Thought for the Day: Ethics vs. Morality

You’ve probably heard these two words and like a lot of people might struggle to differentiate between them, so I’d like to offer you a reasonably quick ( and relevant I think ) analogy between the various flavours of authoritarian capitalism, and the Open Empire Foundation vision.

So first of all, what do I mean by “the various flavours of capitalism”?

Well, in its most generic sense – all historical context aside – the etymological and lexicographical analysis of the word “capitalism”, must identify its base / root semantics as derived from the word “capital” in the economic context. So to understand the most generic meaning of capitalism, we must first understand the most generic meaning of capital in the economic context.

Capital ( in a nutshell ) refers to any potentially “productive asset” ( property ).

Capitalism is therefore: the exploitation of capital assets for the purpose of economic gain – aka: the profit motive.

So within the broader scope of this most generic view of capitalism, we can identify sub-classifications ( aka “flavours” ) of capitalism … such as:

  • free market ( laissez-faire ) capitalism
  • democratic-socialist capitalism
  • fascist corporatocracy capitalism
  • … and so on …

… but ultimately they’re all just different versions of capitalism, because ultimately they’re still just about the exploitation of capital for the profit motive.

Which means that even before the term “capitalism” was first coined ( and the meaning they attributed to it at that time ), arguably almost every economic system we ever had ( outside tribal hunter gather and similar societies ), was some early proto-capitalist economic paradigm … and hence the reason I refer to this all as property/trade/currency-based economics.

property leads to trade

trade leads to currency

currency leads to commodification

commodification leads to the profit motive, and thus capitalism

In a sense, just as capitalism is simply an evolutionary extension of property, all of this is merely an extension of evolved behavioural psychology in response to scarcity … the problem being, it has become a form of madness, and we are supposed to be thinking beings who can do vastly better than to merely operate as reactionary breeding and consuming meat sacks without brains.

back to ethics and morality

So within the context of capitalism, morality is basically the imposition of one set of values over another, based on nothing more than economic power differentials – ie: he or she with the most power, wins ( and thus defines what constitutes morality ) … and if you want evidence of this, just look to your history books, they’re full of cases of religious and other ideologically based wars and persecution, which commit astoundingly atrocious atrocities, and then seek to justify them as “moral”, when all they were really doing was stealing someone else’s shit, dominating, enslaving, and murdering.

Similarly – both connected to the above and central to capitalism – you have the abhorrent destruction, extermination, exploitation, slavery, and pollution of capitalism, which is defined to be “profitable” and therefore moral ( despite this being based on an oxymoron definition of “profit” ).

Morality is basically a very bad, cruel, and tragic joke.

Ethics on the other hand is about analysis of action, cause, effect, interaction, and consequences.

Within the field of ethics, if you were to define something as being “ethical” when you do it to someone else, but you define it as unethical when it is done to you ( without justification by way of any difference between the two events ), this would arguably be considered a false / invalid statement, not the least of reasons for which being that it would be self-evidently hypocritical.

A gruesome and extreme example of this ( to demonstrate the point ) could be as follows:

  • if someone comes to kill you, for no better reason than they enjoy killing and disregard the suffering of others as inconsequential, this would be unethical
  • if in the course of their actions they failed to kill you, but killed your entire family, and then pain painted in the blood of your loved ones on the inner walls of your home, that they were going to do the same to every family at the school your children attended
  • THEN arguably, it would not be considered unethical to kill them, in order to prevent them carrying out their threat, nor indeed would it have been unethical to kill them in defence of your family

Thus ethics – by comparison to morality – takes contemplation and weighting of all the facts, where morality is merely reference to an established set of values without requiring any thought at all.

The vision of the Open Empire Foundation ( OEF ) is based on ethics not morality:

  • the OEF framework does not dictate to you what you should or shouldn’t do
  • it also neither claims nor recognises authority by anyone over you
  • all it does is weighs up quantifiably consequences, and motivates people to reduce harm & increase gains
  • it does not consider humans to be more nor less “important” than any other species
  • it simply analyses and quantifies the internal, external, and interactive consequences for and between all species, and the non-living aspects of the ecosystems on which they depend

the OEF vision is a framework that allows you to be free to be a hypocrite, but at the same time makes you accountable for the consequences of being one

This is the difference between ethics and morality.

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