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Each of us bears responsibility.

     The present economic crisis is mainly due to the excessive greed of managers and directors of banks and financial institutions who used investors money to generate huge short term profits for themselves and associates. The list of risky investments that they have developed during the last few years is endless: unsecured loans - crazy new securities based on nothing more than projections for other securities (so called derivatives) - reinsurance schemes to generate huge premiums - many more crazy schemes. All of them created for no other reason than to generate fast short range profits, with no thought to long term consequences.

     I have been thinking about the state of the world and the lack of attention to the sin of greed. All the great religions teach us to avoid greed. In the Ten Commandments of Moses, the tenth sin reads "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.", which basically covers the sense of greed. Likewise Jesus taught: ".. lay not up treasure upon earth (Matt. 6:19);... those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.(Timothy 6:9).
The Quran also teaches that greed is against the will of God (Allah) in Sura 64:15-16; that merchants must be honest (Sura17:35). Likewise the Quran forbids usury and blesses charity (Sura 2:276-280).

However, all religions exert great energy and time on matters relating to the proper ways and times of praying, to placing great restrictions on women to protect men from sins of the flesh, to preaching details such as what food to eat and how it should be prepared, how believers should clothe themselves, even what activities may be performed on the Sabbath. But the sin of greed is largely ignored, even though it has caused so much suffering over the centuries. For example, the enslavement of indigenous peoples for the purpose of enrichment of the "civilized" conquerors, was tolerated by the priests, even encouraged by them as a proper punishment for non-believers.

     The proliferation of numerous religious sects over the centuries is largely the result of the greed for power on the part of preachers claiming that they alone are the true believers, and have a better understanding of their faith, than anyone else. The split in the Muslim faith into Sunni and Shia resulted originally from a quarrel as to who was the real heir of the Prophet Mohammed.

     But don't blame others for all the current economic problems. You may also be partly to blame.

  • Have you purchased a much larger house than you need, nor can really afford, purely because you have been offered a so-called easy low-cost mortgage?
  • Have you created large credit-card debts just because you were offered extra credit cards without credit checks?
  • Do you the buy the very latest gadgets, without considering how you will pay for them?
  • Do you habitually buy imported cars, even when American made vehicles of equal cost and quality are available?
  • Do you drive 15 minutes to a huge discount store to save a few cents, instead of supporting your neighborhood store? The fuel you use may cost more than the potential saving!
     What do you think? Write to me at I will add individual comments in a few weeks. Please provide your name and state or country of residence, but your name will not be included in the published comments.

The case for rescue of American automobile companies

The case Universal Health Care.

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Last updated: May 2009.