“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.” — Thomas Jefferson, April 6, 1816
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
How did Capitalism get this Reputation?
My Word: Greed is steering economy into ruins
By George Via
February 26, 2013 Orlando Sentinel
We can tell a lot about the goodness of our society by the things we put in the economy.
I almost hesitate to speak of goodness, lest people deem it an unwarranted intrusion into their right to do whatever they please. And yet, good solutions are often simple and have profound positive effects, while the consequences of ignoring simple truths can be heavy.
Consider capitalism, touted by politicians in their hyperbole as the greatest thing on Earth. In the past 50 years, however, this system has broken down with almost clocklike precision. Our elected leaders watched while scofflaws enriched themselves.
Apparently, cheaters do prosper, and they have corrupted the morals of our economy.
Consider also this simple adage from the Bible: "For the love of money is pure evil." Greed is the sinister face of this hardened evil, and yet almost all of our economic laws are driven by this admittedly immoral practice. Surely, the collapse of our system is inevitable.
In the sacred Writings of the Bahá'í Faith, the founder Bahá'u'lláh has given a dire warning for this wayward generation. He states that "Greed hath made captive all mankind," and foretells a miserable conclusion for our collective heedlessness. Why must it always be so?
Nowhere is the flagrant avarice more apparent than the fuel economy. Imagine, scientists can send spacecraft out of the solar system, but cars are designed to waste fuel.
So the oil criminals and the crooked politicians they own keep raking in billions. This money funds the development of military weapons, bankrupting the economies of nations that don't have fuel resources, and threatening to destroy us all.
Add to this the alcohol, drug, sex and entertainment industries, to name but a few of the pervasively immoral businesses in the economy, and our economy no longer works to advance society as a whole. Instead, it panders to base appetites and corrupt motives of selfish groups.
God has given the Earth as a gift to his creatures, without requiring so much as a down payment. When we act like we own it, to the detriment of others, the day will come when we find out otherwise.
George Via of Winter Park is on the advisory board of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida.
Note - My response to this Op-Ed will be in the February 27, 2013 Orlando Sentinel.