Tuesday, February 17, 2009

greed on Wall Street and Main Street

From Rev. Joe Phelps in the C-J...

Phelps starts with the story of Naaman's healing by God through the prophet Elisha-- and the prologue where Elisha's sermon tries to profit from the event.

His conclusion/application:

The imagery of this ancient tale reaches through time to today's headlines about the global financial crisis. After all, the servant only did what any enterprising person might do in order to get ahead. Seize the moment. Strike while the iron is hot. But when you play with fire, you get burned.

My knowledge of economics and global financial systems wouldn't fill a thimble. But...

Sadly, the word "but" doesn't keep people from talking about economics as often as it should. But Rev. Phelps stays out of trouble for the most part!

But I do understand greed, opportunism and fear....[in] our attempt to point fingers at an identified culprit, I hear the childhood reminder that anytime you point your finger at someone three other fingers on your hand point back at you.

We are all bathed in greed. Home buyers wanted more house for less money invested. Lenders wanted the quick payoff of signing up people for loans they knew were beyond the borrowers' abilities. Banks wanted buckets of loans that could be sold off. Bundlers of loans had a profitable market for as many as they could create. People bought these bundled loans on the assumption that they were certain winners....

Phelps has a point here. But on the other hand, the same decisions can be influenced by a range of motives that are not as easy to demagogue or criticize.


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