money – it’s a crime

The credit crunch, short selling, idolatry… as belts tighten blame is apportioned, America dreads the ‘creeping onset of socialism’ as they rush to shore up their over burdened banks.  Meanwhile the Church stands accused as Archbishops publically declare that short selling is idolatorous, and Ekklesia writers point out the Church’s fund managers have been engaged in the very same activity.

But whatever your opinion on the outcome, (all right thinking people will join me in a march on the capital and a socialist uprising of course) let’s not happily apportion blame to others.

We’re all in this mess, and we’ve all contributed to it.  If you have a bank account, you are part of the system.  If you use oil based products, you’re part of the problem.  If you own a house, then you have probably  contributed to house price inflation.  You may not like to admit this, but its true of you, and its true of me.  Are you earning interest on savings?  Where do you think that comes from? Has your house gone up in value?  What is your computer made of?

We are all part of an iniquitous and heinous system, a system which is based upon greed and idolatry.  Let’s not engage in schadenfreude, nor loftily apportion blame.  Instead, lets recognise that this is a wonderful opportunity to engage in hospitality, to share resources, to help those in need around us.  On a bigger scale it would be wonderful if there was a real change in the economic systems, of course I would be all for that, what with being a commie and all… 🙂 but I cant see it happening, not yet anyhow.

But while the macro may not be in our hands, the micro is, lets work together to see change on the grassroots, and that could be as simple as you like, as St David said: “Do the little things…”

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3 thoughts on “money – it’s a crime

  1. If you buy anything, you’ve probably contributed to its price going up. That doesn’t mean that there’s moral fault there. However, there is moral fault with people who lend money to others who can’t afford to repay it, with people who deliberately disguised the risks associated with the debt that they resold, with social lending firms that spent large sums of their publicly supported budgets lobbying the government to reduce their obligations. With politicians who were persuaded by lobbyists that regulation wasn’t needed. Receiving bonuses of more than the GDP of many countries is certainly also morally questionable.

    None of that means that we are responsible.

    There are ways in which we are responsible – our energy use and the waste we produce, which institutions we lend our money to, and what they do with it – our insistence that the banks we put our money into are not allowed to fail (which is our way of removing our own responsibility for what they do).

    It does make you wonder if the OT got it right in forbidding lending at interest. It only seems to be the muslims these days that take this prohibition seriously – muslim mortgages are shared ownership arrangements rather than money lending, which means that the lender takes a part of the risk too (encouraging them to make sure that it’s a sound investment). There are very few places you can put your money where you’ll be sure it won’t be lent at interest.

    We should also talk about other forms of money too. Check out Down and Out in The Magic Kingdom for scifi with reputation based currency, or timebanks.org, for time based currency. I like the idea of peer to peer credit where the need for institutions like banks is nearly removed in favour of people vouching for their friends.

  2. yeah I really like the sound of the alternative currencies you mention, I shall have a look at them. I agree too that interest is a big problem, isnt it an irony that Islam takes a lead in an alternative way of buying/banking while the church stands by? I also heard a theory that it was Islamic influence that brought jury trials here, which is an alternative take on the whole ‘no Islamic law’ argument.

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