On the next Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer questions on compulsory vaccination, accepting voluntary sacrifices, requiting evil with good, and more. The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 3 August 2014. If you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the podcast later.


Capitalism

  • Q&A: The Morality of Price Gouging: 12 Jan 2014, Question 3
  • Question: Is it morally wrong to profit from someone else's distress? People often decry "taking advantage" of other people as cruel and wrong. For example, suppose that a person desperately needs water after a hurricane or other natural disaster. I charge him $1000 for a gallon jug, knowing that he can pay that much if he's really that desperate. Is such price gouging immoral? Is it fundamentally different from other kinds of trade – or just different in degree? Is it morally wrong to profit so handsomely by the distress and scanty options of other people in this way?

    Tags: Benevolence, Capitalism, Economics, Ethics, Justice, Law

  • Q&A: Living on Passive Income: 12 Jan 2014, Question 2
  • Question: Is it moral to live on passive income or just work a "four hour work week"? Would that be compatible with the idea that a person's productive work should be his central purpose? If a person is so productive that he is able to enjoy a great life by only working a few hours per week, would it be wrong for that person to spend the rest of his time on travel, relationships, hobbies, self-improvement, education, and other non-productive interests?

    Tags: Business, Capitalism, Career, Central Purpose, Ethics, Hobbies, Passive Income, Productiveness, Productivity

  • Q&A: Liability for Injuries on the Job: 5 Jan 2014, Question 2
  • Question: Should employers be required to warn employees of possible harms on the job? Discovery Channel's TV show Gold Rush depicted a South American gold miner using mercury in the mining process because mercury binds to gold and makes extraction from a "sluice." Mercury, being heavier, falls below the surface and is collected at the bottom of a "sluice box." The episode (titled "The Jungle") depicts workers using their bare hands in the sluice where I'm assuming they are in direct physical contact with the toxic mercury. In a free society, should employers be allowed to expose their employees to such dangers? Should employers be obliged to warn employees of those dangers or to take precautions? Or are workers responsible for the risks of their job?

    Tags: Business, Capitalism, Capitalism, Contracts, Ethics, Law, Rights, Risk, Work

  • Q&A: Education in a Free Society: 1 Dec 2013, Question 4
  • Question: What would a rational educational system look like in a free society? Everyone knows that government education is flawed in many ways. Many private schools aren't terribly different from public schools in their basic format and teachings. How might a school based on rational principles function? What would it teach - and by what style? Apart from questions of funding, how would it differ from current government schools?

    Tags: Academia, Business, Capitalism, Education, Free Society

  • Q&A: Antibiotic Resistance in a Free Society: 17 Feb 2013, Question 2
  • Question: How would antibiotic resistance be handled in a free society? Bacteria acquire resistance to antibiotics by exposure to low doses of antibiotics. Such low doses may come from misuse of antibiotics, for example when taken to combat a cold or flu (which are viral infection against which antibiotics do nothing) or by not completing the full course as prescribed by a doctor. Antibiotics are indeed awesome drugs which have saved millions of lives. But resistant bacteria pose a serious health problem, often causing serious and difficult-to-treat illness in third parties. What would be the proper way to address this problem in a free society?

    Tags: Business, Capitalism, Charity, Free Society, Government, Health, Law, Medicine, Negligence, Rights, Torts

  • Q&A: Materialism in Marriage: 27 Jan 2013, Question 3
  • Question: Are materialistic couples less likely to have a lasting relationship? A recent study by Brigham Young University claims to show that concern for money causes stress in a relationship and that people who love money tend to be more impersonal and less passionate towards their loved ones. Is that right? Does it reveal some defect with a morality of worldly values?

    Tags: Capitalism, Ethics, Finances, Justice, Marriage, Psychology, Romance, Value-Density, Values, Wealth

  • Q&A: Solutions to Widespread Racism: 20 Jan 2013, Question 1
  • Question: Should the government intervene when widespread racism makes life impossible for some people? Given that the effect of strictly respecting the rights of private property owners in the South was that blacks could not find accommodations, health care, transportation, food, and other basic necessities of life, shouldn't the government have intervened? Didn't civil rights legislation help eliminate racism – and wasn't that a good thing – even if that meant violating the right to property of racists?

    Tags: Activism, Capitalism, Culture, Discrimination, Economics, Ethics, Free Society, History, Law, Race, Racism

  • Q&A: Capitalism Versus Altruism: 29 Jul 2012, Question 4
  • Question: Is capitalism altruistic? Some people attempt to defend capitalism and free markets on altruistic grounds. Under capitalism, they say, a successful businesses must serve the needs of its customers. Hence, capitalism promotes altruism. Is that true? Is it an effective way to defend capitalism?

    Tags: Altruism, Business, Capitalism, Conservatism, Egoism, Politics, Sacrifice, Self-Interest, Self-Sacrifice

  • Q&A: United States as a Christian Nation: 3 Jun 2012, Question 4
  • Question: Is the United States a Christian nation? People often claim that the United States is "a Christian nation." What do people mean by that? Why does it matter? Is it true or not?

    Tags: Capitalism, Christianity, Law, Politics, Religion, United States

  • Podcast: The Meaning of Labor Day: 5 Sep 2011
  • Summary: Jonathan Hoenig of Capitalist Pig interviewed me on WLS 890 AM of Chicago about the meaning of Labor Day and the role of the mind in production. (He was acting as a substitute host.)

    Tags: Business, Capitalism, Work, Work

  • Q&A: Profiting from the Ignorance of Others: 19 Jun 2011, Question 4
  • Question: Is it moral to take advantage of another person's ignorance? Suppose that I drop by a yard sale to see whatever is up for grabs. While rummaging through the junk for which the owners no longer see a reason to keep, I catch sight of an item which I know to be extremely rare and valuable. Would it be moral for me to pay the low asking price, then resell the item at auction for a much higher price, knowing that the owners are clueless about its value?

    Tags: Arbitrage, Business, Capitalism, Ethics, Honesty

  • Q&A: Building Codes: 8 May 2011, Question 4
  • Question: Are building codes ethical? In light of the building earthquake and tsunami in Japan, a lot of people are crediting the strict building codes and urban planning for reducing the damage. Is it proper to support building codes, which limit property rights, if the goal is to prevent damage and destruction in the event of an inevitable natural disaster, such as an earthquake?

    Tags: Business, Capitalism, Law, Regulations, Rights

  • Podcast: Two More Tidbits from Liberty on the Rocks: 20 Apr 2011
  • Summary: This podcasts consists of two impromptu tidbits from my April 6th, 2011 appearance at Liberty on the Rocks in Denver. The first is on the factual basis for rights, and the second concerns the Rawlsian argument from luck against capitalism.

    Tags: Capitalism, Desert, John Rawls, Justice, Luck, Moral Luck, Rights

  • Q&A: Global Warming: 3 Apr 2011, Question 3
  • Question: How should I deal with the idea of man-made global warming? What is the proper approach to the whole idea? I can't decide on my own whether it's true or false without educating myself in climatology. And how should I treat others who believe in it just because many university professors do?

    Tags: Business, Capitalism, Environmentalism, Government, Law, Rights, Science, Technology

  • Q&A: Christianity Versus Capitalism: 27 Feb 2011, Question 2
  • Question: How can a conservative Christian also be a supporter of capitalism? Isn't the Christian philosophy diametrically opposed to the basic principles of egoism and reason necessary to fully support laissez-faire capitalism?

    Tags: Altruism, Atheism, Capitalism, Christianity, Conservatism, Egoism, Ethics, Faith, Politics, Property, Religion, Self-Interest, Wealth

  • Q&A: Capitalism as Misunderstood: 19 Dec 2010, Question 6
  • Question: Why is capitalism so misunderstood? I've noticed a huge backlash against capitalism in the media and on the internet for a while. Why? Why are people so resentful towards capitalism when it gave them all the prosperity?

    Tags: Capitalism, Communication, Epistemology, Ethics, Politics

  • Q&A: Objectivism Versus Theism: 5 Dec 2010, Question 5
  • Question: Can an Objectivist believe in God? Can a person be a theist and an Objectivist? Or is that too fundamental a conflict? If so, why?

    Tags: Altruism, Atheism, Capitalism, Christianity, Epistemology, Ethics, Faith, Metaphysics, Politics, Religion, Wealth


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