Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fighting to save the rich

Put a headline like that up and it's not long before people's backs are up. But this is precisely what is happening in our financial system. Billions of pounds and dollars (not to mention euro's, yen and almost every other currency) to keep the markets afloat. Every day 'billions are being pumped into financial markets' ($30bn just today). I wonder how many mosquito nets that is, or clean water supplies, or I wonder what difference that giving every person who earns a dollar a day (1 billion) $30 would make. Might not sound much but I'd be delighted if someone gave me a whole month's income extra.

Anyway, we've not built our world around looking out or after the poor. They are in almost every sense an afterthought in the way the world works. You only have to see that when the rich get into trouble. $30 billion dollars is $9billion more than the US spent on overseas aid in the whole of last year. $30 billion would have added a third to the world's total on aid.

And plenty of people are arguing that this is money well spent, we need to be kept in the manner to which we have become accustomed. Anyway, it once again demonstrates that there is no such thing as the 'free market' (you only have to look at farm subsidies and WTO deals for that) especially when it's our incomes on the line.

What's ironic is that the largest banks in the world want essentially the taxpayer to buy $700 billion of their worst debts and boost their bottom line and share price in the process, but when you need a new mortgage deal, or are a bit late in paying - I wonder how much sympathy you'll get. One rule for them, and another one for the rest of us.

Archbishop Sentamu condemns bankers, Chuck Collins questions the wisdom of this year of jubilee for Wall St, Al Mohler defends capitalism and says the fundamentals of the economy are strong, while Conor Friedersdorf gives some helpful links for those struggling to understand it all (HT: to JT for that last one).


Jeremy on 25 September 2008 at 12:21 said...

Yes, it's remarkable isn't it, how talk of the free market suddenly means nothing when everything goes wrong. The injustice of the system is heartbreaking, but I don't think the church has understood it enough to realise how much of a righteousness/justice issue it is. It's time to preach from Isaiah, Amos, Habakkuk, Micah...

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