Add to them the descriptions of Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist of the street children in 1830s London, a phenomenon brought about by the Industrial Revolution. It seems pretty clear that the chaos Dickens and the sages sought to explain and prescribe a cure for was good old greed – even Gordon Gekko would recognize that.
Greed is nothing new. People have known that usury is wrong for thousands of years. The ancient Hindus and Buddhists said it was as did the ancient Greeks that condemned practice as did the Hebrews and the Prophet Mohammed. The Catholic Church recognized the dangers of banking and loaning money at excessive interest. Usury was against the Natural Law, you could go to hell for it until the Church decided that it was a mortal sin unless the Catholic Church loaned the money, which was then done in the name of God. The only other exceptions were Jews who the Church fathers decided were going to hell anyway. At the same time, greed made it okay for the Church to sell tickets out of purgatory in form of indulgences.
Although greed is still viewed as wrong the world is a much more complex and people rationalize it. People stake out beliefs, and justify their greed through appeals to a higher authority. They say that God gave them that right to be greedy. God is the final arbiter. Thus God gave nations land, like “he”, it is always “he”, is a real estate broker. God thus gives the individual level the right to ignore that other people’s children work in sweatshops to make toys to give them to your children at a low price.
Aside from witnessing life, my ideas have been formed from a variety of sources. As mentioned the sages and my religious upbringing exposed me to ideas such as usury. From the scholastics I learned that if something is true then something that contradicts it cannot be true. It is just simple logic.
ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: It’s the Message Not the Wrapping Paper » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.