Wednesday, July 16, 2008

True Values of a Human Being

What price do you put on a human being? To be fair, I do not know how this question is approached in other religions? No doubt the value and recognition of a human being has evolved over time.

Christians claim to put a high price on the value and dignity of every human being.

In Jesus’ time, there was slavery as an established and grossly inefficient way of doing work. How efficient? You worked your slaves to death. No pension or retirement plans back then. There was a huge and non ending supply of fresh meat for the meat grinder of the military/mercantile empire of Rome.

Of course with an entity like the Roman Empire, everybody in terms of race and or religion or even personal beliefs was grist for the mill of a giant non-stop 24/7 beast from hell.

Our elites over the centuries have unearthed beautiful statues and rediscovered the magnificence and simplicity of the Roman city plan. Rome has been reinvented a thousand different ways in literature, art, architecture, law, religion since the great rebirth or renaissance in the West.

Our view of Rome in the past is I think much more kind than that ancient civilization deserves to be viewed.

I am big on timelines in looking at history. Of course, Rome continued in the east in Constantine’s Xanadu city of Contantinople until 1453 when the latest enemy at the gates got over the gates and that city became the jewel of somebody else’s empire.

Since the reformation, I see personal freedoms and rights slowly evolving in western Europe to the point where civil institutions have stood for the rights of man and not religions.

Religion in the west has always stood for the afterlife. If you can’t get it here, you’re likely to get there. How convenient.

Jumping forward on the timeline to the present, I hear someone on the television talking about outsourcing and how an accountant earning $50k per year can be replaced by ten accountants in New Delhi who earn $5k per year. Efficient yes. Fair?

I am looking at the financial institutions in the west, in the USA in particular today, and am wondering why the value of human beings was not in any recent financial equations. I wonder why somebody at Freddie Mac or is it Fannie Mae got $14 million in salary one year. Freddy and of course Fannie have to do with packaging of home mortgages into securities that are traded globally. I have to wonder what these high earners did to deserve such large salaries. I have to wonder if anybody saw any spikes in their spreadsheets as the cost of a home in America doubled and tripled and quadrupled over a handful of years.

Wall Street, these days, seems merely to be a casino shooting craps and charging fees, fees, fees, on the few lucky ones that have pension funds left to be looted by the privileged financial classes.

If one recognizes human beings as people, if one knows the price of the loaf of bread in America or the rest of the world - One has to wonder where the common sense was when paperwork coming into these institutions stated that the people applying for these questionable mortgages could afford them.

It would appear that the disintegrating quality of securities sold overseas shows evidence of the original paperwork being forged or falsified. I used to work in the mortage business when everything was above board. I know the difference between a bona fide mortgage package and a scank loan package put together by commissioned salespeople motivated not by morality but by bonuses.

The big MBA types, motivated by bonuses, managing the wealth and legacy of the United States saw no problems in the whole burgeoning mess until the present collapse of confidence in our government and financial institutions at present.

Somewhere in this whole bloody local and global mess, besides the lack of morality, is the lack of people, common people, the value of people other than as a commodity, in the financial equations invented at Harvard, Brown, and Wharton in the 1960’s when the concept of a global village and a global economy became the undisputed goal of all future business and diplomatic efforts of the United States.

We may be on the verge of greatness and a great global empire. But at what cost? What is the price of a soul? My soul? Your soul? What is the price of our collective souls as well?

What are the true values of a human being in terms of the sacred and or the secular? Locally? Globally?

It may be a secular world but where in the education system of so many college graduates, who have run this nation into the ground, where is the value of a human being or the dignity and respect for his or her soul? Whose bottom line is more important – God’s or Caesar’s ?

Where is Jesus? He is in the streets with the people. They are the very valuable People of God.