Opinion by Helge Nome
Many people are now asking themselves why things have gone so terribly wrong in our society,
such as in the social and financial sectors.
Technologically we are further advanced than at any time in recorded history, and yet, things have literally gone off the rails in other areas. Why is this?
I have a theory, for the financial area in particular, where there are essentially three elements involved in the present debacle:
#1, the interest bearing nature of the debt created when new money, or credit, is being brought into being to facilitate the creation and exchange of goods and services. This creates a vicious circle of ever increasing debt that literally chases its own tail.
#2, the nature of our financial accounting system which does not ensure that sufficient purchasing power is made available for consumers of goods and services because it does not distribute sufficient income to consumers to enable them to consume what is being produced, largely by themselves with the help of technology, without having to incurr interest bearing debt.
#3, the gambling instinct has taken hold in society to a point where it considered to be OK to simply gamble for a living without doing any productive work. This in spite of the fact that unbridled gambling is one of the oldest proven vices known to humankind, and that message is embedded in scripture as a warning to the future.
We have chosen to disregard that warning. I just picked up a Saturday, September 12, copy of the National Post, which is a newspaper published Canada wide, and an article caught my eye: "B.C. ANTES UP" by Brian Hutchinson wherein he describes how the Province of British Columbia has become addicted to proceeds from gambling. According to the article, the Province will now legalize and also promote internet gambling when studies show that 41.3% of online gambling revenues in Canada are derived from problem gamblers. The net income from gambling to BC's General revenue Fund for 2008/9 was $658 million. Income distributed to charities was $156 million in the same period. And now a gambler in BC can build up to $520,000 in his or her government controlled account in one year and will soon be able to wager the entire sum on one virtual poker hand or one virtual spin of the wheel.
The moral question that emerges from this is: Are we our brother's keeper? Or is it OK to send him down the chute if "he is stupid enough to get caught up in gambling"?
There are many who think that the latter answer is the right one. What they forget is that gambling is very infectious, like the H1N1 virus, and it has now played havoc with our financial system, to the point where no one feels safe any more. Is that what we want?