Sunday, 6 July 2008

Thou Shall Make Money

If instead of Moses, the CEO of a multinational corporation had gone up to meet the Almighty, he would probably have returned with just one commandment – thou shall make money. In any case, that’s the only one that seems to have prevailed above all else. In the name of enabling businesses to make money, anything goes.

What about all the other commandments? Well, the notion that there should be no other gods went out the window long ago when Mammon arrived on the scene in his private jet. As for idols, America has got lots of them, and so have Britain, singing, dancing, sporting, acting, all neatly quantified by the size of their contracts, the appearance fees they command, and their sponsorship deals.

Turning to the limit on the use of the name of God, it would seem that money buys you the right to invoke God in anyway you want. If you were rich, you could thank God as often as you’d like for the precious gift of money making granted to you. If you were poor, you would be blaspheming should you blame God in any way for your wretched position. If your country was wealthy and possessed enough weapons to blow up the rest of the world, you would be entitled to say God bless your country routinely.

The Sabbath should of course be kept holy, except when you want to make more money by opening shops throughout the weekend so that people who were busy earning their wage throughout the week could get their shopping done, and people who didn’t work enough to make ends meet might just earn a little bit more to stay afloat.

Fathers and mothers should be honoured to the extent they bring their children up to respect money making as the key to a successful life. Cursed are they who divert their sons and daughters to questioning social injustice or pursuing alternatives to a wealth-generating consumption lifestyle.

As for lying, stealing, or killing, it depends very much on your corporate strategy. Your products can damage people’s health seriously? They might give them ruinous addictions? But if they could expand your turnover and profit, it would be your duty to keep misleading the public. You look at the money brought into the company, and you think because you are high up enough to give yourself a larger share of it and force people below you to take what would in effect be a pay cut because of inflation, don’t worry about the blatant theft. And if the guns and missiles you sell would almost certainly take the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, so long as you are making lots of money, no one would dare excommunicate you.

And if lying, stealing and killing are not going to get you in trouble, then your wealth, the lawyers it can buy you, and the charity donations you can make to religious organisations would guarantee that adultery (so long as it is of a heterosexual nature), coveting your neighbour’s house, spouse or anything else, would not even be noticed.

So go forth and multiply what’s in your bank account is pretty much all that matters. If you can make money by lending it irresponsibly to others who cannot really afford another loan, carry on. Blessed are those who ruin the lives of others, and still get away with another hefty bonus.

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