Gandhi and what will destroy society

While on retreat I’ve been reading Stephen Covey’s The 8th Habit – from Effectiveness to Greatness. In it he quotes “seven things that, according to Gandhi’s teaching, will destroy us.” Here’s the list. I think it’s a bit too close for comfort in today’s U.K., particularly the last four.

  • Wealth without work
  • Pleasure without conscience
  • Knowledge without character
  • Commerce without morality
  • Science without humanity
  • Worship without sacrifice
  • Politics without principle

Tree fells Corsham

My walk to the shops to stock up with paracetomol this afternoon was barred by a fallen tree in the Martingate shopping centre, Corsham, which had been cordoned off by the police. About 30 feet tall, the tree had been growing in a paved area and had fallen onto the edge of the roof of two shops.

By the time I arrived it had been largely chopped up. There were a lot of people there to deal with it. All three council wagons were present (to block pedestrians or possibly to remove the tree). There were three or more tree surgeons with chainsaws. There was a Fire Engine with it’s own private area cordoned off with pretty blue flashing lights on the ground. I’m not sure whether they were there in case of fire or a building collapse, or in case everyone else was not strong enough to move the pieces of tree trunk. It has been wet and windy here today, however this was a surprise.

I never got to the pharmacy, but I can feel a song coming on… “On the tenth day of Christmas…”

Greedy bankers? Check first whether you live in a glass house.

They say that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. There seem to be increasing comments in the press seeking to blame greedy bankers or greedy oligarchs for the “bad financial state” we are in.

Writing in this week’s Church Times, Dr Alan Storkey writes at length about how our understanding of the current “financial problems” are mis-stated by the government, as if to throw a smoke screen. He writes that (at least at the moment) Britain’s “financial problems” do not flow from difficulties of the Eurozone but from de-industrialisation, the sale of our firms to overseas owners, and the choice of the Treasury – in allowing a “credit-financed boom” – to finance that not through ensuring that rich people are taxed proportionately but through borrowing instead.

So, where does the buck stop? Perhaps the failure of the government, in the eyes of many, to “punish” banking leaders enough is because they feel some guilt. However, who are we to point the finger of blame? Although corruption in government is not unheard of, governments on the whole try to give the electorate the sugar-coated candy that they ask for.

Maybe I should not blame banking leaders for making the most of legal deregulation to make money. Maybe I should ask myself what I am colluding with the government to unwisely ask for.