It makes me think of the parable of the Prodigal son that Jesus told. That the son who chose to take his inheritance and leave home for the 'world', and squandered his inheritance before returning destitute and hoping simply to live once again in his fathers household as a servant bears a striking resemblance to the dreadful practices of those who undermined business in those years.
The whole ethos of business was destroyed. I suppose too it's the story of the spenders and savers.
The son who stayed at home to serve his Father felt unrewarded for his labour. Much as those of us who choose not to live by debt, and attempt to keep within our means. For the first time in economic history to my knowledge the last nine years has upended the paradigm that says savingis preferable to being in debt.
The way that especially in America asset rich companies, often with a sense of Family, and institutional values were torn apart ripped the heart out of both the economy and the sense of correctness, institution and continuity within society. It has only taken a further twenty years for this loss of corporate integrity that existed with ownership of assets, to filter through to the wider base of society. It has made the poor more vulnerable, and the true wealth of investment in the infrastructure and people driven values within business fail. It has taken the beating heart of economy and made it sclerotic. Lamentable and entirely avoidable.
Yet those who became rich in their own eyes have squandered. There is nothing left for them to sell except promises which cannot be kept, and they are now indebted beyond imagination to the workers who have become disillusioned, angry and bitter over the looting of their pensions, their ability to simply manage their own household.
Coupled with poor governance by politicians who should represent the matters and concerns of their constituents, society has become sick. Undermined in value. Stripped of respect. Poverty stricken in moral core. The electorate feel their governments are 'owned' by the very raiders who stole the inheritance away from them to use for their own ends.
The complaint of the son who stayed at home working diligently for the household, and expecting a fair share of the fathers inheritance. Yet not to be.
The Father in this parable saw fit to forgive his errant son who left and squandered. He reinstated him.
I always wondered why this should be the Fathers decision, when it alienated the faithful son. Yet there must be a greater meaning, and reason for the Father's joy at seeing his lost son, and welcoming him back so lavishly.
Perhaps the Father knew of the hardest lessons the errant son learned by his fateful journey from wealth to poverty. Lessons that could be learned no other way.
The inheritance the errant son took were liquidated assets. Money. Which didn't last very long. The experience of finding hangers on who deserted him when the money was gone. The loss of power and esteem in the eyes of the world. The derision of the elected representatives who no longer serve the electorate, but the commercial whims of untrustworthy Bankers, and conglomerates.
The errant son learned the value of labour, of inherent value, of stability. He learned what real wealth was about, the upholding of family values, of not taking out his share of the capital assets of his family.
Again it is those values the Bible teaches that hold firm in an unstable world. The ability for those who damaged the whole to play their part in rebuilding what was liquidated for short term gain. It is never too late to invest in the real world, where people need meaning and create wealth from the bottom up, and expect that wealth to filter back like the refilling of a spent well, a drained aquifer.
Making people poor is not the best way to run a world. People need a good reward for their labour.
The Father pointed out to the Faithful Son, that he had enjoyed the benefits of stability. Perhaps there was some reconciliation between the two brothers, but I suspect it took a very long time for the Faithful Son to trust his errant brother again. I wonder if their father made a good wIll in the end for the two brothers.
We all have to learn lessons. When the temptations are greatest to act without prudence, and we have fell victim to ambitions that damage society as a whole, there must become a point in which those who have been power driven, and money slaves realIse the futility of it all.