Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thou shalt not covet

Felix Salmon seems to think Joe Stiglitz doesn't get religion;

There was just one question from the audience at the event [at Union Theological Seminary], from a woman who said that she loves the Bible. “It says there’s something deeply unhealthy about the pursuit of wealth,” she said, and she’s absolutely right about that. But you’re not going to find many economists who agree with that, and certainly Stiglitz didn’t. He’s happy to say that the very rich suffer from moral turpitude — but he doesn’t draw the obvious conclusion, which is that the things which make us rich also make us bad.
I’m not religious, and I spend my life in the world of intellectual argument — I’m naturally on the economists’ side of things when it comes to constructing narratives. I also don’t kid myself that there’s any nobility, be it moral or otherwise, in being poor. But I do see the power of religion when it comes to sending messages to the world. And I do see the left straggling far behind the right when it comes to harnessing that power. And, after attending this INET event, I see very little chance that they’re going to catch up.
Then there's the problem of 'Marlene Dietrich's legs' (and Julia Robert's smile, Lena Horne's cheekbones, Tom Brady's arm strength, Dalton Trumbo's way with words....).  Are we all sinners for enjoying those things and rewarding those who possess them?

[Thanks to anonymous e-mail correspondent for the tip]

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