Money is an essential age-old means by which civilisation is able to function and advance. Without a reliable means of exchange the various parts of an economy of any kind cannot work together to create value.
Banks are obviously integral to the storage, flow and investment of money. They are crucial to the wise allocation of funds for creative and worthwhile enterprises such as
Charities to rescue those who suffer from deprivation
Companies providing products and services to enhance our lives
Government and public institutions (e.g. NHS in the UK)Over the last decade or so I have increasingly heard about ethical banks. Recently I came across Triodos while reading Christian Aid News. This has savers (e.g. 30,000 in the UK) who want their money to build a sustainable society and help such organisations as
- Cafedirect, the Fairtrade tea and coffee producer
- Jamie’s Farm, which rehabilitates deprived urban children
- Ecotricity, which provides green energy across the UK
It publishes details of all the businesses it lends to and does not provide contractual bonuses to its employees.
Such organisations are beacons of light in a dark financial world. What is sad is that it is necessary to categorise a small number of these under the heading ‘ethical banks’. All banks should be ethical, adhering to values of truth, innovation, compassion, loyalty, sustainability and vision for a better future, either as a step towards these values becoming more widespread, or better, as a symptom of a society in which such values prevail.
In this kind of society all institutions would function so much more efficiently. So how do we get there?
For these values to become widespread in any nation there needs to be moral leadership, inspiration and sound education for all, irrespective of class, gender or race. So it falls on churches, youth groups, schools and universities to guide young people towards these values, which in turn requires leaders to find within themselves the power to lead us in the right direction, a power which, I believe, must ultimately come from faith in our Creator.
In the long run we need to make redundant the ethical banking sector by making ethical banking the norm.
Author of the novel 2077 AD.