While the market melts down,
Is it immoral to profit from
social and economic chaos?
by Henry Makow PhD
Recently I did a Twitter poll asking, "How Depressing is the recent market crash?"
250 readers responded. 27.6% said they were "totally bummed" (12.6%)
or moderately depressed (15%.)
51% were indifferent, presumably not invested.
Surprisingly 21.3% were "elated" because they were "short" the market and made a killing.
This raises a classic moral dilemma. Is it immoral to profit from social and economic chaos?
The argument for "No. It's not immoral."
The market was a bubble just waiting to burst. It was overvalued -- pumped up by money printing. The virus was just the pin prick. There is nothing "immoral" about betting against it
and making a profit. People have a duty to protect themselves and their families from want or ruin.
The argument for "Yes. It is immoral."
If you short the market, you are betting that more people will get sick and economic disruption will get worse. You are setting up a conflict of interest in your psyche. You are not just protecting your assets; you are profiting from chaos and suffering.
People thought they were hedging against chaos when they bought gold stocks. They have tanked. We never know what trade will succeed. We would have been a lot richer had we not bet on chaos.
In life, it is essential to align oneself with God. Can you imagine Jesus playing the market? (or E. Michael Jones?)
We need to align ourselves with Good.
It's counterintuitive but the path to self fulfillment is also the path to material riches. We achieve what we cease to pursue. It's like a man getting women after he ceases to desire them.
Our minds have been programmed to measure success or failure in dollar terms. We identify with our money. Losing it is visceral, like a sucker punch. Making it is exhilarating. We feel "richer" in every sense.
I'm not talking about people who are losing their livelihoods or living hand-to-mouth. They have a right to obsess about money. I'm talking about people who have substantial savings. They always seem to focus on the last $5000 made or lost and not on the fact that, in comparison to their needs, they have money coming out of their ears. For them, money is an abstraction, a net that enmeshes their soul.
What does it matter how much we have as long as we have enough? Is it really worth obsessing over? It dehumanizes us, makes us mean spirited, measuring everything in material terms. We cannot relate to other people with generosity and love.
It's counterintuitive but real freedom comes from eschewing material concerns.
First Comment from David S
Please alert your readers at this time to be vigilant and to watch their peers and loved ones for signs of depression or withdrawal following a market crash. Or even during a quarantine. Sadly, suicide is a real concern among even the well-off. Same goes for financial advisors and estate attorneys when they see someone is getting their affairs in order. Research the web for suicide prevention and take the time to bring up these issues when you see the signs.