Thought for the Day - Rev Joel Edwards - 20/03/2013
It’s difficult to avoid discussions about financial crisis at the moment. In the past two weeks we have had an avalanche of concerns.
And later today the Chancellor will set out his 2013 budget against the backdrop of more unrest in the Eurozone.
As we’ve been hearing, Cyprus bank closures, imposed to give its Parliament extended time to raise €5.8b and avoid financial collapse, may be lifted tomorrow with uncertain consequences when the banks finally open.
With plane-loads of cash being flown in to alleviate the situation, you can’t help feeling that money really does make the world go round. As always, the problem seems to be working out who really owns the money.
But in Cyprus yet another set of important questions have emerged from the fiscal fiasco. In a nation where the wealthy have reaped the benefits of low taxes and where over 21% of the population are foreign-residents, who should pay the bill?
Surely it makes sense to put your money where you get the best return? But how do you differentiate between financial prudence and shrewd investment in a nations’ poverty? In the current scenario, Cypriot nationals could well find themselves penalized alongside wealthy visitors, whose principle allegiance to Cyprus is personal profit.
The situation is reminiscent of a dinner party where everyone is arguing about how much we should pay, when the bill turns out to be a lot more expensive than we planned.
The crisis raises tough questions for our politicians, but they’re critical questions for all of us.
Christian faith has always been clear that money matters; it fails when it becomes squeamish about it. Jesus talked a lot about profit and reward. He told stories about workers who started at the end of the day and received the same pay as the ones who put in a full shift.
And Christian tradition is also concerned about economic eco-systems in which the privileged underwrites the survival of the poorest. In the earliest records of the Christian, Church they protected the most vulnerable and sold their possessions so that, in the words of the New Testament, no one was poor among them.
In Cyprus, and across our economic systems, we’re all claiming to do the same.
But no one seems quite certain which values will drive our fiscal policies to help us get there.
Available since: Wed 20 Mar 2013
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