Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathon Sacks delved into the morality of today’s economic crisis.
Just as corporations have become international and have outsourced jobs and manufacturing, so too, he argues, they have outsourced moral responsibility, i.e., the attitude that “it is someone elses problem,” the result being a business world without trust.
The word “credit,” he reminds us, is from the Latin word credo, meaning “I believe.” “Confidence” comes from the Latin meaning “shared faith.” Trust has deep religious roots, and without it in our banking and economic structures, these systems fail.
The moral vision of the rightness and wrongness of a business practice is not dependent on governments, laws, courts and the like, but rather upon conscience, virtue and an internalized sense of obligation to others. The Judeo-Christian ethic for generations was burned into our moral circuitry, you might say, and regulatory bodies were not all that necessary to ensure the common good was protected. Even if legal liability was limited, moral responsibility was present.
Rabbi Lord Sachs said, “Those who believe that liberal democracy and the free market can be defended by the force of law and regulation alone, without an internalised sense of duty and morality, are tragically mistaken.” He went on to say, “When money rules, we remember the price of things and forget the value of things, and that is dangerous…….. Success depends on the ability to delay gratification, which is precisely what a consumerist culture undermines.”
Again, some food for thought. My question is how do we regain the economic “soul” not only of Europe, but here in the United States.
Any reactions or comments from you?