Monday, December 08, 2008

Moral Precision

I take a morality approach to economics. I am not interested in what will work. My focus is on what is right or wrong.

The consequence of this approach is that it is important to be precise about which actions are wrong and who is taking the wrong action. Vague statements will no do.

  1. The exact action that is morally wrong must be identified precisely.
  2. The moral actor who is taking the wrong action must also be identified.
  3. Laws that legitimise immoral actions are particularly insidious, so they must be accurately identified.
  4. The politicians responsible for passing the immoral law must be clearly specified.
This is why I have investigated the concept of bailment when discussing the banking system. I wanted to establish whether banks are acting immorally or not. My conclusion is that when a bank takes a demand deposit and records it as an asset on their balance sheet, they might not be stealing, but they are being very devious, because they make very little effort to explain to depositors the legal implications of their action. They do not say, “You have just become a creditor of the bank”.

On person made the following response.
The focus should be on fiat currency. That is where the fraud is occurring. That is where the thieving is going on.
This raises an important issue, but the comment is too vague. Fiat currency may be morally wrong, but we must specify more precisely the actions that are morally wrong. The moral agent responsible for the fraud or theft must also be clearly specified. Is it the government, or the banks, or people accepting the fiat currency?

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