Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Economics and Morality

My comment was too long for this post at Quad thoughts so here is it on its own. (Actually it was not too long, there was just a programming error in blogger that made me think that.)

To Ken - thanks for the quick history. Economics is a very subtle thing. What's needed in a cold climate is different from the minimum needs in a warm one. What's possible for a person who is lucky enough to be born without brain damage is quite different for one who was not so fortunate. The bureaucrats understand a small amount of money so they control contracts fiercely at this level, but when you count high enough, they can no longer control the amount and so they let it go. Just look at the rules applied to free-lance artists compared with those for a bank and its investments. Or consider the procurement processes for small companies selling to the government compared with large ones.

This is so complex that like Mr Micawber, I tend to hope that something will turn up that I can understand and think about. For the record, I have run a small company and I know something about brain damage.

I also think that faith - if here is any such thing - is a motive for questioning the status quo whether it be fiscal policy (like the current hidden stimulus in the US move to print more money) or the realities of running a firm that supports 20 families on various streams of business income. What are we doing? Why? and Who cares?  There is clearly an option for the poor and needy in the Scriptures. So what do I do? well it depends on day by day opportunities. I can't tell where the next call will come from. At the moment I don't have power over fiscal policy anywhere - and I tend to turn off the strident voices that pretend the answer is simple.

Was it Mark Twain that made some comment about the US being the greatest worshiper of Mammon ever to exist? But I think as a rule of thumb that I can't put the angel of the US in that category. Still the right-wing just-let-me-make-a-whole-lot-of-money attitude strikes me as the reason we have such a mess on our hands at the moment. (I refer to the sub-prime mortgages of year 2007-8 and the lure of home ownership with or without the means to maintain it.)

"Every man neath his vine and fig tree" (Micah 4:4, 1 Kings 4:25, 2 Kings 18:31 (an inclusio for Kings?), and Zechariah 3:10) is a phrase that includes - and no bailiff please. Micawber understood that problem too.