Our Choice: A Bank Too-Big-to-Fail or a Local Bank?
When a bank receives our deposit, they hit the “Mute” button on our voice, and the “Amplify” button on their own. Depending on the bank, the energy of our deposit, and therefore our lives, goes into building a better world or destroying this one—regardless of what our own moral values or life-purposes are.
We’ve come to a new moment in Earth’s story. Their model of business no longer fits with Earth’s story. That they defend their model vigorously puts them at odds with the planet. They are not willing to find a new inter-dependence between profit, planet, and all its inhabitants. The planet now matters in a way that was not understood a century ago or even a few decades ago. Their model of growth without limits has now taken the world economy beyond Earth’s capacity. Each year the bio-capacity of Earth is exceeded. In 2009, it happened on September 24.
To avoid the scenario of Earth’s sixth extinction, we need to make choices that withdraw from the economics of we-can-grow-bigger-than-you.
Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, 2001, and professor at Colombia University, was quoted in “The Age” (Australia), June 9, 2009, as saying… “We need to break up the too-big-to-fail banks; there is no evidence that these behemoths deliver societal benefits that are commensurate with the costs they have imposed.”
Dick Durbin, Senator from Illinois, said early in 2009 that the banks own the United States Senate. One of every three dollars in campaign contributions to Senators come from the financial sector, meaning the Wall Street financial institutions.
Can we have a voice in changing banks? Probably. At any rate we can choose to live in a different economy by making conscious choices about which bank we use. We need to better understand…
- How banks create money.
- Why the banks spend lots of lobbying money to get Republicans and Democrats to decrease regulation (1980-2005 is a remarkable period!).
- How low-regulated banks betray depositors and borrowers—instead of providing us security, they have changed clothes and become predators. The biggest de-regulated players do not act according to basic values or commonsense.
Banking and finance take us not only to the heart of economic change but also to the heart of our worship. One of Jesus’ most widely recognized sayings told us that we cannot serve both God and Mammon. They are competing deities. Either we worship the cosmic God or our worship is misdirected to economic powers. Obviously, then, the drama runs strong when we engage the financial institutions of the current, prevailing economy. They are designed to dominate, and they will not voluntarily choose to stop their domination. Yet, dominators stumble under their own arrogance.