Moral Issues: Profit vs. Government Regulation, the Weigh-in at Church

Quoted in a  Bloomberg article  entitled “Profit `Not Satanic,’ Barclays Says, After Goldman Invokes Jesus”, several bankers spoke about the compatibility of Christianity and Captialism. 

Bankers became too obsessed with short-term gains in a financial crisis that is a “profoundly moral issue,” Lazard’s Costa said in the church of St. Katherine Cree on Oct. 15.
“These are long-term commitments,” Costa, 60, said of banking careers in a sermon at the church, one of a few to escape the great fire of London in 1666. “They are not one- night financial stands,” he said. “Impatience is no recipe for a healthy economy or society.”
Banking’s core business of moving money around to fund people, companies and countries lifted millions out of poverty, Varley said last night.
“There’s no conflict between doing business in an ethical and responsible way and making money,” Varley said. “We make our biggest contribution to society by being good at what we do.”

Sure, it might be a little overboard the way the press is categorizing the debate, but I really like the focus on 1) the immorality of breaking commitments, 2) emphasis on the long-term, and 3) rational self-interest as long-term beneficial. These are moral issues. I concede that corporations need to rethink compensation, and that they have stumbled in the accountability area. But I would hate to see the pendulum swing too far in the direction of more government regulation.

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One thought on “Moral Issues: Profit vs. Government Regulation, the Weigh-in at Church

  1. If you go back to the Bible and especially in the Old testament, it was not a good thing to lend money to anybody other than a non-Jew. Charging interest is a no-no. It has been contrived now that “excessive interest” is what is bad. Even in the time of the Old Testament, there were years of jubilee that totally freed a debtor.

    The way the financial world is now run is anything BUT Biblical and unfortunately many Christians have fallen into the trap of the world. James puts it well when he writes “he who chooses to befriend the world becomes an enemy of God”.

    Think about it.

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