What is more important, ethics or the economy(\(\(\(\(often concerning government)?
To ask such a question is akin to asking: which is more important, food or water? Ethics and economy are both essential to liberty. The problem with asking which is more important stems from an incomplete or false understanding of one or the other or both.
A false understanding of ethics inevitably leads to the idea of government as a means to coerce some to aid others against their will; a necessary evil, as they call it. That is the noblest intent of government; and it is wrong. An act of goodness cannot be truly encouraged by an act of dishonesty for all intents and purposes. But to understand ethics we need only to dismiss everything we think we know and follow this idea: Ethics and morality are about the rejection of unwarranted acts of aggression, violence, coercion, deception, and force done outside of the realm of self defense in order to not hinder the ability of anyone to peacefully and honestly maintain and improve the quality of their lives; to utilize their three natural resources in any way they see fit to maintain and improve the quality of their lives. (Yes, that means government and all that it does-tax and regulate is immoral.)
Economy is just as discouragingly misunderstood. Economy is about human interactions in relation to the production, exchange, and consumption of real wealth; anything that can be used to directly satisfy one or more of the four basics of life; sustenance, shelter, security, and happiness. This also includes the production and exchange of artificial wealth; that which is useful in the exchange of real wealth but not typically useful in its consumption that doesn’t involve exchanging it. This artificial wealth is often what we call money or currency. All artificial wealth is money and currency while all real wealth can be both pending market demands.
So to quell of lot of these issues we can start by asking the following: Is this life sustaining and improving wealth acquired through the theft of such wealth from others; or is it honestly produced and traded giving others an incentive to do the same? No one has a right to the refinement of another's time, intellect, and labor without a voluntarily consented to contract free of duress. Aiding others may be a ‘morally’ correct thing to do but it is not a requirement of others to perform in order to live a moral life as per the definition I shared previously. This is why so many have issues with morality and ethics.; Bbecause there has to be some kind of appeal to authority in the definition of morality and ethics for someone to direct. That’s the problem with why people keep bringing up the idea of government as a necessary evil; an entity that must exist for the greater good. The only morally correct idea that must be abided by is the respect of duress free voluntary interactions. If the morally right thing to do is to guilt other people into helping then it is no longer voluntary. It then becomes a decision based on negative feelings encouraged by the deceptive thoughts of others. And the same is true with negative reprisals through coercive and rule of law, through government.
Yes, there will be people we meet who just will choose, for whatever reason, to do only for them and them alone. There is nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t matter if you think there is. You can no more morally direct the actions of that individual without some form of unwarranted coercion that you can stop the sun from burning 8 light minutes away from the earth. So long as their actions do not intentionally infringe upon the abilities of others to do for themselves then there is no immoral act being committed. What a person does to prepare for the worst and what a person does to live in the present are actions founded on different levels of each individual's refinement of their time, intellect, and labor. The prepared individual meeting a series of nasty experiences cannot honestly be held accountable for the wellbeing of those acting differently and end up devastated by a naturally occurring disaster or innocently or intentionally man made catastrophe.
So to ask a person to choose which is more important between ethics and economy is to ask a person to choose to extend their life by having food or water. It is at worst an unfair question; and at best it is an innocent question asked by someone not understanding economics and ethics deeply enough. Of course if such a question is to be answered in the context of the existence of government then I say this:
Such a question is nearly a paradox or such similar event as admitting to the necessity of an institution founded on immoral actions, coercion to rule and steal(tax), chooses to disregard the apex of morality; voluntary interactions that amount to the respect of consenting to being interacted with at all. Perhaps this is not the answer to sentiment of the question desired; but the question implies that government is a moral entity; or at least amoral. There is the paradox plain for the world to see.
Government is a sham. It is not an entity founded on good ethics at all; and should not ever be expected to be considered a platform worthy of the education of morally correct ethics. Coercion doesn't teach good ethics, only the desired behavior to avoid negative-often violent- consequences. Voluntary interactions coupled with positive rewards that peacefully and honestly yield greater bounties of real wealth is what teaches morally correct ethics and sound economic understandings.
As far as money is concerned it has little to do with ethics beyond being a tradable commodity that people clamor to acquire for the purpose of economic choice. (But under taxation it becomes the object of many people’s desire in order to pay extortion demands to legally escape imprisonment and heavier fines.) It is the purest example of an innocent means to an end. That end is always something that satisfies one or more of the four basic necessities of life. It is of no moral consequence to the individual scheming to have another killed for a sum of money or to purchase a well oiled business in order to shut it down and layoff hundreds, thousands, or even millions of otherwise good people. Money is not the root of anything evil or good. It’s merely a tool in which we store shares of out refined time, intellect, and labor in order to exchange for other goods, services, and ideas of real wealth.
The responsibility of morally correct ethics is rooted in the willingness of an individual presented with the ability to acquire and or control the actions of others with transferable power we know as money. Because this power can easily be repeatedly traded for the acquisition of real wealth that maintains and improves life it is easy to see how such a tool can be a problem. No, the problem resides in the individual's personal struggle to exist, not the tools or the others he voluntarily enters into contracts with. Of course that in addition to a poor understanding of ethics and economy to begin with.