The Banking Crisis: Symptomatic Of A Decline In Moral Values?

The banking crisis seems to roll on, with new and incriminating revelations each day. Up until a week ago, most people had never heard of “LIBOR“, but we now know that many banks (not just Barclays) have been manipulating the rates they charge each other for lending money in order to boost personal bonuses and bank profits. Since the LIBOR also influences mortgage rates, ordinary people may have been disadvantaged by paying more than they needed to. All of this comes on top of the mis-selling scandals, where payment protection insurance was sold to people with no chance of claiming, and business loans that severely disadvantaged small businesses.

So, banks and bankers – once held as the bastions of trust and probity – have been found with their fingers in the till, and any trust we had in them has long since evaporated.

But I wonder if this is just symptomatic of a wider problem with society, where “self” comes before “community”, and where our economy is based almost entirely on consumerism. All the more worrying in that we’re consuming more than we’re replacing, leaving devastated fishing grounds and barren rain forests in our wake. What sort of world will our children and grand-children inherit? Can nature self-heal the scars we are creating, or are we indeed on the road to oblivion? Are we all becoming more selfish and self-serving because we see evidence of this all around us, not least bankers and politicians (remember the expenses scandal)?

Is the Church doing enough to remind us of our responsibilities to each other and God’s earth? Does religion have any role at all to play in the events unfolding with the banking crisis…or whatever the next crisis involving greed and personal reward will hit the news?

Lot’s of questions here I know, but surely we all have an opinion on these issues….don’t we?

What do you think? 


3 thoughts on “The Banking Crisis: Symptomatic Of A Decline In Moral Values?

  1. I get angrier and angrier the more I hear about the financial sector of late.I understand that lots of the reporting is sensationalist and that not ALL bankers are evil money grabbing monsters, but it seems that if people are given a free rein to do as they want there seems to be this ‘race to the bottom’ in moral terms.A recent radio programme raised the possibility that one attitude bankers may have taken is that “My competitors are probably doing it (manipulating LIBOR) so I guess I can get away with it too.” has been a justification for this over the last couple of days.I think the obsession with growth as a way of coping with the economy isn’t right. Growth is natural; the population grows, which puts greater strain on resources but also – surely – gives us more of another resource: the people to help address the issues we’re faced with.Perhaps if we were more concerned with making the best use of our citizens we’d not be in such a mess? Better education and better opportunities for training and employment are a must.Steve, you’re quite right. A people first approach is all that will get us out of this! :)As Christians this is something we all know. Jesus teaches us to put others first. How often do we actually do that in our working lives and when following the news?

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  2. Thanks for your comments Alasdair. As I write this there’s another banking scandal just hitting the headlines – HSBC has been complicit in money laundering, spanning 6 years from 2004 to 2010 and involving clients linked to Mexico drug cartels, al-Qaeda and regimes in Iran, North Korea and Burma. Once again, evidence emerges of commercial interests taking priority over any ethical, moral, or even legal concerns. This will no doubt reinforce the view that there is deep-seated and endemic corruption in our banks and financial services, given the almost weekly news breaks revealing the latest scandal. And little sign of justice other than a fine from the FSA, which will be just a drop in the ocean for HSBC. Until and unless we hold some of these senior executives to account, there is bound to be a growing perception that there is one rule for the rich and another for the poor. I can’t help but feel civilisation is going backwards!

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  3. I think that this perception is there because it’s true. I think that’s always been the way though. The poor are better off than they used to be, no doubt, but in some cities the same old problems are still there: not enough food, not enough opportunities to get a leg up.If we’re not exactly going backwards, we’re certainly struggling to tread water. We need to remember be kind to empathise with the situations some unfortunate people find themselves before we judge some of our more deprived communities and the trouble they cause.If people took the time to *really* listen and try to find solutions to the problems caused by such crazy inequality things might start to change. As they might say on Twitter, #hugahoodie 🙂

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