Hayo van der Woude, Mullumbimby
Hoorah for the moral courage of Pope Francis in criticising the sacred cow of capitalism. His moral stature was required to allow such heresy to penetrate the capitalist media.
Capitalism has been the engine powering creativity in society and technology. It has shaped modern civilisation. But it is also destructive of nature, people, societies and planets.
The problem is it never had a moral compass. Profit always won out at crunch time over those capitalists with a moral impulse. You cannot serve two masters.
Unknown corporate faces control budgets larger than many countries. Yet without the equivalent of government ministries they may have limited awareness of the consequences of their decisions for humanity and Earth. Ultimately executive responsibility is solely the bottom line. The size and power of corporate entities is in itself immoral.
The history of capitalism has been one of great instability. The unpredictability of wide market fluctuations is the mechanism that creates great opportunities for creative investments and wealth, and that is so destructive of individual lives and societies.
Crucially, we need to debate the very essence of capitalism at this time of global austerity measures that utilise the same old fiscal principles that were previously disastrous. Money is not evil, but flawed capitalism can be.
It need not be so. The worship of the golden calf, or mammon, is a manifestation of the twin emotions of fear and greed that foster each other. Remove the twins, and a recreated capitalism may once again be harnessed to serve all humanity.
The key to this reform lies at the very heart of capitalism. That is, how capital is provided, namely the banking system. Here lie the moral, ethical and logical flaws that are so destructive.
Firstly, international banking is a cartel that enforces compulsory usury, or charging of interest. Non-interest banks are disallowed. That is, there is no free enterprise at the heart of capitalism, which is supposedly free enterprise.
The second is a corollary, which follows ethically from the charging of interest. It is the printing of money, or ‘quantitative easing’, as it is now called. It’s equivalent to theft from all by stealth, through the devaluation of currencies, and distributing the proceeds to selected beneficiaries.
The spiritual moral question of usury is central to Muslim, Jewish and Christian traditions, though it is only practised in some Islamic countries. Capitalism elevates the supposed idealism of competition, or survival of the fittest.
By implication, and the arithmetic of money, that implies the enrichment of some and the financial destruction of many. Perhaps the evil that can result from capitalism was foreseen in the spiritual principles of these religions.
Is capitalism now ready for self-examination and open public debate through its mass media? Will it allow the necessary participation of all sectors? It seems the pope is ready to involve many Christians in this debate of the millennia.
The all-powerful methods of capitalism exploit commercial-in-confidence and all manners of anonymity for self-interest. Both legal and criminal elements have the means to influence, coerce or corrupt democracies and dictatorships alike.
I feel confident that ways can be found to transform banking and finance to take the high risk and fear out of investing. These methods can stabilise economies, providing opportunity for all, thus advancing all elements of humanity.
Perhaps a revamped Vatican Bank can demonstrate ethical banking concepts for a New Capitalism. The pope senses that ethics resonates with mankind’s heart. It invites universal participation in the sustainable evolution of civilisation and the recovery of Earth.