These are my random musings. Hopefully they will be witty, insightful, and frequently updated.
Are they inherently moral or must ethics be imposed from outside?
Published on October 15, 2006 By singrdave In World Trade Issues
Can markets really be "moral?" Can they function with morals or must ethics be imposed from outside?


on Oct 15, 2006
As far as I'm concerned, I feel that markets can be moral if they
choose to be. Interpreting Maslow's hierarchy of needs, only after one
provides for one's basic needs can one then question one's motivations
to do so. Markets can be moral after progessing to a level of
self-sufficiency; they then obtain the navel-gazing abilities that we
see in the developed world. "The savage punishments and casual
indignities of two centuries ago are no longer acceptable to civilized
people. Nor are slavery and serfdom, both of which were rendered
obsolete and immoral under the capitalist system" (Wilson and Wolf,
2003). These markets have to progress through the ruthless, rapacious
stage of development in order for them to eventually find their moral

Once national markets progress to the point of moral self-regulation,
they must place ethical, environmental, and human rights restrictions
upon their capitalistic efforts. "In the advanced market economies,
people care deeply about eliminating pain and injustice and ensuring the
welfare of fellow humans and, more recently, animals. This concern
exists because a rich, liberal society places enormous emphasis on the
health and well-being of the individual" (Ibid.).

But who is to arbitrate this better way? Who shall guide the efforts of
the capitalist economy? "A planned economy, by contrast, will always go
hand-in-hand with tyranny. Vaclav Havel, erstwhile dissident and later
president of the Czech Republic, has pointed out that a government that
controls the economy will inevitably also control the civic life of a
nation" (Ibid.). The opposite of laissez-faire, such an economy would
have to be regulated by a person or group trustworthy enough to not
shape that economic destiny to their own ends. This implies planned
economies, which history shows are untrustworthy custodians of a
nation's human and environmental stewardship.

Wilson, James Q., and Martin Wolf. “The Morality of the Market,” Foreign
Policy, September/October 2003, pp. 47-50.
on Oct 15, 2006
Another resource I found: Blank and McGurn of the Pew Forum discussed
the market's responsibility towards religion and human rights.

Religious traditions teach us to behave
morally in all our actions; there is no
special exemption for activities in the
economic sphere. Lying, cheating, stealing —
whether in business or in our personal lives,
these behaviors are forbidden by religious
and moral dictates. That is clear. What is not
always as clear is how to make economic
systems moral and just. Religious people and
economists have long argued amongst
themselves and with each other about how to
achieve this end. The roles of markets,
government and culture are at the crux of
these discussions, and varying religious
philosophies as well as contrasting economic
theories inform how different people balance
those factors in their quest for a moral market.

Blank, Rebecca M. and McGurn, William. "Is the market moral? A dialogue
on Religion, Economics and Justice." Pew Forum on Religous and
Public Life. Internet: Link, accessed 10 Oct 2006.
on Oct 16, 2006
I think man in general needs ethics and morals imposed from outside.  I've yet to see any ethics or moral code that defines the limit on how good a person can get away with.
on Oct 17, 2006
Depends on what you define as "moral"
on Oct 18, 2006
Depends on what you define as "moral"

Moral as in ethical, with respect for human life and dignity... downtrodden proletariat talk and all.
on Oct 21, 2006
Man ain't a moral critter, original sin and all that. By the way, you're still alive????!!!!!!!