Macro Finance, Micro Finance and the Common Good

The G20 meeting is focusing attention on the fragility of the world economy again. At one level, it beggars belief that a country as small and ‘economically insignificant’ as Greece could jeopardize the whole of the Eurozone and thereby the world; but so it is. The U.S. and U.K. economies are faltering and China has made it clear that with high inflation at home and a stagnant manufacturing sector, it is in no mind to come to anyone’s rescue. These are issues of macro finance, but they translate into the detail of micro finance. They decide whether individuals have enough to eat, whether they can afford adequate heating or healthcare or education. The link between the macro and the micro isn’t always obvious, but like the bullet fired at Archduke Franz Ferdinand, small actions can have huge consequences.

The concept of the common good isn’t particularly difficult to grasp, but by and large, we interpret it to mean what we are comfortable with. It is easy to point the finger at others and say, they are enjoying an unfair share of the world’s resources, but I suspect that could be said of most of us living in the west. I am not sure what we ‘little people’ do in moments of crisis such as those we are living through. Ultimately, I think each one of us must ask ourselves how we can contribute to the common good and stick with it. We may think that what we do is very trivial, but even a cup of cold water given with love is a key to the Kingdom.