This week at City Bible Forum Peter Kaldor spoke in response to the economic situation that has been unfolding all over the world with a talk entitled: Meltdown Monday: Folly, greed or Victims of Circumstance?. His talk was originally targeted at Meltdown Monday when Lehmann Brothers folded a couple of weeks ago, but then the Monday just gone, ~$1.3 Trillion was wiped from the American Stock exchange; it was, however, applicable to both cases.
He first outlined 4 facts:

  • There had been some enormous write-downs
  • Banks were collapsing
  • Wealth had been wiped-off
  • The American Government looked at an intervention

But all this wasn’t something that hadn’t been seen sometime before, yet a few factors are significant in this:

  • The suddenness
  • Peter quoted Randy Stone of Lehmann Brothers in March 08 saying

    The bank is in good shape

  • The sheer scale of problems
  • ~$2.3 Trillion in problem mortgages leading to ~$51 Trillion in Credit Derivatives

  • The problem impacted globally
  • Banks in Iceland, the United Kingdom and Belgium are folding

Part of the blame can be attributed to:

  • Investment Bankers
  • Short Sellers
  • The Government or the Federal/Reserve Banks
  • Rating Agencies
  • an unreasonable amount of debt
  • As a result of loose credit, consumer greed and lack of regulation
  • Inflated Asset Prices
  • a Liquidity Crisis leading to a Credit Crisis
  • due to lack/loss of information to investors

So this results in a few consequences:

  • Immediate impact on economic growth
  • Growing cynicism:
  • “Privatisation of profits, socialisation of losses”

  • Lack of confidence in the free market

Peter finally mentioned that this crisis reveals things about human nature:

  • an unsatiable desire for more
  • anxious
  • These lead to frustration, affliction and anger.

there were several points he raised from this:

  1. We are born naked and we die naked
  2. Relationships are stronger than wealth, and more important
  3. drawn from the passage read being Ecclesiastes 4:7-12

    7 Again, I saw vanity under the sun: 8 one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.

    9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

  4. Folly is addressed in James 4:13-16
  5. 13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

  6. Greed is addressed in Luke 12:13-15
  7. 13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

  8. Victims of Circumstance is addressed in Mark 12:28-31
  9. 28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”