Integrative philosophy (3)
The global financial crisis in the perspective of the fourfold model of society.
Before I go into the topic of the global financial crisis, I must not forget to mention that I had been pondering some time on the relation between a seed (especially the DNA) and the form that develops out of the seed. I had been considering that the seed (with its DNA pattern) and form express different stages of the plant life and should be put on different "levels" or categories.
I was very glad to encounter the differentiation of pattern and form in J.G. Bennett's writings. That confirmed my intuition about it. It was not very clearly defined in Arthur Young's model. That had to do with the fact that Arthur used Aristotle's four causes as descriptive of the four levels. Later I encountered Proclus six causes. He had split Aristotle's formal cause in two separate causes: the paradigmatic cause ("the pattern", or seed-form, as I take it) and the eicon (model, or reflection of the pattern). This tallies of course with theosophical notions of "causal principle" (auric egg) and linga sharira (or model body, etheric body) which latter form is an emanation from the auric egg. So, here I had a handle on that issue, at last. The paradigma is on a higher level than the eicon. That's for sure. For the moment I put it on layer one of my model, to be validated by philosophic and scientific research.
Now, on to the topic of this posting. This will be a short reflection on the financial crisis that plagues our world. It is my own reflection, and is related to my fourfold model of society.
"Institutionalized greed" could be the name for the remake of the "Wall street " movie, as its director tells us.
When we consider the fact that a country (its government, social sphere) should have laws in operation that regulate, or control, economic life appropriately, we can ask ourselves: "what went wrong?" and "what is the appropriate sphere for risk taking and debt resolution related to the financial crisis?". Well, we all know what went wrong. There was so much pressure and greed for short-term profits that the banks/mortgage creditors lured their customers into immoral contracts. People who could never pay their mortgage were offered low interest rates in the first two years. After that those rates rose sharply. The political system (in the USA) encouraged the practice of getting low income groups to buy their own houses.
On top of that, intransparant products were issued, credit default swaps, and the like, which were also traded massively internationally. What we see here is that banks forget about the role they have to play in the economic system. On the one hand, they act as savings and mortgage banks, on the other as business banks. Mixing those two roles has proved disastrous. A separation of these tasks would be better. This has to do with the risks associated especially with the business banks.
(BTW, there seem to be still large debts present with many banks. Financial specialists speculate that a scenario like that in Japan will hit the Western world. In Japan, there has been little economic growth since 1990. Many debts of the banks in Japan have been conveniently parked "out of sight", not visible anymore on the balance sheets. Is the same going to happen in the West? Possibly).
Now, what is one of the most scandalous parts of this whole crisis, is the way some of the sky-high debts of banks have been taken over by the governments (hence, the people of the countries involved -- us!). Can someone tell me please why the creditors (those who have bought bonds of a bank), and the shareholders largely too, are spared any burden of this crisis? Why do the common hard-working, badly paid people have to bear the burden of this crisis, which is caused by over-paid bonus-greedy financial workers? This is immoral! Small wonder that people protest vehemently. Have the political sphere (social, public sphere) and the economical sphere become too entangled? It certainly looks that way. No, one has to put financial risks in the economic sphere, not in the social sphere. The latter should regulate the economy, not laissez-faire. Although the economic sphere should operate autonomously, this does not mean that there should be no control from the social, or public, sphere.
We should have learned from the way nature solves problems of control (as Stafford Beer shows - see previous posting in this series).
We will pay dearly for the mistakes made, for years to come! Mass unemployment, heavy taxes, less government services and curtailed pensions will be our part.