Sunday, May 08, 2011

"Peace and all good to Goldman Sachs"

Thanks to Pat Lucas in Jersey for drawing our attention to an interview broadcast this morning on BBC UK Radio Four's Sunday with Nora Nash of the Sisters of Saint Francis in Pennsylvania. At a time in her life when many others prefer to take it easy, Sister Nora is engaging the executives of the almighty Goldman Sachs on the vexed question of executive remuneration. She and her colleagues have put forward a fair pay resolution to the Board, not in any expectation that the bankers will have a Damascene conversion to integrity and fair play but because someone needs to take action against uninhibited greed: "fair pay resolutions are bound to fail, but shining a spotlight keeps the pressure on..."

Exactly. And in the spirit of speaking truth to power, Sisten Nora also takes a swing at notions currently fashionable in some political circles that philanthrophy offers a route forwards for modern society. In societies as unequal as the UK and the US, where such ideas are regularly touted as an alternative to tax justice, philanthrophy is unlikely to have even a marginal impact. Sister Nora doesn't mince her words: "we need more than philanthrophy to rescue American society."

Saint Francis' message is as relevant today as it was in thirteenth century Rome (another era of excess and abuse of power). The interview with Sister Nora starts about 5 minutes into the programme, which is available as a podcast here.

The Guardian covers the story here.

And for more, see video "Holier than Dow" from Jon Stewart's The Daily Show - Fr. Séamus P. Finn, OMI, Senior Advisor to Tax Justice Network USA, appeared along with colleagues of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR):


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