An Asian Christian woman living in London blogging about the everyday issues of religion

Monday, 14 November 2011

Greed Is Not Good Says Sentamu

Remember that awful line from Wall Street when Gordon Gekko said, 'Greed is Good'? Actually, the line may as well have said, 'Greed is God', because the massive accumulation of wealth became the benchmark for so called progressive societies. There was a time in the early 2000s when owning a flat screen TV was the social mobility signifier for many households. Does it not seem all lame now?
John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, wants greed to be made as socially unacceptable as racism and anti-gay feelings. Dr Sentamu says that a cultural shift is needed in a country where 'wealth has for so long been seen as a mark of status'. The impressive part of what Dr Sentamu says is his advice on how the system of reward needs to be altered. The Archbishop has certainly thought this one through. He says that those who have rewarded themselves the most handsomely should not be given a Queen's Honour.
Therein lies the recognition that greed is ingrained in our culture and the incentives for greed are plenty. Greed is to be distinguished from proportionate reward. For all the jokes and cynicism hurled at the 'Occupy' movement for being unwashed, time wasters etc I think the movement has done far more to raise the profile of inequality than any individual or organisation. I have become a fan of Occupy St.Paul's myself.
I am not an anti-capitalist. I have not lived in any country where capitalism has not been practised as a politico economic system so I don't know any different but that matters not a jot. The self-serving capitalism we have seen is wreaking havoc. Some will say that capitalism is self-serving. I am sure there's some truth in it but markets do not have a free will of their own. Manipulation is part of the free market and the inequality gap is now punishing the bottom half of the human graph.

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