The Curmudgeon


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Small Change

For the past few months, the Church of England's Ethical Investment Advisory Group has apparently been combing the Gospels in search of a Biblical justification for investing in corporate loan sharks. By golly, they have discovered one: "It is no more realistic to desire that they invest only in morally perfect companies than it is to desire that any of us should relate only to morally perfect individuals," proclaimed the group's chair. "In any event, such an objective would rather miss the point of the Gospel. It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick." This, of course, is a convenient adaptation of the Saviour's justification for keeping company with harlots and publicans, although the Gospels are, to my imperfect knowledge, a little vague on what financial returns He pocketed as a result. Financially speaking, the EIAG usually recommends the withdrawal method where there is "no genuine desire for change" on the part of the patient; and any corporate wish to tighten regulations or sack a few rotten apples is of course devoutly to be encouraged. But if investment in unethical companies can be justified on such grounds, it is difficult to see what the Church needs with an advisory group. If loan sharks can improve their moral health by selling the Church a few shares, then surely it is the Church's spiritual duty to spread its healing lucre into everything from weapons manufacture to child trafficking.


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