Wealth Kills the Soul

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

Frugal Living is Counter-Cultural

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

Preference for the Poor

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

Interest: Why Do We Disobey?

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?

To Give But Not to Give

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

Moral Protest

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

Abundance, Really?

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?