Email of the day (4)
Comment of the Day

February 07 2011

Commentary by David Fuller

Email of the day (4)

On "morality" and soaring food prices:
"I found your correspondent's reasons for disagreeing with your moral decision to cease trading in foods not very convincing.

"To imply a moral dimension to the invisible hand of the market seems implausible. The mechanisms are the same for a corn market as they would be for a slave market.

"Secondly, whether one's action influences "world outcomes" seems irrelevant to the morality of that action.

"Investing is no different from any other sphere of life. There are always consequences to our actions and we should be guided in our decisions by our morals.

"Thanks to you and your correspondent for an interesting discussion.

"PS: I have no uranium investments on moral grounds. I believe the solution to our energy problems lies with Concentrated Solar Power and the Desertec project here in Germany could rank with the post-war US Marshall Plan in terms of vision and hope for future generations."

David Fuller's view Thanks for your interesting thoughts on this subject.

However, in previous Comments I have neither described this as a moral issue, nor have I used the word moral in this discussion except when quoting others. I certainly do not consider myself to be making a moral decision, in no longer wishing to profit from rising food prices. Additionally, I do not regard anyone who has retained these performing trades as any less moral than I am.

I view it as a matter of individual choice, as I have said before, not least in response to last Thursday's emails. When rising food prices become a headline concern, I prefer to stand aside in terms of personal trading. It is as simple as that but Fullermoney will continue to monitor and comment on agricultural price trends, as we do with most markets.

The email above does not specify a moral objection to uranium investments, and I question the use of the word moral in this context. I maintain that solar power has much more potential than wind farms and the Desertec project is interesting. However, I question their claim of energy security, unless one lives in a country with a desert. Germany or any other country wishing to import electricity generated from solar power in a desert state would be potentially subject to the same political pressure, threats to supply or random price increases that we have seen occasionally from exporters of crude oil and natural gas.

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