I might have entitled this post “Check & Mate”, but I suspect that Monty Python’s catch-phrase is succinct enough.
As addressed in a recent post, it may be well past time that we examine the explicit (and implicit) terms of obligation borne in the typical contractractual relationship we have with our bankers (and others). It is the only legal system of money and finance that we have, after all, which leaves very little room for reasonably practical alternatives, though some may now be gaining a bit of ground, if not here, then certainly elsewhere in the world.
To be sure, whenever the “official economy” begins to fail, the real economy steps in as it always has done. In some context’s, this may be the “black market”, the “gray market”, or – as I have termed it before, simply “the flea market”. (Note: our recent spate of good weather has given an early boost to the seasonal return of local “flea-marketeering”, which we’ll revisit in the near future.)
But, in regards to the “official economy”, there are a number of long-held legal principles on which the legitimacy of all contracts depend: there must be no “undue influence” or “duress” involved. Such factors invalidate any contract, whether the wider “social contract” or merely the one you share with your mortgage banker.
All that said, I do believe that Christians (or other aspiring ethicists) may have or feel they have higher order concerns than the merely practical and legalistic. To “do right” we must reasonably attempt to avoid taking on those responsibilities that are likely to compromise our ability to function as free moral agents. We’ve had a good long run, most of us, not having to think about this in regards to our basic needs. For good or ill, those days may now be running short.
I’ll simply close by sharing Monty Python’s (nearly always) entertaining perspective on what has become one of the more onerous examples of this problem. Perhaps (given the vintage of this skit), this has been a problem for longer than we’ve realized. – HT
As found on Soren Dreier’s interesting Zen-Haven site. I’ve not had a chance to fully peruse the content, but can say it has a better than average aesthetic among the various conspiracy theory outfits. How’s that for an endorsement?