Our economy is faltering because it is based on two things that should balance each other: faith and greed.
They are out of balance because greed got the upper hand; because financial institutions preferred to go bankrupt rather than refinance loans that they should not have made in the first place. They had faith that they could satisfy their greed by making loans to people who could not repay them, and those people had faith in the economy to grow so that they could earn more and pay more on ballooning loans so they could satisfy their greed for a home they could not afford, and employers had faith that they could satisfy their greed by being more loyal to stockholders than they have been to their employees or even to their customers.
Now that faith has been betrayed – by nearly all of us – and the ripples have begun to spread outward from those assets dropping into the tank, and chaos is beginning to result from the interaction of the ripples.
Last week, the stock market plummeted.
Today, the stock market skyrocketed – probably as much because people saw the opportunity to satiate greed at good prices as it was the result of any decision or policy or rescue.
Neither movement fixed anything that was broken. And more chaotic undulations are likely before balance is regained.
There are many solid, Christian writers who have adequately pointed out where (that is, in Whom) we should have had our faith, and I won’t bother to echo their wisdom.
What’s important now is to decide where we go from here.
What’s important to realize is that nothing has essentially changed with regard to the basic, real assets that this nation and the world have at their disposal: energy, innovation, natural resources, manufacturing capability, skilled labor – and all of the other good things with which God blessed this unique planet.
I don’t agree with all of the observations and policies of John McCain (nor his opponent Barack Obama), but if this is what he meant when he said that the fundamentals of the economy are sound, I could not agree more.
But if those fundamentals are to include greed and self-interest completely unbalanced by faith in God’s providence and in each other, then things get out of whack and assets get dropped and economies tank and ripples collide.