Wednesday, January 7, 2009

When Bankers Rule

Peter Maurin was the brain trust behind Dorothy Day. (Not to say that she needed more brains!) A French philosopher, he wrote simple essay/poems that are punchy for their pith and still relevant. Here's one:

When Bankers Rule by Peter Maurin, 1877-1949

Modern society has made the bank account the standard of values.
When the bank account becomes the standard of values
the banker has the power.
When the banker has the power
the technician has to supervise the making of profits.
When the banker has the power
the politician has to assure law and order in the profit-making system.
When the banker has the power
the educator trains students in the technique of profit making
When the banker has the power
the clergyman is expected to bless the profit-making system or to join the unemployed.
When the banker has the power
the Sermon on the Mount is declared unpractical.
When the banker has the power
we have an acquisitive, not a functional society.


thailandchani said...

How utterly true this is! The interesting thing is that people have been writing about this for many, many years. It makes me wonder why so many people are so resistant to "getting" it.


Yolanda said...

Oh how true this is . Thanks for sharing it.

ThomasLB said...

I especially liked the last two stanzas, about the Sermon on the Mount and acquisitive vs. functional.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Lisa said...

Wow. So true. So sadly true. And here we are.

eProf2 said...

Interesting find, BE. And, so true!

Border Explorer said...

Someday I ought to post on the book Your Money or Your Life which fell into my life at a very good time. It probably was the turning point that almost completely freed me from the banker aspect of our civilization. My life is so much happier now. I wish every one could be as happy as I am. And yet I know we all have to find our own way.

Thanks for chiming in on the post, friends.

Carol said...


Yeah. Your Money or Your Life is a very good book.

Like Thomas (gee... I get tired of saying that, but I seem to agree with him more often than not), I like the last two stanzas the best. I have so often wondered how the people in power (who often declare themselves to be Christian) can live the lives they live contrary to the beautiful wisdom of the Sermon on the Mount.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Prescient, isn't it?

Dianne said...

I read something very recently that helped me a bit -

I paraphrase - the gist was that ...

in this current economy those whose souls will survive, perhaps even blossom, are those who know or learn that their human worth is not tied to their bank account

Randal Graves said...

I'm going to legally change my name to 'Bank' and wait for the loot to roll in.

Mary said...

Thanks for keeping us on the edge, Billie!!


Sherry said...

Boy, couldn't have hit the mark any more directly! Right down to the prosperity "pastors" of today. Great post!

Utah Savage said...

Great piece. Thanks for posting it.

Liberality said...

I will have to find that book and read it for sure. Thanks for the concise synopsis. It hits the spot!

Renegade Eye said...

In St.Paul the homeless shelter is named after her. It was located a block from where the RNC took place. The homeless were shipped elsewhere.

claire bangasser said...

Yes, Your Money or Your Life was also a turning point for me. Mind you, I seem to take an awfully long time to turn around :-)

Dorothy Day has been an inspiration for me for a long time. I had never really read anything by Peter Maurin until this blog, however. Thank you for that.

I received an interesting quote today, by Anne Frank. She wrote in her diary, "I don't believe that the big men, the politicians and the capitalists alone, are guilty of the war. Oh, no, the little man is just as guilty, otherwise the peoples of the world would have risen in revolt long ago!"

Well, what Anne Frank said then, I feel we can say today. The financial crisis has not happened unbeknownst to us or against our will.

We are willing participants. Until we each take our share of responsibility, no change will take place.

And change is what we are about, right?

Border Explorer said...

I love your perspective, Claire! Likewise, I was musing today on the reason people purchase/use designer goods (e.g. purses, elaborate rings, etc.) is to display to the world that they can afford it--in other words their bank account, the standard of their value, is sufficiently elevated. Thus, in this perverted values system, they are more important.

Right before "W" Bush launched Iraq War 2 the people of our planet took to the streets in the millions protesting against this impending action. I am happy they did. But I am dismayed that it effected no change in the U.S. direction. This stymies me. I welcome any insight or response...