I have a question about how buying/selling/contracts work with the non-agression principle. (Including fraud.) The problem I have is with regard to the fuzziness involving certain products/services. My general question is how much responsibility does a seller have in ensuring the safety or even the accuracy of the product which he sells? Obviously if I sell rat poison labeled as tomato sauce and you purchase it and eat it that is fraud. However, what if I knowingly sell a car which is literally fatal to drive at high speeds, say 90 MPH. That is, the car explodes at 90 MPH. Is that fraud? Is it unethical? The buyer didn't ask me if the car was safe at such a speed. Why should it be assumed that it would be safe at such a speed? How far does the liability of the seller go?
+1 gotlucky, excellent response
I suspect one has to get a little technical here to answer that accurately.
In practicality, unless you are a thief fencing stolen product or a fly by night here today/ gone tomorrow, you would not sell a product that under certain circumstances could kill the buyer, you would warn him of it only for the sake of not becoming an outcast with a bad reputation. If you are a businessman, you would have more incentive to make sure your buyer is satisfied for the sake of repeat business. But you asked about ethics not practicality.
So then it depends on the circumstances what your buyer would think the contract implies.
In general you do not HAVE to disclose everything you know, but your silence might imply comparable safety.
If you have a car dealership and the sticker calls it a "car" and you are in the same street as other car dealers with cars that do not explode.. the implied contract would be that a buyer can expect similar safety performance from your car as from the competition- even if you do not disclose it's weaknesses. If it explodes that would be fraud. If it gets 5 miles less per gallon, that would not be fraud.
If you inherited a farm full of junk equipment amongst others, a car that might ex[plode at 90 miles an hour, you sell in bulk everything on the farm "as is" you are under no obligation to disclose anything. The buyer would be aware of normal caveat emptor precations.
Your shop does not sell "cars" but modes of transportation. You have tricycles, gokarts, golfcarts and scooters. Your buyers typically use it to deliver groceries or letters and run errands. There is no unwritten expectation for any of your vehicles to need to go 90 miles an hour. If somebody uses it for something other than its intended use,-no fraud on your behalf.
If he tells you he is going to race it round a racetrack different story. You can choose to warn him against it, or you can sign a disclaimer that it is sold as is and its performance is not warranted for uses other than mail delivery... but under those circumstances there is an implied contract -not saying anything is fraud.