Morals & Markets

Stakeholder Capitalism Is Fascistic

June 23, 2022
The model of so-called “stakeholder capitalism,” a contradiction in terms, is fast replacing the model of shareholder capitalism (a redundancy). The stakeholder model entails scores of pressure groups (including politicians and regulators) dictating what corporations must do, especially if the doing is less rational, less profitable, and averse to shareholders’ goals. A related designation, “ESG,” is a budding American version of China’s Social Credit System. Whereas capitalism entails both private ownership and control of the means of production, fascism entails private ownership but public control; the latter is the essence of stakeholder-ism.

Are Economic Sanctions Ever Defensible?

May 26, 2022
Many nations recently have imposed economic sanctions on Russia. Is this proper? Effective? In “The Roots of War” (1966) Ayn Rand argued that “the essence of capitalism’s foreign policy is free trade—i.e.,the abolition of trade barriers, of protective tariffs, of special privileges—the opening of the world’s trade routes to free international exchange and competition among the private citizens of all countries dealing directly with one another.” But she also opposed U.S. trade with America’s sworn, mortal enemies (e.g., U.S.S.R.). In this session we’ll discuss if/when economic sanctions are justified and their typical effects (for good or ill). Like protectionist measures, sanctions often hurt the imposer more than the imposed.

Egoistic Foreign-Military Policy

April 28, 2022
Just as rational egoism is the only proper ethic to guide an individual’s life, it’s the only proper ethical guide for a state’s relations with other states. The essence of America is its liberties, its rights, and its capitalist system; consequently, the self-interest of the United States lies in preserving those values, neither sacrificing nor surrendering them, especially not for so-called “humanitarian” (altruistic) motives, merely to help victimized foreigners. The U.S. must rationally identify its allies and enemies, then act accordingly. It must never provide national defense for other nations that mostly pretend to be sovereign. Rational egoism justifies neither pacifism, isolationism, nor imperialism. America cannot preserve her essence or institutions, nor again find a way to fight and win only the right wars, without following the egoistic principle. She must be a moral paragon for the world, but never its policeman.

How The War On Fossil Fuel Fuels War

March 24, 2022
"Increased global reliance on increasingly expensive oil and gas from Russia has fueled its foreign aggressions. As was true of the oil-rich Middle East despots in the 1970s, Russia’s biggest ally has been environmentalists who, being anti-capitalist, oppose precisely the energies that best power capital infrastructure: fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Instead of advanced economies using these abundant, cheap, safe, and reliable energy forms, environmentalists prefer reliance on medieval, pre-industrial forms – wind, water, sun – knowing that capitalism would perish by their widespread use."

Central Bank Digital Currencies: What's The Point?

February 24, 2022
Central banks, as monopolist issuers of state-based fiat (mandatory) money, operate not to help economies but to assist fiscally profligate governments in funding themselves cheaply and surreptitiously. Lately, in response to the spread (and threat) of cryptocurrencies, central banks have pursued plans to issue their fiat monies in digital form. Per the BIS, 86% of them are actively researching central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), 60% are experimenting with it, and 14% have pilot projects. Fans claim CBDCs will help central banks better manage the payments system, inflation, and the economy. But nefarious motives are also likely, having to do with “Modern Monetary Theory” and more direct means of financing profligate governments.

The Economics and Politics of Cryptocurrency

January 27, 2022
In this special co-hosted session of Atlas Society Senior Scholar, Dr.Richard Salsman's monthly Morals & Markets Seminar he discusses: Are cryptocurrencies genuine or instead fraudulent as monies? What role have they played in the economy so far, and how might they influence the future? What explains their attraction? What are their main risks and might they spread as a contagion globally? Do cryptocurrencies differ materially (Bitcoin, Ether, Solana, USD Coin) and if so, why might it matter? El Salvador has designated Bitcoin as legal tender, while other states (China) are hostile to cryptocurrencies. Are they an alternative to government fiat monies or instead a possible model for well-run public digital currencies? with Duke Economics Student and writer for Bitcoin Magazine, Jack Kriesel. Jack, a former nay-sayer of Bitcoin, has become one of its strongest young advocates! Listen to his perspective as he goes back and forth with Dr. Salsman and the session's participants.

The Right And Wrong of Reparations

December 30, 2021
Civil law and tort courts properly require monetary restitution to those who are harmed, given objective evidence of causality, responsibility, and materiality. Class action lawsuits also can be legitimate. But “reparations,” as now conceived, unjustly collectivize wrongs, designate innocents as perpetrators, and classify the undeserving as victims. The problem with reparations isn’t so much logistical as it is ethical.

Trumpism As America's Future: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

December 13, 2021
In episode #2 of The Morals & Markets Podcast Dr. Salsman talks about President Trump's lasting effect on American politics. Void of the "never-trumper" hatred or Pro-Trump mania that delegitimizes most Trump-centered discussions today, Dr. Salsman takes a measured approach and presents rational arguments for those of us looking to analyze where Trump went right and where he went wrong. Followed by a vigorous debate and Q&A, you won't want to miss this episode!

Where Have All The Capitalists Gone? - Dr. Richard Salsman

December 13, 2021
In this very first episode of The Morals & Markets Podcast through The Atlas Society's student programs, Atlas Society Senior Scholar and Professor of Political Economy out of Duke, Dr. Richard M. Salsman presents on his latest book "Where Have All The Capitalists Gone? Essays In Moral Political Economy".
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