Economic theory without any moral content can and does create misery. It is similar to the theories of nuclear fusion and genetic manipulation.
Were these theories left in the hands of practitioners and unregulated by social concerns, they would permanently damage the World. Economic theory is now left in the hands of economists and it is causing damage.
Economic principles are based on the structure created by government and civil Society. Therefore, the principles will apply under different sets of rules and different structures.
It is possible for any government and civil Society to create or change those rules to accommodate a wide variety of cultural and social values. It is also possible for the government to include a moral component to the economic rules of the Society.
The virtues of altruism, charity, tolerance, forgiveness and mercy are not directly addressed in free market economics, although they are addressed in socialist economics.
Free market systems usually leave these virtues to individual choice or to the political system to implement while socialist systems force choices about virtues on the entire population.
A moral economic system is one that avoids the extremes of either ignoring common virtues or forcing centralized moral choices on the entire population while still addressing the issues of poverty, health, income disparity and misery and producing an efficient quantity of high quality goods and services.
I said, ‘As you’re coming down the final stretch, you are racing towards the finish, and there is the stone wall. And you’re not pulling your horse, you’re not stopping. Your’e in fact accelerating.’
I said, ‘That’s the way I see the use of what you call resources. You’re using them faster than they’re reproducing. And you’re headed towards that disaster, and none of you are pulling your horse.’
I said, ‘Take the example of a car race, they have a yellow flag. When there’s an accident, a yellow flag comes out, everybody get’s into line, they slow down. They have a concept about that, at least.’
I said, ‘Do you have a concept of a yellow flag? Is there a yellow flag amongst your ideas or your thinking?’
And one of the gentlemen, we’re all men [in the room], maybe 50 to 60, 65, and he said, ‘You know, I understand what you’re saying. But to answer your question, no, we can’t pull our horse as you say.’
‘Because’, he said, ‘we must show a profit, as a CEO I must show a profit. If I don’t show a profit I’m fired. Simple as that, I’m out of a job. I have to show a profit.’
I said, ‘To who?’
He said, ‘To you, the stockholder.’
I said, ‘Well, are you married?’
He said, ‘Yes I am.’
I said, ‘Do you have children?’
He said, ‘Yes I do.’
I said, ‘Do you have any grandchildren?’
He said, ‘I have two, two boys.’
I said, ‘When do you cease to be a CEO and become a grandfather?’
There was a lot of silence there, because that was a moral question. And if you don’t have a moral question in your governing process, you don’t have a process that’s gonna survive. That’s the governing law, the moral question. You must have a moral Society or you won’t have any …
He couldn’t answer the question and neither could anyone else, because it was a moral question. That’s what we must get back to.
So they said, ‘Look, you’re an Indian, and we keep hearing about Indian prophecies. Can you give us a prophecy? Can you tell us a prophecy?’
At that particular moment I said, ‘Certainly I can. And I can guarantee it.’
They said, ‘Really, what is it?’
I said, ‘Next year you’ll meet and nothing will have changed.’
Again there was silence.
We’re moving in a very direct line to that stone wall. I do not believe personally that we have passed the line, or the point of no return. But we’re approaching it, we’re approaching it.
And every day that you don’t do what’s right is a day that you’ve lost an option. And you’re losing your options every day.