This might be OT but bear with me because I hope it is relevant to Macro Economic Trends and Risks.
Principles and values get confused all the time. In politics, investing, and personal relations.
I just read a “Dear Amy” column, dated January 4, 2022, in the Los Angele Times. One of the letters was from, “Trying to Save Friendships,” about a person who was fully vaccinated and boosted but didn’t like it when her friends asked her to divulge her vaccine status – on principle.
Amy agreed and shared the writer’s “principle” of privacy, I guess, but thought Trying might get kind of lonely because proof of vaccination was now mandated in many places.
What?! In what world does privacy about whether or not you took a vaccine trump the health, welfare and psychic peace of your friends? How does your loss of privacy (dire consequences?) about a vaccine equate with asking a friend to take a chance on their life because they should trust you?!?
Principles are universal and pertain to life or death issues, or things that work or don’t work. Values are opinions and preferences. One doesn’t get to choose principles. They exist, a priori, and are impersonal. Values are style and personal.
When one “has principles,” that “should” mean that they align their values with universal principles, the way the world works, so their life works well. Principles are not “ours.” Values are personal taste, so we can own those.
In the same newspaper, today’s Los Angeles Times, California section, an obituary for Kelly Ernby, read, “a political newcomer who two years ago ran for an Orange County state Assembly seat as a Republican, died this week of Covid-19."
She was 46, cute, energetic–and an activist against Covid-19 vaccine mandates.
She chose “freedom” over safety!!! She didn’t know which was primary! She chose style!
I think more attention needs to be paid to educating people about the subtle differences between principles and values.
How does this relate to investing? I speak for myself because I need to be reminded of the difference between speculation and investing. And staying within my circle of competence. And watching my psychology. What is principle and what is what I want?
For instance, I want to invest in BABA. I want what could be the upside, at this point. However, some people think China is odious and want nothing to do with it. Those are opinions. But the thing for me is that I don’t have the inside knowledge to know whether China is safe for me to invest in.
The First and second laws of money: Don’t lose money. don’t forget: don’t lose money. Also, mind your circle of competence–don’t step outside of it. And then, the difference between speculating and investing. In the first, you think you could make money, and in the second you expect you will. So I need to choose safety and say no to any major investment I’m not sure about.
Believe me, my body and greed want to “go for it!” Only thing is, when I do, I can’t sleep.
I’m not saying I’ll never speculate in BABA, but I need more data points to invest.
Anyway, principles usually involve things that can feel like limits on what we want to do because our ego wants to do what it wants to do. Values are based on our preferences and ego, so, much more likable–but potentially destructive. The trick is to align values with principles. If we get it wrong…