The more the 'Credit Crunch' seems to bite, the more the blame-game is being played.
It's the banks.
No, it's the hedge-fund manager.
The short sellers are to blame.
The Government should have send the regulators in way earlier I say.
It's the cheap import, we can't compete any more!
No, it's the number of immigrants taking over our jobs.
How about the property developers, they forced up the house prices way too high in the first place, all for a quick buck.
The shareholders - they are to blame!
How refreshing is it then to read the article by Sir Jonathan Sacks (Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth) in this Saturday's Times, putting his finger on the real issue IMHO:
Morals: the one thing markets don't make - No amount of regulation will restore our sense of honour and shame. Economics needs ethics
"Often, these past months, I have found myself going back to one of the most painful conversations I have had. It was with one of Britain's leading industrialists. He had led his company to consistent success for decades. When I met him he had retired and was near the end of his life.
He was not a religious man but he was a deeply moral one. He spoke of the principles that had guided him in business and of the salary he had drawn. It was not negligible, but it was modest. What pained him was that his successor had awarded himself a salary ten times that amount, while systematically destroying the company he had so carefully built."
"Common to these stories is the gradual disappearance of the cluster of principles that went by the name of morality. Whatever its source - religion, conscience, custom or code - it meant that there are certain things you don't do because they are not done."
"Somehow, between the 1960s and 1980s the idea prevailed that we could
do without the moral sense. Who needed it any more? In the 1960s we
thought that the State would take care of our problems. In the 1980s we
thought that the market would. Self-imposed restraints were dismissed
as outmoded and killjoy. Greed was good. The guy with the most toys
when he dies, wins."
(I'll hope you will read the whole article!)
He ends his marvellous and full of - for some hurting - truths article (rant?) with this pondering question:
The big question is: how do we learn to be moral again? Markets were made to serve us; we were not made to serve markets. Economics needs ethics. Markets do not survive by market forces alone. They depend on respect for the people affected by our decisions. Lose that and we lose not just money and jobs but something more significant still: freedom, trust and decency, the things that have a value, not a price.
I sincerely hope we go back to 'the old times' where ethical and honest common sense principles of "doing good for the long-term benefit of all of us" wasn't even thought about: it was just there.
In every dealing you do, in every contact/contract you make.
It seems to be forgotten by most, traded in for short term individual benefit. Let's take that pledge again and work ethical on/for the long term benefits and value for all. It is really simple to do - just give it a decent try.
You'll at least sleep better tonight.