On Ethics and Competence

A lack of ethics stems from a lack of competence.

On Ethics and Competence
Photo by GR Stocks

Most people think that ethics and competence are distinct. Most of them would say that competence is more important than ethics. They think that competence is important because it determines how successful their career will be. They think that ethics is important but not something that predicts career success. That viewpoint is categorically incorrect.

If someone is late to work, for example, is it a lack of competence or ethics? Regardless of which one it was, they both hurt the business. In reality, it doesn't matter if someone is unethical or incompetent, they both cause the same negative externalities.

A lack of ethics stems from a lack of competence.


How can we become ethical and competent?

To be ethical, we must do 2 things:

  1. Never lie.
  2. Never do things that will cause suffering.

To be competent, we must do 3 things:

  1. Read voraciously and broadly.
  2. Learn to write well.
  3. Learn to speak well.