Four Choices for Life

Trade, charity, fraud, or force are the only four ways that humans can interact economically.  Or for that matter, in any realm.  Either you trade value for value, or you provide value where there is none out of your benevolence, or somebody tricks you out of your value (including false charity where your benevolence is preyed upon by those who would make you feel guilty), or your value is stolen from you.  The only moral way to receive value from another is through trade – by giving value in return.  Receiving charity is at best morally neutral and, if it is a lifestyle, it is immoral.  And of course, receiving value through fraud or force is openly immoral – even when you vote for somebody else to carry out the fraud or force for you.

Trade is why humans invented money. It makes transactions easier because it allows for multi party trading. In a society of only force and fraud, money is worthless.  Somebody must produce because gold, while pretty, does not make for very good food or shelter. To some extent, people can be forced to produce but it does not work well in the long run. That is why the Soviet Union failed.

“’So you think that money is the root of all evil?’ said Francisco d’Anconia. ‘Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value….'”
—  Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

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