I am moved to shift my focus away from my small island to the larger Quaker body. I recently posted a tidbit on Facebook... a mere link to an article on what the neo con agenda had done to the finances of the American people, with the observation that Obama's financial team is exactly the same as Bush's economic team.
'Now he may lend an ear to some economists from the left, such as Nobel Laureates Krugman and Steigliz, but his actual team in power comes from Wall Street, and thinks like Wall Street. The program of this team, this agenda, is to preserve the free wheeling markets at all cost.. uncontrolled capitalism... with the new twist that they have learned how to socialize the debt, passing it on to our grandchildren.
From my posting on Facebook, a member of my home Meeting, who is himself a reporter for the local left leaning free press... cross posted with a comment along the lines of "good point, is anyone watching?"
The US debt has grown from 20% of GDP to over 60% of GDP... and the bulk of that money has gone to Wall Street.
I have a grave concern because I fear that the very people who should be watching and crying out over this have long ago ceased to understand it.
Years ago, I served on our small Quaker Meeting's financial committee and had occassion to speak with some of the folks in Philadelphia who manage the Friends Fiduciary Fund, which manages the bulk of institutional "Liberal" Quaker money. It holds the endowment of Pendle Hill, of AFSC, of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, Friends Journal and many Quaker schools and smaller meetings.
The woman that I spoke with, who assured me that all of the people on the Committee were dedicated Friends and served at no expense, seemed a bit entranced with the language of the Street,,, rolling off terms such as Mid Cap, high cap and the omnious sounding "rolling 6% return.
When I went to question her specifically on some holdings.. such as Dow Chemical and Walmarts and Coca Cola...with snippets from our Earth Testimony... she countered that Quakers did not have an Earth Testimony. They had testimony against war, gambling, alcohol, and tobacco.. and they were running a fund completely clear of that.
Yes, well, there were holdings in oil companies.
And no, they did not perceive that CocaCola was a drug,
Well, to actually change this, they would have to hear a rumble at Yearly Meeting....
Then I was entranced by all the large ads in the Friends Journal for the :"Quaker" homes... and why so few of them had any information on their web pages. Further pursuit let me to inquiries to Kendall in Lexington,
KY where I learned that if I bought in at $180,000 (so that my estate would get half) they could offer me a 550 sq ft apartment and care for life for $2500 a month.
That was when I realized that none of the Quakers that I knew and loved would ever be there since they simply do not have that kind of money....
The Quakers I know are dutifuly poor as church mice. They give any excess away to those who are more in need. They do not hoard or accumulate. While it is true that some ... who worked for the State or Universities and may have a retirement fund and invested well in real estate,.. might find their way to a "deluxe" retirement home such as this, my dearest friends would not.
So I would ask Friends now to turn your collective attention to the financials.
Look and read and listen carefully to what is being said now about the financial collapse on Wall Street and what deals for further and continuous deregulation of the banking sector were made in this Congress.
Inform yourselves of where any institutional money is being held and move it into your smallest and closest community bank.
Consider starting your own micro finance lending banks.
I have no doubt that Friends Fiduciary will once again get the 6% rolling return that it is seeking.
But we are enjoined to uproot the causes of war.
And I, for one, do not see how we can do that if our institutions are invested in oil stocks.
Now I have been very good with this one... I have sat with this concern for over a decade,
But now, really, do not Friends think it is time to Rumble?