Monday, August 3, 2015

Economics as moral philosophy

One of the more interesting phenomena that comes up during these financial crises is the sudden interest the bankster classes take in moral philosophy.  Of course, what those folks are worried about is that someone might suggest that the creditors get back any less than 100% of what they are supposedly owed.  That is what they really mean when they start talking about "moral hazard."

I don't agree with the banksters on much, but I do agree that economics is an offshoot of moral philosophy.  My agreement that there are ethical dimensions to economic questions is rooted in personal experience—with all my religious training, this really is my turf.  And I enjoy playing on it for one basic reason—for all its flaws, Christianity has core concepts that practiced well, lead to very prosperous societies.  Unfortunately, there are rogue versions that turn those strategies for trying to lead a gentle life into monstrosities like imperialism—had to be a member of the Church of England to serve in the Royal Navy during the heady days of empire, you know.

Now if anyone should have a handle on the problem that credit practices pose to industrialized countries, it should surely be Germany.  Yet there were the Germans during the latest Greek crises acting as if they had never been the folks who needed their debts restructured—scowling and lecturing about moral hazard completely oblivious to the fact that they had become ethical monsters who actually looked the part of devils.  Last February, I wrote about how far Angela Merkel, the Lutheran preacher's daughter, had strayed from the teachings of Matthew 18 all the while effectively bringing Dana Carvey's church lady back to life.

Yes, Germany, economics is, and should be, a branch of moral philosophy.  But you're getting it all wrong these days.  Who's making you behave so badly?  Could it be...SATAN?  (ht Carvey)

"For Germans, economics is still part of moral philosophy": why Germany won't help Greece

Dylan Matthews on June 30, 2015

Jane Kramer's profile of Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi in last week's New Yorker only mentions Greece by name once. But toward the end, there's a paragraph that perfectly sums up why Germany has been pushing policies on Greece that look clearly unsustainable to most outside observers:

[Former Italian prime minister Mario] Monti told me that, when he was Prime Minister and visited Barack Obama at the White House, Obama admitted to being at a loss to know "how to engage Merkel on matters of economic policy." Obama asked his advice, and Monti replied, "For Germans, economics is still part of moral philosophy, so don’t even try to suggest that the way to help Europe grow is through public spending. In Germany, growth is the reward for virtuous economics, and the word for ‘guilt’ and ‘debt’ is the same."

Even since World War II, German economic thinking has been dominated by "ordoliberalism," a philosophy developed by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and other policymakers as West Germany recovered in the late 1940s. Ordoliberalism isn't purely laissez-faire, and maintains a role for state intervention in the economy, but it strongly emphasizes keeping debt to a minimum. This anti-debt economic dogma is very deeply held. University of Helsinki researchers Timo Harjuniemi and Markus Ojala analyzed German newspaper coverage of the eurozone crisis and found that the coverage overwhelmingly blames Greece and other indebted countries: "their fiscal policies have been too lax, social spending has been too generous, and the public sector has become overblown. As a result of countries living beyond their means, the public debt burden has become too heavy, thus causing the debt crisis." Harjuniemi and Ojala find that this consensus is held by both center-left and center-right German newspapers.

And because Germany is by far the most powerful actor in Europe, European policy toward Greece has reflected the ordoliberal consensus within Germany. The whole approach is premised on the idea that Greece needs to pay back what it owes, both to private investors who bought the country's bonds and to the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund, the "Troika" that has been funding Greece's bailouts. The Europeans — led by Germany — have also insisted that Greece not take on any more debt and pass austerity budgets.

Those budgets have, in turn, prevented Greece from growing, raising the prospect that growth requires letting Greece deficit-spend. But as Monti notes, Germans' ordoliberalism is so deep as to be more of a moral principle than an economic theory. That — and the fact that German taxpayers want their bailout money paid back — eliminates any chance of chancellor Angela Merkel and other European policymakers letting Greece spend more.  more

1 comment:

    The prevailing thought of many is that since the Bible was not canonized until sometime between 300 and 400 A.D. that the church of Christ did not have New Covenant Scriptures as their guide for faith and practice. That is simply factually incorrect.

    The Lord's church of the first 400 years did not rely on the man-made traditions of men for New Testament guidance.

    Jesus gave the terms for pardon 33 A.D. after His death and resurrecting. (Mark 16:16) All the words of Jesus were Scripture.Jesus did not have to wait for canonization of the New Testament in order for His word to be authorized.

    The terms for pardon were repeated by the apostle Peter 33 A.D. on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:22-42) The teachings of the apostles were Scripture. The words of the apostles were Scripture before they were canonized.

    The apostle Peter said the apostle Paul's words were Scripture. (2 Peter 3:15-16...just as also our beloved brother Paul , according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand,which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures...

    The apostle Paul's letters and words were Scriptures when he wrote and spoke them. Paul did not have to wait for canonization to authorize his doctrine.

    John 14:25-26 'These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to you remembrance all that I said to you.

    The words and writings of the apostles were Scripture and they did not have to wait for canonization to be deemed authoritative. The apostle did not use man-made creed books of the church or man-made oral traditions to teach the gospel of the New Covenant.

    Did the early church have written New testament Scriptures? Yes, and they were shared among the different congregations. (Colossians 4:16 When the letter is read among you, have it read in the church of the Laodiceans and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodica.) Paul's letters were Scripture and they were read in different churches.

    They were New Testament Scriptures long before they were canonized.


    Matthew A.D. 70
    Mark A.D. 55
    Luke between A.D. 59 and 63
    John A.D. 85
    Acts A.D. 63
    Romans A.D. 57
    1 Corinthians A.D. 55
    2 Corinthians A.D. 55
    Galatians A.D. 50
    Ephesians A.D. 60
    Philippians A.D. 61
    Colossians A. D. 60
    1 Thessalonians A.D. 51
    2 Thessalonians A.D. 51 or 52
    1 Timothy A.D. 64
    2 Timothy A.D. 66
    Titus A.D. 64
    Philemon A.D. 64
    Hebrews A.D. 70
    James A.D. 50
    1 Peter A.D. 64
    2 Peter A.D. 66
    1 John A.D. 90
    2 John A.d. 90
    3 John A.D. 90
    Jude A.D. 65
    Revelation A.D. 95

    All 27 books of the New Testament were Scripture when they were written. They did not have wait until they were canonized before they became God's word to mankind.

    Jesus told the eleven disciples make disciples and teach them all that He commanded. (Matthew 28:16-19) That was A.D. 33, They were teaching New Covenant Scripture from A.D. 33 forward. The apostles did not wait to preach the gospel until canonization occurred 300 to 400 years later.



    AS A MATTER OF FACT! When God said "Let Us make man in Our image, (Genesis 1:27) it was God's Word. God's creation of man was true before it was canonized 4450 years later. The book of Genesis was Scripture the moment it was written. Man-Made oral tradition was not, nor will it ever be Scripture.


    Posted by Steve Finnell at 2:37 PM 1 comment:
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