Market musings

by Richard on July 21, 2010

Lansbury’s Lido reacts to commodity market speculation in “I should cocoa”. I can only echo his “How long?”

It is extraordinary to me how The Market has come to be deified and presented as an objective reality which governs our economic life with the same inevitability that gravity governs the motions of the planet. The truth is that the market is a construct of our culture. It hasn’t always been this way, and doesn’t have to be this way in the future. It’s rules are not laws of nature. We make them. We can change them. They can be for the benefit of the wealthy and powerful, as they are now, or they can be made to serve the needs of the poor and the powerless, as the Kingdom demands.

It’s a choice.

But yes, indeed. How long?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }


dh 07.21.10 at 4:32 pm

No one is deifying anything. Having a market prevents more people from being poor than otherwise and at the same time people within this market must do all they can for the poor. It also allows for resources to be stored for future demands in the future not unlike the speculator. When prices are higher due to even lower supply in the future he will have the products to meet that demand that otherwise wouldn’t be there. It may not be his intent in the trade but that is what ends up happening indirectly.

However, to change to something where the law of unintended consequence will occur seems futile and to demonize the market because som people get rich seems strange as well. Wealth is not a zero sum game. If one is wealthy doesn’t mean that wealthy people make others poor and vice versa. I will say that all wealthy people have a rsponsibility to do all they can to help the poor and that is the call of Christ.


Chris H 07.25.10 at 9:34 am

dh, your last sentence provides us with an ideal way of dealing with the situation. If only the consideration of the poor were foremost in the minds of those that increase their wealth by these methods. To me it seems that the system needs to be dismantled and replaced or more closely regulated.


PamBG 07.25.10 at 4:42 pm

However, to change to something where the law of unintended consequence will occur

Wow. So there are no unintended consequences in free and unregulated markets? Who knew?

To answer the post: markets will not change until human values change. Our society is increasingly worshiping the concept of “I get to take my resources and do whatever I want with them whenever I want to”; in fact, I’d argue that we now define personal freedom in a democratic society in this way.

Do don’t expect markets to change too much in the near future. Especially when there are people preaching the message that there is something fundamentally evil about trying to work for the good of others from any kind of intentional, overall perspective.

We see it in the news now in the US. Free, totally unconstrained financial markets that no one understood - even those involved with it, I’m convinced - got us into the mess we’re in now. And people are blaming the lack of free markets for the debacle.

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