Have you tried to figure out the Recession? (Are you tired of trying to figure out the Recession?) Let's see, there was subprime lending and balloon payments and rising rates for home-buyers who probably weren't going to ever be able to make their payments anyway. There were people making loans who had no intention of holding those loans. There were financial derivatives (whatever that is). There was a housing bubble fueled by subprime mortgages and a construction bust caused when the market collapsed. And there was a credit crunch and then the fear and pessimism that came with the collapse of some huge financial institutions, and, well, I could go on…
You could get a headache trying to figure it out. But I think everyone will agree that somewhere along the way the financial industry itself made some bad choices. So I thought it was timely when I hear the NPR interview this morning with Stephen Green.
With bank bailouts and executive bonuses in the headlines, it's hard to find the connection between banking and ethics.
But it's an argument that Stephen Green, chairman of HSBC – one of the biggest banks in the world – makes in his new book about banking: Good Value: Reflections on Money, Morality and an Uncertain World.
Green is also an ordained priest in the Church of England. In his book, he proposes a "new capitalism" that brings good business and good ethics together. He says moral and spiritual values should take precedence over immediate profit.
It's an interesting interview, focused in part on Green's recent book, Good Value.