Ruth Gledhill has a good and very important interview with Dr. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York.
…money was supposed to be a means of exchanging goods. It has now become the goods themselves. Unfortunately, again the Bible says, ‘the love of money is the root of all evil.’ The love of it. We have all gone to this temple called money and we have all worshipped at it. Nobody’s guiltless. We have all worshipped at it. And unfortunately this particular god called money exacts a very high price. A very high price. ‘We’ve all become enslaved. I mean, who hasn’t borrowed money? Who hasn’t? We’ve all become enslaved by it. It’s got us in its grip. And this bubble burst. You’ld have thought would have taught us and government a lesson.
In a free market economy the government we are taught will never intervene. But now the money markets are saying to government intervene, take our bad debts off us. And who’s going to pay for this? You and me, the taxpayer. [ emphasis added ]
++Sentamu’s focus is primarily on the situation in the UK, but it applies equally to what the US is going through.
…it seems to me ethics now demand greater regulation. This light touch because the industry regulates itself, I am sorry it is not possible. You cannot get a hyena leaving it in charge of a herd of cattle because you know what will happen. It will be rapacious and will be after them. So I think regulation is absolutely necessary. There is no way the Government can escape.
Although I do wish ++Sentamu would take more of a stand within the Anglican Communion on the issues tearing it apart – I know he is the real deal. And he is a fiery prophet – as can be seen in this video. You’ll understand why the white dog collar is missing from his bishop’s shirt in the picture borrowed (and cropped) from Ruth’s blog.
UPDATE: Read ++Sentamu’s Speech to The Worshipful Company of International Bankers Dinner.
The story is told of the Zoo keeper who one day was passing the monkey house. He looked in and saw a monkey sitting on the branch of a tree with the Bible in one hand and Darwin’s Origin of Species in the other. “What are you doing”, asked the Zoo Keeper ?
The monkey replied, “I’m trying to discover whether I’m my brother’s keeper or my keeper’s brother!” One of the lessons of the current turmoil is the recognition of our interdependence upon each other. It is a lesson that is often at odds with the mindset behind those practices such as short selling, but it is a lesson that bears repeating in times of crisis.
Am I my brothers keeper ? Yes I am. The impact of what happens with a subprime mortgage in America has an impact upon my brother employed in Newcastle Upon Tyne working for Northern Rock. Am I brother’s keeper ? Yes I am when short selling leads to mergers with redundancies for thousands of my brothers and sisters. Am I my brothers keeper ? Yes I am, because “systemic risk” only makes sense when it is translated into the thousands of individual stories of hardship that flow from the collapse of a bank.
This interconnectedness is more than the playing out of Globalisation upon financial systems. It is fundamentally a recognition of the law of consequence. Our actions have consequences far beyond that of their immediate parameters.
Please also note Bob Hyatt’s Facebook status update:
Price to save Wall Street: $700 billion
Price to save 6 million of the poorest children: $5 billion
Odds we’ll do the more important one? 0%.