The effects of the 2008 Financial Crisis are still with us. Despite significant efforts on the part of central banks and national legislatures to minimise the consequences of future financial crises, much of the world remains sceptical about the efficacy of these measures. Both mainstream and minority-position economists are concerned about a new crisis beginning this year or in the near future.
Various theories have been developed over the years to help managers develop strategies for their businesses. Among the most well known tools and theories are PESTEL, SWOT, VRIO, and Porter’s Five Forces. Each of these gives at least some space to the vulnerabilities of a business. The interconnectedness of our institutions and our world mean that vulnerabilities can be amplified. A business struggles to meet demand because war has disrupted its supply chain. Consequently, it defaults on a loan. The financial institution that extended the loan to this business manages to recover only part of the debt via insolvency proceedings, and the pension fund that had invested in this institution loses out. Ultimately, the pensioners lose out.
These are the realities of the world in which we live Life involves risk. Human nature drives us to take risks, because the potential gains are valuable. Designing a system that seeks to eliminate risk-taking is, therefore, foolish. But a system that allows people to take individual responsibility for the risks they take, without imposing burdens on others who have not consented to those risks, is fair.
This where the matter comes into contact with political philosophy. Various financial crises in history were caused, ultimately, by government action as a contributing factor, while various governmental “fixes” provided, at best, temporary solutions to underlying problems. Governments are institutions of men: therefore, they are subject to the passions and ideologies that influence men. We cannot expect that a government will necessarily decide on the right course of action to solve the root causes of financial crises.
Ultimately, we, as individuals, have very little power when it comes to this large issue. At present there are few viable options to using commercial banks; our governments are dominated by the established political class, which is generally not amenable to arguments from minority-position economists regarding the dangers of central banks, etc; and the globalised nature of the world economy prevents us from controlling the spread of contagion.
However, as Christians, we can pray about this matter and seek the Lord’s guidance on what a just financial system would look like. Prayer is a mighty tool, and listening to the Lord can help us to devise the correct earthly strategy for suggesting and creating solutions to our current financial vulnerabilities.