices and treatments,
require huge amounts of capital. If youíre not willing to extract
that capital from the population via the coercion of taxes, i.e.,
steal it, you need wealth to accumulate in private hands to pay
for these things. In other words, if the world is going to improve,
we need huge pools of capital, intelligently invested. We need as
many ďobscenelyĒ rich people as possible.
Right then… so, money is all good nothing bad about
it at all?
Unfortunately, many of the rich people in the world today didnít
get their money by real production. They got it by using political
connections and slopping at the trough of the state. Thatís bad.
When I look at how some people have gotten their money Clinton,
Pelosi, and all the politically connected bankers and brokers, just
for a start I can understand why the poor want to eat the
But money itself
isnít the problem. Money is just a store of value and a means of
exchange. What is bad about that? Gold, as weíve discussed many
times, happens to be the best form of money the market has ever
produced: Itís convenient, consistent, durable, divisible, has intrinsic
value (itís the second-most reflective and conductive metal, the
most nonreactive, the most ductile, and the most malleable of all
metals), and canít be created out of thin air.
Those are goldís
attributes. People attribute all sorts of other silly things to
gold, and poetic critics talk about the evils of the lust for gold.
But itís not the gold itself thatís evil itís the psychological
aberrations and weaknesses of unethical people that are the problem.
The critics are fixating on what is merely a tool, rather than the
ethical merits or failures of the people who use the tool and are
responsible for the consequences of their actions.
OK, so even if you cared only for money, that could be seen as a
good thing. But you do care for more like what?
Well, money is a tool the means to achieve various goals.
For me, those goals include fine art, wine, cars, homes, horses,
cigars, and many other physical things. But it also gives me the
ability to do things I enjoy or value like spend time with
friends, go to the gym, lie in the sun, read books, and do pretty
much what I want when I want. Letís just call it as philosophers
do: ďthe good life.Ē Itís why my partners and I built La Estancia
de Cafayate [in Argentina]. We have regular events down there I
welcome readers to attend.
But I donít
take money too seriously. Itís just something you have. Itís much
less important than what you do, and trivial in comparison to what
you are. I could be happy being a hobo. There have been times when
I felt my life was just as good and I was just as happy without
much money at all. That said, you canít be too rich or too thin.
Very good. Investment implications?
This may all seem rather philosophical, but itís actually extremely
important to investors. What is the purpose of investing or speculating?
To make money. How can anyone hope to do that well if they feel
that there is something immoral or distasteful about making money?
pinches his or her nose and tries anyway because making money is
a necessary evil will never do as well as those who throw themselves
into the fray with gusto and delight in doing something valuable
and doing it well.
The law of attraction.
Yes, but I donít view the law of attraction as a metaphysical force
rather as a psychological reality. If you have a negative
attitude about something, youíre unlikely to attract it… even
if you try to talk yourself into thinking the opposite. If you think
money is evil, donít bother trying to accumulate wealth. On the
other hand, if you want to become wealthy, youíd better think long
and hard about your attitudes about money… Cultivate a positive
attitude about money, which is right up there with language as one
of the most valuable tools man has ever invented. Think about it,
and give yourself permission to become rich. Itís a good thing.
Casey (send him mail)
a best-selling author and chairman of Casey
Research, LLC., publishers of Caseyís
© 2013 Casey
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