Posts Tagged ‘Ethics’
Protesting the fact that Banks are abusing the current social-economic system is absolutely necessary, and I’m glad it’s happening. But the only thing that really scares the shit out of bank CEOs and managers is when their profits are under threat.
Of course, threatening banker profits is not an easy thing to do, but one thing every single one of us is capable of is to vote with our feet and take our savings to businesses with less of a cut-throat attitude. What I am talking about are Ethical Banks. While still being privately run businesses, these banks are above all distinguished by being transparent and selective about the projects they finance. They will happily invest in projects that have social and/or environmental aims, but shun companies who pollute or exploit. In essence, they sacrifice profit margins for a secure and fond clientele that doesn’t hate them.
The arrival of Ethical Banks threatens to change the game. If they can become major players they might outstrip traditional banks – because just as people are willing to pay more for milk from happy cows, many are happy also accept marginally lower interest on their savings in exchange for the knowledge that those savings will not be used to steer global economy further into a huge ocean of shit.
So, here is what I suggest we do: Let’s take our money out of the savings accounts, and move it to one of the ethical or green banks.
Granted, ethical banks are still banks. I do not kidd myself into believing that they are responsible because their CEOs are such good-hearted people – But responsibility has become a product, and the demand is growing rapidly. The laws of their own game will force them to stay transparent and responsible in order to stay in play. It is in our power is to change the market. If we succeed, we will simply force conventional, irresponsible take-no-hostages-bankers out of business.
Personally I do not think that this is the cure to our problems; but it sure is exchanging the disease for a more benign one, giving us some air to look for alternatives.
So, go to wikipedia and take a look at its small but growing List of Ethical Banks. Perhaps join the Bank Transfer Day on facebook. Take your money out of irresponsible and greedy hands, and trust your savings to (however slightly) more responsible people. If possible, do it on november 5th, because the more people do it on the same day, the bigger is the chance of wide-spread media reports.
Don’t tell yourself that it won’t make any difference. I can guarantee it won’t do any harm. So, if nothing else, just humour us. There is a lot to gain, and nothing to lose by trying.
I get tired of people telling me that vegetarianism is just a fad, a passing trend. Here is one of the latest additions to my collection of quotes, from the writings of the greek philosopher Plutarch (46 – 120 AD):
Can you really ask what reason Pythagoras had for abstaining from flesh? For my part I rather wonder both by what accident and in what state of soul or mind the first man did so, touched his mouth to gore and brought his lips to the flesh of a dead creature, he who set forth tables of dead, stale bodies and ventured to call food and nourishment the parts that had a little before bellowed and cried, moved and lived. How could his eyes endure the slaughter when throats were slit and hides flayed and limbs torn from limb? How could his nose endure the stench? How was it that the pollution did not turn away his taste, which made contact with the sores of others and sucked juices and serums from mortal wounds? […] It is certainly not lions and wolves that we eat out of self-defense; on the contrary, we ignore these and slaughter harmless, tame creatures without stings or teeth to harm us, creatures that, I swear, Nature appears to have produced for the sake of their beauty and grace. But nothing abashed us, not the flower-like tinting of the flesh, not the persuasiveness of the harmonious voice, not the cleanliness of their habits or the unusual intelligence that may be found in the poor wretches. No, for the sake of a little flesh we deprive them of sun, of light, of the duration of life to which they are entitled by birth and being.
So yes, there already were vegetarians over 2500 years ago. Well known and ancient history even when Plutarch put these lines onto paper, phrasing quite eloquently one of the main reasons for which I abstain from eating flesh: The very idea of feeding on the carcasses of others simply disgusts me.