Virtue is what you don’t advertise

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In about every hotel chain, from Argentina to South Africa, the bathroom with have a sign meant to gets your attention: “protect the environment”. They want you to hold off from sending the towels to the laundry and reuse them for a while, because avoiding excess laundry it saves them tens of thousand dollars a year. This is similar to the salesperson telling you what is good for you when it is mostly (and centrally) good for him. They, of course, love the environment but you can bet that they wouldn’t have advertised it so loudly had it not been been good for their bottom line.

So these global causes: poverty (particularly children’s), the environment, justice for some minority trampled upon by colonial powers, or some unknown yet gender that will be persecuted; these global causes are now the last refuge of the scoundrel advertising virtue.

But virtue is precisely what you don’t advertise. It is not an investment strategy. It is not a cost-cutting scheme. It is not a book selling (and worse, concert tickets selling) strategy.

  – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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