greed.org

Ian Lind’s insightful blog post, reading, in part, “Not much Christmas cheer for charities hit by Madoff scam” quoted an email sent out yesterday by the ACLU to its supporters:

In the last couple of weeks, however, we’ve been hit hard in a way that no one could forecast. You have, no doubt, heard about the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme in which investors have been horribly defrauded of up to $50 billion. What you may not know is that two foundations that have been incredibly generous and longstanding supporters of our national security and reproductive freedom work have been victimized by the Madoff scandal — forced to close their doors and terminate their grants.

That means that $850,000 in support we were counting on from these foundations in 2009 simply won’t exist. We’re dealing with that reality and remain committed to continuing our critical work in these areas. But, as you can imagine, the year-end donations of you and other ACLU supporters are now more important than ever.

Lind goes on to mention that one of the two foundations referred to in the ACLU email is the JEHT Foundation – an organization that declares on the Who We Are portion of its website:

The JEHT Foundation was established in April 2000. Its name stands for the core values that underlie the Foundation’s mission: Justice, Equality, Human dignity, and Tolerance. The Foundation’s programs, in Criminal Justice, Juvenile Justice, International Justice, and Fair and Participatory Elections, reflect these interests and values.

Now I don’t doubt that “nonprofit” organizations such as JEHT have been supporting worthwhile causes. However, what is also worthy of consideration is the apparent fact that while an organization such as JEHT was supportive of societal improvements – at the same time, it was relinquishing its fiduciary and social responsibility of demanding that its capital be invested in similarly right ways. Indeed, it would seem that these organizations (and Madoff’s individual investors) bluntly, and greedily, let the bottom profit-line be the determining factor. So while the ACLU frames it as having “been victimized by the Madoff scandal”, it might be useful (albeit less reported) to consider that “nonprofit” organizations had better well reject ethics that, in pursuit of profit, turn a blind eye to socially irresponsible investing.

Also attached here is a piece written by the independent writer Alan McNarie entitled, Blackened Friday. With thoughtful perspective on the hope for developed austerity, McNarie ends the piece thusly:

Maybe greed is not that good, Michael Douglas movie clips notwithstanding. Maybe thrift is an even better strategy. If we got back to real money and got our greed in check, it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

Once the speculative frenzy dried up, gas prices suddenly became affordable again. Maybe we shouldn’t buy an SUV or a home if we can’t afford it. Maybe houses will become affordable to more people, if builders aren’t driven by speculation. Maybe somebody will start building cars that don’t cost a year’s wages. Maybe someone will even start offering bus service again. A bus is an even bigger-ticket item than an SUV; GM should make a nice profit on them.

There’s a final irony in Black Friday. If greed drives the American economy, why does the American economy need Christmas? After all, those crowds in the stores aren’t supposed to be buying for themselves; they’re buying for their family and friends.

It would be ironic, indeed, if those shoppers who trampled Jdimytai D’amour’s body did it not out of greed, but out of generosity.

(as a footnote, the actual URL “greed.org” would seem to be a “parked domain” which means that some other greedy bastards are hoping you’ll go there and click on their “informative links.” Naturally, the circumspect readers of Island Notes would recognize yet another scam perpetrated on gullible folks.)


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