February 26, 2010

It just gets better and better. Now we find out that Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan helped screw up the economy of Greece. So Greece can screw up the European Union.

I hope that the international courts go after these U.S. financial institutions and their compatriots elsewhere. But I mostly want the U.S. financial institutions to get the brunt of the punishment. We started it. We continue it. We brag about U.S. exceptionalism.

I like Julia Baird’s piece in the 02-22-10 Newsweek, “Seeking a Moral Compass: Will the recession change us?” (By the way, I think the answer to that is “no.” I also think the U.S. will make sure that no U.S. financial institution is punished internationally. Although I sure hope the E.U. will kick some butt like it did with Microsoft.)

Back to Julia. She references Mahatma Gandhi’s mankind’s 7 social sins: commerce without morality, politics without principle, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, education without character, science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice.Wow. The U.S. wins big on sins #1, #2, and #3. And I’d say we do pretty well on the pleasure and education ones, too.

As Julia asks: “When did we come to expect money could be made – infinitely and effortlessly – by a kind of opaque algorithmic magic? When did we allow commerce to be defined primarily by debt-driven consumer spending, creating profits channeled only toward those already at the top of the heap?”

Sadly, I have no hope or faith that the U.S. will change. I see this country as dominated by the for-profit corporation mindset. Nothing seems to stop them. (And thank you again, U.S. Supreme Court!) I’m sad and ashamed.

Filed under: Social Commentary

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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