On Musk, markets, and man

Whatever Elon Musk is, he is right about short selling—and he’s done an excellent job not only highlighting the problem but beginning to make a Catholic case against it.

Left: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is seen in Hawthorne, Calif., in this April 30, 2015, file photo. (CNS photo/Patrick T. Fallon, Reuters) ; right: Image of stock charts during trading session. (Nicholas Cappello/Unpsplash.com)

Elon Musk is a curious guy. The son of a Canadian-born model and a South African engineer, he grew up in Pretoria before moving to Canada and later graduating from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Fascinated with science, he initially considered pursuing a Ph.D. from Stanford before dropping out to launch Zip2, his first internet startup. He sold the company to Compaq just a few years later for $307 million.

That was 1999. Just the beginning.

Ever the entrepreneur, Musk was soon in a lot of spaces. What eventually became PayPal was his next major venture. Then SpaceX. Followed by, of course, Tesla – the electric car company purposed with saving the planet.

Over the years, he’s accumulated extraordinary wealth. Today, his net worth is estimated to be roughly $235 billion.

Musk is a character. Thrice married and divorced (twice to the same woman), the latest reports are that he has nine living children (his first died from SIDS). Apparently, four of his children have been born in just the past few years. A son named “X” and a daughter named “Y” – are with his sometimes-girlfriend, Grimes – the Canadian songstress, who describes her relationship with Musk as “fluid.” An apt description as it appears Musk also fathered a set of twins born to Shivon Zilis, an executive at one of his companies, around the same time “Y” was born.

Frequently dubbed by the media as an atheist or agnostic, Musk claims no religion and believes the American right is consumed by “religious zealotry.” Over the years, his donations have reflected that; with considerable sums given to Dianne “the dogma lives loudly within you” Feinstein, Hillary Clinton and Gavin Newsom, to name a few. His Tesla Model Y is a perennial favorite among virtue signaling progressive profs and Whole Foods shoppers love his government-subsidized solar panels.

But lately, Musk has been drawing the ire of his biggest fans. There is the Twitter deal and his full-throated support of free speech; AOC is in a tizzy. His public pledge to turn his financial spigot toward the Republicans has Elizabeth Warren now calling him a greedy corporate titan. In response to the wave of he/his/she/hers labels popping up on social media, Musk tweeted, “pronouns suck.” Progressives went apoplectic. Still others were dumbfounded to discover he describes himself as a “strong” supporter of the Second Amendment.

If Musk is anything, he’s a disruptor. On an intergalactic level. Like disruptors before him, he thrives on shaking things up. So, his story gets even more interesting.

Starting with his opposition to Covid lockdowns. At the height of the pandemic, Musk famously disobeyed several California orders. In May 2020, he re-opened Tesla’s Alameda County production facility and told officials he would “be on the line with everyone else” if authorities were looking to arrest workers. Though vaccinated himself, Musk railed against vaccine mandates. When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent in club-wielding police to deflate bouncy houses and round up Canadian citizens for demonstrating “unacceptable views” during the now-famous trucker protests, Musk tweeted, “Canadian truckers rule.”

Perhaps even more surprising, he’s repeatedly warned about population decline. Yes – decline. At a time when tree worshippers publicly vow to birth only one child or forego having any as a brave act of selflessness, Musk stands outside the circle. Whether that’s enough to make Stephen Colbert slash the tires of his Model S, I’m unsure. But Bernie’s wisps of white hair must stand on end when Musk declares, “If people don’t have more children, civilization is going to crumble. Mark my words.”

And then there’s his position on artificial intelligence. The world’s greatest tech enthusiast calls it an “existential risk.” In 2017, he told the National Governor’s Association that, “I have exposure to the most cutting-edge AI and I think people should be really concerned by it.” Interestingly, Musk has stressed the importance of taking a person-centric view when it comes to development, arguing that the goal must be helping, not replacing. He is calling for increased regulatory oversight to make sure the tech oligarchy doesn’t “do something foolish” and warns that we should be very careful to “avoid AI becoming other.”

But, for me, Musk’s position on short-selling is his most intriguing. He’s against it – adamantly – and says it’s used by big financial players at the cost of small investors and, often, smaller public companies.

In the world of financial markets, short-selling involves borrowing a stock from a third party with the sole intention of selling it. The trader who shorts the security is doing so because he believes its value will decrease (not increase) and that, when it does, he will buy it back on the open market and return it to the initial lender, pocketing the difference. Musk explains that big hedge funds “short and distort” – they “short a company, conduct a negative publicity campaign to drive the stock price down temporarily and cash out, then do it all over again many times.” Within the past few months, Musk made headlines outing Bill Gates – the media darling in the fight against global warming – for taking a multi-billion dollar short position on Tesla.

Some of this may sound familiar to non-market mavens because short-selling became highly-publicized eighteen months ago during what is now known as the “GameStop squeeze.” In early 2021, a band of non-professional small traders used the social media site Reddit to coordinate and avenge the practice. They purchased large quantities of GameStop’s stock to drive up its value at a time when prominent hedge funds had taken short positions. The event halted trading of the stock and resulted in major losses at big funds and even led to several fund closures.

Why does any of this matter? Why should Catholics care about short-selling?

Because we are in the marketplace. Our faith calls us to understand our role there. As consumers, employees, sometimes employers and – increasingly, as investors – we often wonder: can practicing Catholics be capitalists? Is any of this good?

As Pope John Paul II puts it in Centesimus annus:

If by ‘capitalism’ is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative.

In fact, from Rerum Novarum through Quadragesimo anno up through today, Catholic social teaching supports the free economy. In Laudato Si, Pope Francis says,

Business is a noble vocation, directed at producing wealth and improving our world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the areas in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good.

But, of course, when we encounter practices like short selling, we are left to wonder: Is this “noble”?

Investing is. Catholic teaching defends the right to private property and reminds us that the process of working, earning and taking some of what one owns to freely invest in some other “good” can be – well – good. But the use of the word “can” is deliberate; investment decisions are always moral choices. When we make them, we are critically responsible for considering “the good of persons” (Catechism of the Catholic Church) because, as in everything, the dignity and truth of the human person is paramount. In Centesimus annus, Pope John Paul II explains that our investment decisions should be guided by “an attitude of human sympathy” because they will reveal “the human quality of the person making such decisions.”

Let’s be clear: short-selling is not investing. The short seller is not using his money to help build anything. He’s not employing his wealth to improve the condition of any other person or party. He’s not taking ownership of anything. In fact, he’s seeking to sell something he doesn’t own. He’s aiming to profit from the failure of someone else’s asset and he’s making a bet which may be designed to hasten its failure. As Musk explains, because short sellers tend to be large institutional investors, their powerful status in the market helps them corral followers into rallying behind their short position, thereby helping make the targeted asset’s failure an inevitability.

As Pope Benedict XVI emphasizes in Caritas in veritate, a properly ordered ethic is needed for the economy to function properly. And, here again, Benedict notes that it is important to remember that not any ethics will do – the ethics must be centered on the dignity and truth of the human person. He specifies that it is necessary “to develop a sound criterion of discernment, since the adjective ‘ethical’ can be abused. When the word is used generically, it can lend itself to any number of interpretations, even to the point where it includes decisions and choices contrary to justice and authentic human welfare.”

That is an amazingly relevant point which Catholic colleges and universities responsible for teaching tomorrow’s leaders should consider. Through a confused mix of “ethical” lenses, perversions are bound to spill into the marketplace. In the name of “equality” and “justice”, we regularly witness rampant and cruel forms of discrimination and vilification of believing Christians. With the wrong ethics, words are turned inside out. Meaning is corrupted. Things get hazy. We all lose the plot. We don’t see things we should. We don’t say things we must.

So, let’s be clear-eyed about this: whatever Elon Musk is, he is right about short selling. And whether this pleases Musk or not, he’s done an excellent job not only highlighting the problem but beginning to make a Catholic case against it.

Recall Pope Benedict XVI’s words, again from Caritas in veritate:

Admittedly, the market can be a negative force, not because it is so by nature, but because a certain ideology can make it so. It must be remembered that the market does not exist in the pure state. It is shaped by the cultural configurations which define it and give it direction. Economy and finance, as instruments, can be used badly when those at the helm are motivated by purely selfish ends.

I know, I know. My friends in finance are snickering. There he goes again, they’re thinking. Naïve. A simpleton hung up on his Catholic faith. “Short-selling is about hedging risk,” they’ll say. And then they’ll remind me that I took a couple fewer econometrics classes than they.

Perhaps.

But I know a little something about buying and selling. And so does Elon Musk. And, as he recently put it: you can’t sell houses you don’t own or sell cars you don’t own. Why should you be able to sell a stock you don’t own?


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About Ronald L. Jelinek, Ph.D. 10 Articles
Ronald L. Jelinek, Ph.D., is a Professor of Marketing at Providence College. The opinions expressed here are his own.

18 Comments

  1. “ He is calling for increased regulatory oversight to make sure the tech oligarchy doesn’t “do something foolish” and warns that we should be very careful to “avoid AI becoming other

    From A thesis I paid for to be published over four weeks in The Yorkshire Evening Post Leeds England which commenced on Thursday 28th Sept 2000. Titled. The Structure of Dreams. Which incorporates the term other as in another intelligence.

    From my thesis: Now before we take up from last week, I need to clarify a point or two. When we discuss dreams, the following terminology is often used. The unconscious, the collective unconscious etc. This terminology is not appropriate, for this thesis. I will use the term The Otra, meaning other or another consciousness, plural or singular

    In all dreams there are awakening spots, if you the dreamer touch one of them you will awaken from sleep. The dreamer cannot see them but all the characters within the dream are aware of them and do their best to keep the dreamer from touching one, this implies that the unconscious mind is not unconscious but aware of its own actions.

    The primary function of The Otra within REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) is to divert the attention of the soul, which is motile, (capable of moving spontaneously and independently) within the parameter of dream structure, away from Hot Spots by creating diversions e.g. Attacking dogs, obstacles in pathways personalities beckoning or approaching, rivers, walls, no entry signs, etc. In order to keep the dreamer within the dream state.

    I now state that the Otra is an independent intelligence that was imprinted upon the mind of mankind at the “Full”

    When the Otra (In whatever disguise) is openly confronted/challenged by a conscious mind within the dream state the Otra then realizes that it has lost control of the dreamer, this primeval intelligence (Otra) rants with a mocking (often with very foul-mouthed) rage while simultaneously shutting down the dream So yes, mankind needs to be very careful to “avoid AI becoming (A servant of) the other

    How did this knowledge of dreams come about? Like many people at certain times in our lives, we may have lucid dreams a common one is that of flying. Fifty years ago, I would have had this type of dream several times over a one-year period. When we become lucid in a dream, which I believe is more common than we realize we then find ourselves in a situation that we are not accustomed to, it is exhilarating and different we are normally aware that we are dreaming but at different levels of awareness, because they are so rare, we don’t retain the presence of mind to take advantage of the opportunity to analyze what is taking place or cultivate the ability to remain within the dream.

    How has it come about that I have been able to do this? By nature, I am inquisitive and tend to question everything I am very aware of anomalies in nature, structure, people, and form. This questioning often remains active within my consciousness within the dream state. Apart from this, there are other factors I will give a few examples and will categorize them under the three headings.

    Dreams of fear, to me of confrontation
    Dreams of questioning
    Dreams of habit.

    I am a practicing Christian (all though a very badly flawed one) one of the precepts of Christ’s teaching we take from the words “Do not be afraid have faith” to me this is the path to true liberation of spirit I try to practice this in my daily life and to some degree it has ‘now’ become part of my inner self
    .
    Dreams of fear and confrontation

    E.g. (a) I am being attacked by a pack of dogs, terrified I say to myself do not be afraid, face it, fear leaves, presence of mind ensues. I feel intense joy and liberation of the spirit. I walk in dreams……etc
    (b) I find myself clinging to the side of a mountain terrified of falling the fear is confronted (I jump) liberation follows……etc

    2. Dreams of questioning

    (a) I am walking down a street there are washing lines strung from one side of the street to the other with washing being blown by the wind. I notice that there are no pegs, holding it in place. I question I am free
    (b) I am at home the video recorder will not work. I say, “I shall go and buy another “ a personality within the dream says “buy a clear one” I question the word clear. I am free.
    (c) A man beating a drum, but no sound. Etc.

    3. Dreams of habit.
    I am so accustomed to becoming conscious within the dream state that often I just realise that I am dreaming. This sometimes happens when I am not dreaming and I become aware that I am in the no dream state, this has proven most useful, which I will discuss at a later date.

    In my Post given Via the link below, I refer to Dream Structure
    https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2019/10/03/what-were-up-against-confronting-our-gnostic-empire-of-desire-part-2/#comment-155940

    I then give a link to drawings, that attempt to demonstrate what the early Greeks’ understandings were of the Truth, and spirit/soul on the Spiritual plane. While also within the drawings provided, what the early Egyptians knew of “Dream Structure while incorporating their understanding of the divine spark /soul via consciousness, held within the confines of that structure.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

    • Addendum to my post above: An extract from week 4 (Part 4) of my thesis on Dream Structure

      This leads me to the illness of schizophrenia. This illness shows a clear manifestation of Dream Structure. When the sufferer, reaches the ‘advanced’ stage of this illness one where he can no longer distinguish between his own thoughts and fantasies (delusional behavior). The Otra will ‘continually’ attempt to create a visual focal point to still thought (movement/thinking process) and draw the sufferer into stage one sleep but is often unsuccessful because the sufferer is aware of all outside visual stimuli this often results in visual hallucinations.

      At the same time, the Otra increases verbal prompts as these are less prone to outside distraction these verbal prompts are quite rare in stage one and stage two sleep but nevertheless normal. These prompts are normally short and heard just as you leave stage one sleep e.g. “I am tired”, “goodnight”, “see you in the morning”, etc. These prompts, attempt to still the active thinking process so that we do not touch a hot spot as we enter stage two sleep. When unsuccessful in bringing about stage two sleep they become auditory hallucinations, creating more difficulties for the unfortunate individual. As he interreacts with them they increase as in REM sleep, they retain the method to enforce dream structure. Body movement is often “held bound” by the Otra, contorted in strange positions, this is to be expected as body position affects awakening spots which in turn affects Dream Structure within REM sleep.

      Some sufferers are often motionless for long periods as in stage four sleep but suddenly become frenzied. I believe that this frenzied behaviour is REM sleep without structure. This is in keeping with my findings within lucid sleep/dreams. When sleep is achieved REM activity is above normal as the sufferer enters REM sleep too quickly his thoughts are too active. The Otra struggles to subdue them through verbal and pictorial communications the dream will be vivid and volatile.

      This now leads me to a short note on demonic possession
      As previously stated, ‘the Otra is an independent intelligence that was imprinted upon the mind (Brain) of mankind at the “Full” Which could possibly be described as falling into the primeval swamp. When the Otra (In whatever disguise) is openly confronted/challenged by a conscious mind (Consciousness) within the dream state the Otra then realizes that it has lost control of the dreamer, this primeval intelligence (Otra) will rant with a mocking (often with very foul-mouthed) rage while simultaneously shutting down the dream’.

      But in the case of the ‘possessed,’ the Otra cannot shut down the Dream as Dream Structure cannot be established, resulting in the Otra with his host of personalities creating a manifestation of blind rage and raw emotion within the afflicted person.

      kevin your brother
      In Christ

      • My brother:

        Blessings of peace and discernment through our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

        Joel 2:28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.

        Ecclesiastes 5:7 For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.

        Job 33:14- For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, while they slumber on their beds, then he opens the ears of men and terrifies them with warnings, that he may turn man aside from his deed and conceal pride from a man; he keeps back his soul from the pit, his life from perishing by the sword.

        Daniel 1:17 As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

        Matthew 2:13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”

        Incoherent or disturbing dreams are an opportunity to ask God for the peace that passes all understanding.

        Yours,

        Brian

        • Thank you, Brian, my brother for your spiritual quotations leading me to
          1 Corinthians 13:2,3

          “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing…

          Blessing as always Brian
          kevin your brother
          In Christ

  2. Prof. Jelinek does an admirable job here, using Musk as a springboard to take a dive into the essence of capitalism. That is, I think, a free market and not a manipulated one. Short selling is, at best, a moral hazard, and, as we have seen, one which few powerful actors in an ethics-free society can resist. Musk has acquired, one suspects, an ever firmer grasp of the intractable reality of human nature.
    The essential problem with Western society, both here and in Europe (but more so in Europe, alas) is that it has been relentlessly secularized. Asking a secular society to have any lasting ethical or moral values is rather like asking a raft to be an island: nothing anchors it. In an age when the Church might have continued to present a clear, lasting alternative to the relentless drift toward totalitarianism we now experience, the Church’s fragmented leadership seems determined to do whatever it takes to find an accomodation with it, and the Papacy is hardly a beacon of hope in a darkening landscape.

  3. Thank you to Prof. Jelinek, and CWR, for pointing out the pathological and predatory practice of abuse known as “shorting.”

    In Dec 2019, Tucker Carlson exposed Senator Ben Sasse (R Nebraska), a self-proclaimed “free-market-promoter,” for taking a big political cash payment in May 2019 ($10,600…the max allowable as late as 2014 was only $2,600) from hedge fund manager Paul Singer (of Elliott Management) who then brokered a “sale and merger” of a perfectly healthy and profitable Cabelas Sporting Goods, resulting in the loss of 2000 jobs supporting families in Sydney, NE.

    Carlson aptly labelled Singer and his hedge fund “vulture capitalist,” for “creatively destroying” the jobs of thousands of people, the “creative” portion accruing to Singer and Elliot Mgmt and Cabelas stock-holders, and the destruction portion assigned 100% to the citizens of Sydney, many of whom had moved to Sydney at the enticement previously offered by Cabelas (and most of whom had likely voted Sasse into office prior to this betrayal).

    Such men as Sasse snd Singer and company are rotten to the core.

    And they are, with Big Govt and Big Tech, etc etc, real enemies of “free enterprise,” and are nothing other than bloated parasites on the host of ordinary people trying to hash out a living in this so-called “society,” which is distorted and manipulated by what Peggy Noonan labelled the elite of “the protected class.”

    • As for Sasse, are you suggesting that every politician decline or return donations from someone that then does something they might disapprove of? There was no cause and effect here. Cabela’s was in trouble. Elliott bought eleven percent. Other businesses also bought stock. The owners of the company decided to sell to Bass. Jobs were relocated to Bass’ headquarters. That is how a market works. Would you decide who gets to buy what, and what is done with what is bought?
      Sasse has done a lot of good work and advocated for a lot of good causes. To call him rotten to the core is ridiculous.

      • Steve B –

        How was Cabelas “in trouble”?

        Perhaps you might know how, and share that. But in the case of this story, viewers who watched the story, which ran for 2 or 3 nights, heard Carlson explicitly assert the opposite of what you say.

        Nor did the public responses to Carlson by Sasse, Singer nor the Elliott Fund assert that Cabelas was “in trouble.”

        In fact, it hardly seems likely that you can rebut Carlson or or Sasse or Singer or Elliott with any facts that support your view, in light of the fact that Singer and Elliott could muster no such facts in 2019 when the story broke.

        So yes, in the absence of any evidence of what you assert, Sasse is rotten.

        And yes, “vulture capitalism” should be outlawed, as Musk and Jelinek correctly assert.

        But I’d find it wondrous to see your evidence now, in 2022, on newly discovered 2019 troubles of the what none of the parties disputed was a healthy and profitable Cabelas.

        Let me know what you have, OK?

        • Again, what did Sasse do to facilitate or cause what happened with Cabela’s? Your definition of what makes a politician rotten seems very extreme.
          I will correct myself: Cabela’s was not doing nearly as well as it could have been, and was not doing particularly well in absolute terms. It had failed to make its financial goals in 2015, and despite recent increases in profitability, overall its return on investment had not been good. You put the onus on me to show that, but I put the onus on you to show that it was thriving. Certainly the fact that Tucker CArlson says something does not make it true — he lies more often than he speaks honestly.
          Finally, you seem to suggest that no one should be allowed to buy a business and move its jobs, or cut jobs. Do you employ more people than you need to when you hire a company to do something for you?

        • Oh yes, the fact that the owners sold to Bass indicates that they did not think they were going to continue to get a good return on investment.

          • And as a PS to my linger reply above, I note your assertion that Tucker Carlson “lies all of the time,” and qualify that assertion with your inability to bring any facts to bear that out in this case, and I will appreciate the probabilities that other such assertions about Carlson might likewise be impoverished of supporting facts.

  4. When getting into the relm of Capitalism, Free Markets, Property Rights etc suggest reading Hayek’s, Road to Serfdom or Freidman’s Free to Choose.

  5. Short selling is little different from selling on commission. One person borrows shares or bonds from someone else, who charges them for it (a free exchange between two people). The borrower sells them to someone else that agrees to the price, freely. The borrower then later buys an equal number of shares or bonds and returns them to the original owner. If the price of the original units has dropped, the short seller makes money. If the price has risen, the short seller loses money. Every step is an acceptable transaction between two investors, doing with their property what they are perfectly justified to do. Farmers buy seed on credit, grow their crops, and pay for the seed. If the value of the crops is less than the cost of the seed, they lose money. And so on. There is nothing wrong with this.
    For the record, I am middle-class and have never owned an individual stock or bond.

  6. Hmmm, what about short selling as a signal that an asset is overvalued? Must it always be a manipulative transaction?
    Perhaps, part of the issue is that the regulatory environment has driven the existence of huge funds that can manipulate but in a true free market (freer competition where regulators were not in the pockets of these creatures), these things themselves would be a signal for market entry and then attacked and reduced in influence.
    Yet, somehow it’s always about someone – usually the State coming to the rescue when in fact the State itself is the reason these market imperfections exist over time.

    • Well, it’s “the big state,” the 2 political parties moving chairs the around in “the big state,” and “big capital” moving chairs around in the parties and “the big state.”

      Free enterprise and private property are wonderful blessings (per Leo XIII, among others).

      Labor and capital are necessary goods for free enterprise and private property.

      Per Abraham Lincoln, when conflicts must be resolved between labor and capital, assuming all things else being equal, the equities of labor come before the equities of capital, because labor was prior to and enabled the amassing of capital.

      When the above principles are violated, such violation is a wound to the free citizens of a society.

  7. Steve B:

    1. Firstly, I am happy to note that our exchange is making some progress toward the truth in general, and as to the specific concerns of readers at CWR, toward the concerns about the truth of Catholic values when observing events that happen in business and commerce.

    2. As to the truth in general, we have established that there is indeed no evidence that Cabelas was “in trouble.”

    3. You have adjusted your remarks by pointing out that Capelas’ board members and its stock holders instead concluded that they could increase their return-on-investment (ROI) by selling Cabelas to Bass, and by implication realizing their higher ROI by virtue of eliminating the 2000 jobs at Cabelas’ HQ in Sidney, NE. On that point, I believe you and Tucker Carlson and I and indeed all parties are in 100% agreement.

    4. The next question at issue is in the ethical and moral sphere, which is the question of whether free citizens should want a society that prefers or favors the increase of economic returns accruing to boards and stockholders, without regard to weighing the corresponding economic costs to the employees (or laborers if you will) impacted by such decisions.

    5. You are of course asserting that the decision to sell the profitable Cabelas to Bass is to be respected and valued, because it resulted in gains to the stockholders, without regard to the losses born by the 2000 Cabelas employees and families in Sidney, NE who lost their incomes.

    6. Reasonable people can agree that if a business is losing money, then its sale to restore its viability is justifiable. On the other hand, if Cabelas was, as it seems, “not in trouble,” (i.e., not losing money) then the ethics of the sale have to be judged on accounting for all of the costs and benefits born incurred or accrued by investors (capital) and employees (labor).

    7. The full accounting I allude to is certainly the way Catholic people who value free enterprise and private property proceed when making economic decisions. Now I have no idea as to whether or not you are a Catholic man, but as this is a Catholic site, there is a reasonable expectation that value judgments asserted here are going to be argued on the basis on equities identified in Catholic social teaching. Such equities in the context of the industrial revolution were famously dealt with by LEO XIII in his encyclical Rerum Novarum in 1891. And 100 years later, in 1991, Pope John Paul II revisited those same concerns in Centesimus Annus. I have no intention of delving into these in detail here, except to note that their concerns about the equities involved in economic life and decisions extend well beyond the very limited boundaries of the stockholder balance sheets, and reach to the bedrock equities that include the workers and families of same depending on the enterprises that they have helped to sustain, and that in turn sustain them.

    8. The full accounting of equities is of course not merely a concern of Catholic economic analysis, but is of great concern to many great thinkers, among these our own great 16th President Abraham Lincoln, who is famous for his analysis that in resolving matters involving both labor and capital, that all else being equal, the equities of labor ought by right to be given priority, because in the history of civilization, it was the accumulated wealth flowing from labor that allowed the amassing of capital, and thus capital is subordinate to labor. This was stated in his first address to Congress in 1861, and I believe it was also stated by him in a famous address on the same topic prior to his election as President.

    9. So the decision, as rendered by Cabelas, and confected by Singer et al, accruing to the benefit of others, including Senator Sasse, is argued to violate the principles that not only Catholics are known to hold highest and truest, but those held true by great American leaders and thinkers like Lincoln.

    10. In closing, perhaps I over-reached on Sasse, and he is not “rotten to the core.” Maybe he just doesn’t know enough to care, or doesn’t care enough to know, which just makes him “somewhat rotten.”

  8. In some circles when they say “naive” and the like, they KNOW they’re beating back on the out-growth of accountability, ethical obligation and legal disposition. It’s to push a wave against it. I believe that more often than not the things are linked and the display of “skepticism” introduces the suggested impression that “nothing really bad is occurring” and “besides who’s complaining?” Another form of justification is “the market takes care of itself and that is how it roots out the weeds, as it always does.” There is cultural flavour and vigour to it, young speculators grasp it early and learn the jargon and when they use it they are showing what side they have taken for the moment -for the purpose of “hard work”. But it is not true that the market “mechanism” succeeds in “de-weeding” anything. What it “clears” in the process of whatever it is doing, is 1. the immense profits, 2. the available unsecured/unstable capital and 3. the record of what really took place.

    Bill Gates lately did a review of his vaccine venture and his summary of achievement and outlook, looks like this -which I set up as A and B.

    A

    ‘ To tackle the next outbreak, health authorities and researchers must act more quickly to develop vaccines and treatments, he said, acknowledging “we didn’t do a great job on therapeutics” throughout the Covid pandemic.

    “Only two years in do we have a good therapeutic. Vaccines – it took us two years to be at oversupply,” he said. “Next time, instead of two years, we should make it more like six months.”

    Ultimately, Gates voiced hopes for a “new generation of vaccines” capable of eradicating entire families of respiratory viruses, including influenza and coronaviruses, saying that achievement could come “in the next decade” if sufficient “R&D dollars” are devoted to the cause. ‘

    B

    ‘ “Sadly, the virus itself – particularly the variant Omicron – is a type of vaccine. That is, it creates both B cell and T cell immunity. And it’s done a better job of getting out to the world population than we have with vaccines.” ‘

    https://nationworldnews.com/bill-gates-says-omicron-sadly-spreads-immunity-faster-than-vaccines/

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/bill-gates-omicron-did-a-better-job-moving-faster-than-covid-19-vaccines

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