Martha Stewart Did Nothing Wrong
May 8, 2012 1 Comment
What makes something good, or bad, is not whether it’s legal or banned. Anyone who disagrees can go explain it to Mr. Schindler.
The difference between right and wrong, good and bad, is whether you violate another person’s property (including their body). This is the one universal “good versus evil” shared by all societies and religions. All of the rest is popular social habits turned into taboos over time, be it covering random body parts (faces in Afghanisan, breasts in America), burping (bad in America, good in Bahrain), or mullets (it’s not that they’re ugly, it’s that they now symbolize a now-unpopular subculture).
Martha Stewart was convicted for doing something illegal that is not bad, and should not be banned. In fact, using any information you consensually obtain, in order to help you make economic decisions, is a good thing. Our economy would be healthier if “inside” information were built into the price of stocks sooner, instead of implosions coming out of nowhere, or companies with a great future having to struggle for capital because it’s illegal to use a “stock tip”.
The whole point of a stock market is to help distribute investments and capital more efficiently than any “expert” or central planner ever could. This requires the participants to be not only responsible for their own risks, but free to make their decisions on any basis they choose.
“Insider trading” needs to be restored as a matter of pride, like having a hot tip on a sporting event, not wrongfully condemned as another arbitrary taboo, repressing society.
Bernie Madoff did something objectively wrong, claiming to be investing people’s money while he was actually just paying off previous investors. That’s evil even when the government makes it legal and calls it a retirement plan…
But what Martha Stewart did was objectively good, using knowledge she had to convey price information to society, even though the government says it’s illegal and calls it “insider trading”.