This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comment

← A response from Shermer

rocket888's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by rocket888

comment 19: "There's little reason to believe that free trade leads to greater morality."

But this does not define what is meant by morality? Is it a synonym for "good"? Would the statement change if one were to say, "....that free trade leads to greater good."

One online definition is this: a doctrine or system of moral conduct.

Either we have a way to determine good from bad or we don't. If we do, then I would say that we have a principle, or a rule. If we don't (have a rule) then we merely decide on how we feel at any particular moment. Without a rule, murder might be moral one day and immoral the next. It might be moral for some, and not for others.

Without a rule, we will likely have disagreements and much conflict. I believe that morality should be a system that reduces conflict. But WHAT rule should we use?

Does one read some ancient text to determine what is moral? Do we decide by democratic vote?

The concept of free trade comes from two ideas: Private property and avoidance of coercion.

A morality that upholds private property and discourages coercion should reduce conflicts. Therefore, free trade (properly defined) should reduce conflicts. If this is the measure of a morality, then I would say that free trade provides for a greater morality.

Fri, 03 Sep 2010 16:08:36 UTC | #510722