Jim Wallis – Principles for Financial Fesponsibility

Jim Wallis, leader of Evangelicals for Social Action,  suggests in a recent article in Sojourners three principles for financial responsibility, in the context of the present world economic crisis. And, although he has in mind especially the United States, these principles are universal and apply across the board in all cultures.

As the present bankruptcy of Greece proves, only the application of such rigurous rules could prevent a new, more serious crisis. Here are his suggestions:

First, provide transparency and accountability. Given the human condition and the many temptations of money, we need transparency and accountability in financial markets and instruments, including high-risk and questionable ones such as the now infamous “derivatives.” To protect the common good, we need to enact greater regulation and oversight of all elements of the banking industry.

Second, provide consumer protection. Any pastor can now tell you stories of how parishioners were mistreated, cheated, and damaged by current banking practices. Many clergy strongly favor protecting consumers from predatory financial practices. They want a strong independent Consumer Finance Protection Agency, with jurisdiction and enforcement power over all companies in the financial sector, in order to protect people from fraudulent, misleading, and abusive practices.

Third, limit size and risk, so banks are no longer too big to fail – and are bailed out at public expense. This means setting limits on the size of financial institutions and the risks they can take. Ban bank ownership of private investment funds, and establish an orderly process to dissolve a failing bank, in order to avoid future taxpayer bailouts. Give a stronger voice to shareholders and investors in institutional practices and policies – including determining the executive compensation of companies, and the now infamous bank executive bonuses.

Read HERE the whole article.

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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