Trading online: a moral problem

The "moral problem of trading" - Speculation - The idolatry of money - The correct approach to avoid the moral problem of trading.

Trading online is a practice to make speculation, a negative behavior of private individuals in the moral and religious context.

Speculation  is a practice that from a human perspective is negative,  regardless of the collateral effects on the market because making money with money is unproductive and sterile and causes attachment to money.

The hope of becoming rich quickly and without the drudgery of labour distracts a man from pursuing the path of honest work. The speculator, even if he succeeds, produces nothing, reaping the fruit of the toil of others. (N. A -Speculation)

Trading causes a dangerous addiction to the money leading an individual to spend his life in the pursuit of profit that is contrary to the religious morality.  

A great concern is the moral evaluation of the behavior of the individuals within the economic system; individual should avoid speculative forms morally reprehensible even if within the legal limits.  The social and legal endorsement does not exempt each individual from moral responsibility.  (Documento etica e finanza)

" cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption."


1Timothy 6:10 -- For the love of money is a root  of all kinds of evil. Some people,  eager for money, have wandered from their faith and pierced  themselves with many griefs.



Since the completely safe asset does not exist, a person can never accumulate enough to feel totally safe. The search for such security is a chasing after the wind – we are never satiated, no matter how much we possess. It is wiser not to begin the pursuit (e.g. Ecclesiastes 5:10; 6:7).

Online trading an unethical practice

Practices such as online trading are to be avoided because they cause attachment to money and keep the mind trapped in a real psychosis observing prices and market indices, with the complicity of speculative technical courses that are in fact studies of the attitude of speculation that is contrary to the principles of Catholic morality.

Speculation seems to have lost the connotation of strong negativity that remains immutable in the religious morality being an unproductive activity of goods and services in the life of an individual regardless of the side effects on the market that, anyway, remain uncontrollable in their vastness. (Tradingonline a moral problem)

It is a false opinion to consider online trading, used as a continuous practice, as investment because it's merely used for the pursuit of short-term profit. 

This is not honest investment in the long-term prospects of a solid, ethical company. In day trading, your mind can become obsessed with the short-term movements in a stock. (A.R. Cuny de la Verryère, Finance catholique, edit. EMS, 2013).

Conversely, the real investment is remunerated with dividends or interests, taking into consideration the quality of the company's activity.

“Speculation describes transactions that are made for the sole purpose of getting a profit from changes in prices”. In the case of operations on the stock, purchasing and selling of property are made with the purpose to gain money on changes in prices as soon as possible without any interests to maintain the stock in view of future dividends.

A private individual does not have to spend days to make money with money; all the people who work in the financial markets should grow in the awareness that such behavior, even within the limits of the local laws, does not comply with ethics because it is an activity dedicated to the pursuit of money for the mere personal enrichment without any kind of contribution to the common good.



    The sterile activity of trading                                      productive activity

The sterile activity of trading is causing an excessive desire for the pursuit of money, a behavior that is absolutely to be avoided in a moral religious context.

Consequently any collateral services provided by brokers, banks or others who offer assistance for this activity both free and paid are not a solution for the activity of trading, because the money attachment is not just related to the time you spend in front of your computer monitor but also to the time you spend to find ways to make money with money systematically and continuously, which is the mode of trading.

The moral problem of the relationship with money (

Pope Francis spoke about the problem of our relationship with money: specifically greed, attachment to money, destroy relationships with others.

“This is a day-to-day problem...... This is the first result that this attitude of being attached to money does: it destroys! When a person is attached to money, he destroys himself......"

Jesus tells the parable of the rich man who lives to gather “treasures for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” Jesus’ warning is to stay away from any kind of greed:

“That’s what does harm: greed in my relationship with money. Having more, having more, having more... It leads you to idolatry, it destroys your relationship with others. It’s not money, but the attitude, what we call greed. Then too this greed makes you sick, because it makes you think of everything in terms of money. It destroys you, it makes you sick. And in the end – this is the most important thing – greed is an instrument of idolatry because it goes along a way contrary to what God has done for us. Saint Paul tells us that Jesus Christ, who was rich, made Himself poor to enrich us. That is the path of God: humility, to lower oneself in order to serve. Greed, on the other hand, takes us on a contrary path: You, who are a poor human, make yourself God for vanity’s sake. It is idolatry!”

This is the reason, the Pope continued, why Jesus says things “so hard, so strong against this attachment to money. He tells us that you can’t serve two masters: both God and money. He tells us not to worry, that God knows what we need” and He invites us “to trusting abandonment to the Father, who makes the lilies of the field flower, and feeds the birds.” The rich man of the parable continues to think only of his riches, but God says to him: “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you!” “This path is contrary to the path of God,” the Pope concluded. “It is foolishness, it takes you far from life, it destroys all human fraternity”:

“And all the goods that we have, the Lord gives them to us to advance the world, to advance humanity, to help, to help others. Today may the Word of the Lord remain in our hearts: “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”


To maintain proper personal behavior.

In order to maintain proper personal behavior an individual should operate with a medium long-term horizon (over one year), avoiding all kinds of modalities and instruments for the pursuit of short-term profit:

  • operate on the stock market as little as possible;
  • invest in ethical activities;
  • avoid the study and the purchase of any financial instrument designed for the pursuit of profit in the short and very short-term;
  • avoid the pursuit of profit through short-term activities;
  • avoid the attachment to the idea of ​​making money.

The way to invest should be focused on the above aspects that are of primary relevance for a correct moral-religious behavior regardless of financial personal considerations.



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