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Old 01-13-2018, 10:06 PM
Aquarian Sports Cards Aquarian Sports Cards is offline
Scott Russell
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Join Date: Jun 2016
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Originally Posted by Exhibitman View Post
No, there isn't in the commercial context. I am sure I will get some flack for this but anyway:

I disagree philosophically with your premise. We have a large, diverse populace and extensive laws to govern commercial transactions. They represent a hard-fought social consensus among very different people over what is acceptable commercial behavior. Without a settled framework of laws that controls these commercial situations we are left with no basic agreement on right and wrong and cannot transact. Anything beyond the law is a value judgment that does not reflect a social consensus.

It also raises my hackles to read labels like moral or ethical applied to commercial situations. Labels matter. By claiming that your position is "moral" or "ethical" you necessarily make any contrary view to yours immoral or unethical. If you label my position as immoral or unethical at the outset, no further rational discussion between us is possible and there can be no compromise or negotiations because your world view cannot tolerate a different position--the outcome would be unethical or immoral by definition.

Taking the current situation, I am of the belief that M had every right to consult an attorney and find out what his rights were. I believe he would have found that a thief cannot convey good title and that he was legally obligated to return the cards. Had it been the case that he obtained good title to the cards by reason of being a good faith bona fide purchaser, or a resident of a weird jurisdiction like Texas, I believe he could have retained the cards. If he elected to return them to A despite the law, that is his choice. I am not willing to make that decision for him and label him immoral or unethical if he decides not to do something he is not legally required to do. Now, given that A and M know each other and are in a network of friends and contacts in the hobby and there are a variety of extra-legal social pressures involved, M made a decision to return the cards immediately regardless of anything else because he knew A was telling the truth and that he would have paid a terrible social price for not doing so. I completely understand that position and appreciate it from that standpoint and applaud M for his decision to act immediately and decisively--it makes him a good friend--but I would have been open to listening to him had he reached a different decision based on controlling laws. I would not label him moral or immoral, ethical or unethical for doing what was legally required of him. He was entirely innocent in this mess and has suffered a significant financial loss. He has he right to question whether he should bear all of that loss; I would not hold that against him and label him unethical or immoral if he hesitated to hand over the cards.

I also take great issue with the view expressed by some (not you; I just don't want to write a separate post) that A has to file criminal charges against his brother to prove he is legit. Those of you who take that stance may not appreciate the terrible dynamics that a junkie can impose on a family. I am not just speaking abstractly. My sister was a junkie; she had the good grace to OD years ago. She stole some of my cards once and sold them to card stores around my town. I wanted to get my cards back and wanted to press charges but my mother begged me not to, so I did not report her to the police. Does that mean I am not entitled to retrieve my cards from the dealers she sold them to? FWIW, I decided in that situation to pay a dealer what he paid for my cards to get some of them back. I did not have to do so--a thief cannot convey good title in CA--but I chose to do so to resolve the matter without further pain to my parents. I also chose to label the dealer a crooked pig for recognizing that he was unlawfully selling stolen goods and jacking me up for cash to get them back, and I badmouthed him and his establishment until the day he died.
Then why do many professions and professional organizations have codes of ethics? Check the definitions I feel ethics and morality, while related, are not synonymous.
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