Wealth kills the soul. Our grandparents knew that. But we’ve lost that insight nowadays. Our rigidly individualistic modern culture — unequipped to probe anything deeper than personal fortune — fails to perceive the moral hazards of wealth. Evidence of that moral hazard is abundant in psychological research, limited as they are to the behavioural trends… Continue reading Wealth Kills the Soul
What if we all decided to follow the advice of just about every spiritual tradition, as well as some secular humanist traditions? What if we all agreed to live frugally, acquiring only what we need to live a life of meaning and service to humanity? All hell would break loose. Capitalism would implode. A capitalist… Continue reading Frugal Living is Counter-Cultural
There are so many issues around poverty, but the spiritual issue is largely ignored in our consumption-worshipping culture. We’re all supposed to be medium-poor in our frugality of spirit, as we renounce the excesses of empty affluence. Instead we glut ourselves on all the commodities we can wring out of the market, and we ignore… Continue reading Preference for the Poor
Both Islamic and Christian Scriptures strictly forbid anyone charging interest. Why do Muslims obey devoutly, but Christians disobey flagrantly? Spoiler. Westerners were offered a deal they couldn’t refuse. Scrap that particular prohibition on financial exploitation — and we’ll give you riches beyond your wildest dreams. “Ban, what ban? Gimme the goodies!” I’ll start with Christian… Continue reading Interest: Why Do We Disobey?
We have to stop looking at the food bank as a place that keeps the destitute alive — keeps them out of sight over there, so we can feel good about ourselves over here. We have to stop looking at food bank recipients as society’s lost souls, cast aside with little left to contribute to… Continue reading More Than Food Banks
Economics — the Devil’s Discipline? Really? Or am I just picking sensational headlines? Well, I don’t really know much about the Devil. He turned down my request on Facebook. But I often find that exploring edgy propositions, which may turn out to be totally wrong, nonetheless can bring out issues that might get missed… Continue reading The Devil’s Discipline
It’s pretty unclear nowadays what’s capitalist, what’s socialist, what’s radical and what’s not. Actually it’s easy at the extremes. Pure capitalism (market does everything) pure socialism (government does everything) — they’re both too radical for most people. Except for some fringe libertarians, most reasonable people are seeking some position in between radical capitalism and radical… Continue reading Radical, Really?
When I taught Economics in China, I was critical of their gift-exchange culture, but in a very superficial manner. They must have thought I was a sanctimonious moron. I told them when they’re constantly bestowing gifts on each other, that those aren’t really gifts. They’re always expecting something in return, something equivalent, and giving something… Continue reading To Give But Not to Give
My good friend Eric Parsons, challenged me on a poster I put up on Facebook. It read as follows: “The moral crisis of or age has nothing to do with gay marriage or abortion; it’s insider trading, obscene CEO pay, wage theft from ordinary workers, Wall Street’s continued gambling addiction, corporate payoffs to friendly politicians… Continue reading Moral Protest
Yep. But first … You don’t have to be an Economics student to get the message. It’s natural to want more. You can’t fight human nature. We’re acquisitive animals. It’s in or deepest nature to satisfy ourselves to the fullest extent possible. Economists say we’re insatiable. That doesn’t mean I’ll eat chocolate until I get… Continue reading Abundance, Really?