When it comes down to it, the way in which vast sums of money have appeared and disappeared again, over the course of the bubble which has now burst, raises the question of just what the role of money and finance should be within society. The following passage from Alice Bailey contains some thought-provoking insights which seem especially relevant to the current situation:
"This whole question of money is one of the greatest difficulty at this time and also one of the utmost simplicity. The difficulty is due to the wrong thought which, for generations, has been brought to bear upon the problem, leading to wrong attitudes, even among the most devoted disciples. The attitude of humanity to money has been coloured by greed, by grasping for the lower self, by jealousy, by material desire and by the heart-breaking need for it which – in its turn – is the result of these wrong attitudes. These wrong attitudes lead to the disastrous economic conditions which we find all around us. They are effects of causes which are initiated by man himself. In the re-generation of money and in the changing of man’s attitude to it will eventually come world release. If this cannot take place, then some dire condition will arise; money (as we know it) will vanish off the earth and the situation will have to be met in some other way. Let us hope that this will not be needed but that it will be possible to change the thought of humanity where money is concerned so that it will be regarded as a great spiritual asset, as a definite spiritual responsibility and as a means to real world work. The custodians of money will then shoulder their responsibility without fear and with due understanding. At present, they hold on to it through fear of the future and distrust of each other. The key to the right expenditure of money and to its correct use can be summed up in the following statement to which I would ask all of you to pay attention:
As money has in the past ministered to personal and family need, so in the future it must minister to group and world need. Each unit has, in the past, attempted to act as a magnet and to attract to itself that which will meet what it regards as its need – using personal activity and labour, if of no influence or education, and financial manipulation where that was possible. Groups in the future must act as magnets; they must see to it that they are animated by a spirit of love. I give you a thought here which is capable of much expansion.
Need, love and magnetic power are the three things which – consciously or unconsciously – attract money. But they must all manifest at once. The need in the past has not always been real, though it has been felt (such is the world… illusion). The love has been selfish or unreal; the demand for things material has been for that which is not necessary to health or happiness. The magnetic force utilised has been, therefore, wrongly motivated and this process – carried forward over so long a time – has led to the present dire financial situation in the world…
…Money is the manifestation of energy. All energy can be applied in differing ways, being in itself an impersonal and blind force. It can be selfishly or unselfishly used. That, in itself, constitutes the main difference. Motive and creative thought determine the magnetic power of any individual, group or centre. Determine your motive; see that your group ideal and group love are dominant; use skill in action; this will involve right preliminary meditation, plus correct thinking; then you will find that that which you need will be forthcoming." (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol.1, pp. 271-273)
For those who would like to explore the spiritual dimension of money in more detail, World Goodwill publishes Money: the Medium of Loving Distribution, which is a compilation from the writings of Alice Bailey (see order form).
The final result, and the historical significance, of current events, are not yet clear. Whether there will be major changes to international financial systems, with increased transparency and equitable distribution, remains to be seen. However, the possibility of materialism losing at least some of its grip is certainly present. Many thinkers, such as James Robertson (www.jamesrobertson.com), Hazel Henderson (www.hazelhenderson.com) and Bernard Lietaer (www.lietaer.com), and groups, such as the New Economics Foundation (www.neweconomics.org), have already put forward scenarios in which the role of money within society is reformed, with the purpose of creating a better society for all. Let us hope that the current turmoil will open a space for such ideas to be explored and acted upon.
- Governments have now attempted to resolve this problem through a variety of measures.
- Property markets in other countries have also gone through similar rises and now corresponding falls, but the US market is the largest.