Putting the Bailout in perspective

British Baptist Times editor Mark Woods has a provocative column that puts the huge sums of money spent to repair the developed world’s financial system in a larger context:

Nearly £2 trillion has been pledged to stabilise the banking system and start the flow of credit again.

This is nearly 36 times the aid sent by the richest nations of the world to the poorest every year, and 190 times the gross domestic product of the whole of Ethiopia. We are, it seems, as profligate when it comes to solving our own problems as we are miserly when it comes to solving other people’s.

Whatever the long term effect of this bailout, it should at the very least make us, as a society and as Christians in society, take a far more critical view of the culture in which we are inevitably embedded.

. . .

The events of the last few weeks require deep reflection over many months. But if a different normality means an adjustment—no, not a lowering—in our expectations of what it’s reasonable to consume, it should surely include an adjustment in what it’s reasonable to ask for others.

It is not, with due respect to worthy campaigners, as simple as saying, ‘You’ve just spent £2 trillion on getting yourselves out of a financial mess; just give a fraction of that to Africa and all its problems will be over.’

But there is a yawning gulf between the poverty of a First World economy or City trader and that of a Zimbabwean child suffering from every disease of malnourishment. Nothing should deflect our political leaders from their commitment to end global poverty.

Read it all here. Hat tip to Jim West.

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