On the Causality of FTX

Mark Shupe
5 min readNov 21, 2022


Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

The very existence of FTX (CEO Sam Bankman-Fried) is the effect of a social disease. We live in a society whose dominant morality is altruism and whose metaphysical beliefs are malevolent. In the world of finance, this means heavy regulation. In turn, that incentivizes methods for evading regulation. Having the pull of yourself being a former securities industry regulator is good. For example, Bernie Madoff was a former member of the Board of Governors of the NASDAQ exchange and board Chairman.

Even better are strategic relationships with a slew of other regulators, and the collapse of the FTX crypto-currency derivatives exchange in November 2022 is a case in point. Oddly enough, the news didn’t break until after the midterm elections, and wind of $38 million in campaign contributions from FTX became public. As it turns out, the CEO of FTX also had a Zoom conference meeting with the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler, on March 23, 2022. This isn’t normal. Gensler’s boss is President Biden, to whom the CEO of FTX directed $10 million in campaign cash for his 2016 election bid. The purpose of this is self-evident — regulatory “protection.”


The number of FTX creditors seeking restitution is estimated to be one million and nearly all of them are account holders. While government and media investigators try to sort out the money trails, there are two questions that deserve greater attention: 1) Why do so many people consider cryptocurrency to be an investment? 2) Why does the CEO of FTX appear morally self-satisfied with his behavior? Yet, two primary questions must be answered first: 1) How does one define ‘investment’? 2) How do we define a morally defensible code of conduct? Specifically, what are their attributes?

For rational investors (as opposed to rational speculators), a true investment has an internal rate of return (IRR). This means it has earnings potential. This means profits. This means its foundation is human action. This means free will. However, in a society that demonizes profit and dismisses people with ability as oppressors, it makes sense that America’s young adults are disillusioned with sound investments. It also makes sense that they are disillusioned with government authority and gravitate toward technology platforms.

After all, government regulation is predicated on each individual being a poor, dumb slob whose lives would be chaos without their guidance as credentialed experts. Perhaps 19th century French economics journalist Frederic Bastiat said it best,

“If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?”

Even more egregious is the moral code behind the conduct at FTX. Not surprisingly, the parents of the FTX CEO are law professors at Stanford University, and his aunt is Dean of the Columbia University School of Public Health (credentialed experts of the highest order). True to form, his mother, Barbara Fried, wrote in bostonreview.net in 2013,

“Our worldviews, aspirations, temperaments, conduct, and achievements — everything we conventionally think of as ‘us’ — are in significant part determined by accidents of biology and circumstance. Parental income and education are the most powerful predictors of whether a three-year-old will end up in the boardroom or in prison.”

This where nature and nurture begin and end. Ms. Fried, using her motherly influence and capacity for free will, stunted the growth of her son’s independent judgment. Despite his physics degree from MIT, in social contexts, he had no sense of causality, was not able to think long-term, and became limited to the instincts and perceptions of a chimpanzee. This is abuse.

Of all the career paths he could have chosen, Ms. Fried’s little boy chose investment banking. The opportunity to make a lot of money so that he could merely give it away was just too tempting. His orientation was altruism — the lives of others, and that is destructive. Dr. Edwin Locke summarizes this lack of awareness in his book The Illusion of Determinism,

“Life is conditional and must be furthered by action which fulfills the need of the organism. In plants, action is automated and unconscious. In animals, sense perception is added onto vegetative action. In humans, the rational faculty is added onto vegetative action and sense perception. Human survival and flourishing require three types of integrated, goal directed action.”


Prior to forming FTX in 2018, this fine young man was Director of Development at the Center for Effective Altruism. Think Joel Osteen or Jim Bakker on the environmental justice gravy train. While some may call it utilitarianism or group think happiness, the key takeaway is that this poor, dumb slob (literally) had his mind marinating in the moral code of “public service” and Adderall amphetamines. Specifically, he became blinded by conformity to Western society’s dominant moral code of altruism. He got rich, everyone he touched became a non-profit, and gave the loot away to politicians also preaching altruism. It always works that way.

Membership on the FTX Board of Directors was quite a group. From the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) we have Jill Sommers and Mark Wetjen, both connected to the Biden Administration. In addition to Sommers, we have Charlie Thornton and Mike Conaway, both of the House Financial Services Committee. In addition to Conaway, there is Scott Graves, both of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Graves hits the trifecta as he was also a CFTC Commissioner. Junior’s Mom is brilliant. Sonny boy is going from the boardroom to the big house.

As a virtue signaler extraordinaire, he had no integrity, justice was unknown, honesty was irrelevant, he was totally dependent on praise, his productivity was zero, and pride was a sin. Upon becoming the perfect storm of mediocrity worship, he was lionized by Forbes magazine, CNBC’s Jim Kramer. and Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Maxine Waters.

He is a death wish come true, but hey, FTX got great ESG scores, and greenwashing has been elevated to glorious new heights!

Just as faith is the denial of reason and determinism is the denial of free will, it makes sense that faith-based systems are deterministic. In practice, when political authority clings to deterministic ideology, any kind of behavior becomes acceptable. That is the core of multiculturalism, environmentalism, and transgenderism’s political clout. Religious or secular, those are also Barbara Fried’s son’s ideological motivations. Rotten ideas breed rotten minds and destructive consequences.



Mark Shupe

Mark Shupe writes about economic and political freedom.