Thursday, July 5, 2012

Greed, Presbyterians and General Assembly

Good Grief!

That's all I can say.

While GA was considering a motion regarding corporate greed, some misguided soul stood up and proclaimed, "Greed is necessary to our system. Without greed, it wouldn't work."

And then added, or perhaps was it someone else, "American Business is based upon two principles: greed and charity. Because I'm greedy, I'll start my business; and because I'm charitable, I'll give you a job."

At the local gathering of the Red Neck Twine Convention, I'd expect to hear this.

But on the floor of General Assembly, out of the mouths of presbyterians (please note the lack of capitalization), those who stand in the tradition of John Calvin and his profound and still applicable understanding of sin?

And if Calvin is a stretch.

Read the Book of James.

Listen to Jesus.

Check out the prophets.

Now, some thoughts about greed.

To suggest that the entrepreneurial spirit is driven by greed is an insult to millions of Americans who have started up companies, in order to build the better mousetrap, to be their own boss, to bring to fruition an idea, or just to do it.

All of these folks would be insulted to hear anyone suggest their motive is greed.

The motive is higher and better than that, and may even include the profit-motive, but most start-ups are done by folks with a good idea, and they'd be happy just to make a living and support their family.

So, what about greed?

As I have known it, greed flourishes in corporate offices on the 34th floor of anonymous office buildings in anonymous cities around the world. Greed flourishes when the bottom line and Wall Street demand stock performance and nothing else counts. Greed flourishes in such places where corporate heads have long lost touch with the gals and guys on Main Street, including the small business owner and small manufacturer. Greed is evident when decisions are made that cost millions of jobs, and millions in salaries and benefits, while protecting the wealthy, enhancing their profit-flow, and providing corporate jets and limos.

Yes, I have greed in my heart. We all do. But greed needs the 34th floor to truly flourish. All dressed up in Armani Suits and fine Italian Shoes, when a $1000 dinner is nothing but chump-change, and a quick trip to some exotic resort in South America is just another weekend away.

Greed is ripping to shreds the American Dream, because corporate structures have virtually consumed all the nation.

In days past, when even large companies were still owned by families, there were levels of accountability and kindness. But with ownership passing into the hands of stockholders around the world, with stocks being manipulated by Wall Street Jockeys who have never dirtied their hands on an assembly line or worked up a sweat other than in an expensive health spa, greed has finally found an environment where it can grow without competition, and grow it does.

How sad that a GA Commissioner would mouth such nonsense.

GA did the right thing on the motion, but my heart is grieved by the man who stood on the floor of GA and trumpeted the wonders of greed.


1 comment:

David Derus said...

I liked his comment. It keeps things interesting. I do not think we could have such a large denomination with out some odd ducks. And it is not like anyone took him seriously. The poison comes in when those disagreeing with one side of the opinion use him to characterize all of their opponents.