Geranium Farm Home     Who's Who on the Farm     The Almost Daily eMo     Subscriptions     Coming Events     Links
Hodgepodge     More or Less Church     Ways of the World     Father Matthew     A Few Good Writers     Bookstore
Light a Prayer Candle     Message Board     Donations     Gifts For Life     Pennies From Heaven     Live Chat

Ways of the World

Carol Stone, business economist & active Episcopalian, brings you "Ways of the World". Exploring business & consumers & stewardship, we'll discuss everyday issues: kids & finances, gas prices, & some larger issues: what if foreigners start dumping our debt? And so on. We can provide answers & seek out sources for others. We'll talk about current events & perhaps get different perspectives from what the media says. Write to Carol. Let her know what's important to you:

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Ways of the World: An Introduction

We all interact with business and the economy every day. Back when I was in graduate school, I began to think I should teach in a junior college where I might help "ordinary people" better understand business and economics. Then they could make better decisions in their own lives and see more clearly through politicians' rhetoric and businesses' P.R. Life took me down a different path instead: a long, sometimes arduous and frequently rewarding career as a Wall Street economist.

Then, in 2001 and 2002, two events brought me back to my earlier perspective. On the morning of September 11, I was sitting at breakfast in the Marriott hotel in the World Trade Center with some 250 other economists at the annual meeting of the National Association for Business Economics, which was being held in New York for the first time in over 20 years. We were listening to a presentation by the president of a leading investment firm. All at once, the building shook, there was a loud boom and we all jumped up and ran out. In the aftermath, among a multitude of thoughts and feelings, I realized that if there was anything else I wanted to do with my life, I should set about doing it. [Over time, I'll share more with you about that momentous event.]

Just a few months later, still actively grieving this national tragedy, we began to hear news of another kind of tragedy, a business debacle of major proportions. A number of large companies and their accounting firms were producing false financial statements. No peccadilloes here, these managers were committing massive fraud. Now, a great strength of American society is its adherence to the Rule of Law and its careful preservation of property rights. These guys were flaunting all of this. They also tarnished the many decent, honest, hardworking businesspeople I knew from my own career experience.

What struck me – in my heart – was that these people were also leaders in their communities: board members of hospitals, arts organizations and, most of all, active church members. Hypocrisy, of course, has been around forever, but I began to wonder if there might be some special outreach the church could make to them. Maybe I could find a way to spread knowledge about these issues so the church might minister more fully to business leaders and to all of us who do business and finance in our daily lives. We are all stewards, caring for the things of this world, and our actions have repercussions far beyond our own doorsteps.

Enter The Geranium Farm. Here, in this new feature called "Ways of the World", we'll talk about business and consumers and stewardship. We'll raise questions: how can kids understand about finances, how did gas prices get so god-awful high? Isn't it dangerous if foreigners start dumping our debt? What about the burden of our own personal debt? And so on. We can provide some answers here and we can seek out sources for others. We can talk about current events and perhaps I can offer some perspective you don't get from the media. My own ideas for this grow by the day and Mother Crafton has already added to them herself. Please, you too participate: make it a forum!

I am grateful to Mother Crafton for providing this opportunity and this platform. I hope – and pray – that this work lives up to her trust and indeed helps you understand more about the "ways of the world".

A disclaimer: the material we present will not ever be meant as investment advice or to address specific individual questions on investments, taxes or other purely personal business matters. We do not know which way stock prices are going, and economists are notoriously poor managers of their own assets!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking forward to hearing more from you, Carol. I wonder what you might think about the diverse views of William Easterly and Jeffrey Sachs regarding foreign and growth. With Barbara's close ties to ERD and all of our desire to see and end to poverty, I'd imagine we'd all like to learn more. Such a debate is essential to understanding how wealthy countries such as the United States can provide resources to lesser-developed countries is ways that respects their unique cultures, histories, and desires for economic growth.

5/13/2006 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Carol. Nice to have you on board. I hope - and am sure - that you will be as thought-provolking and inspiring as Barbara.


5/13/2006 9:24 PM  
Blogger DSL said...

Welcome to the Farm!

5/13/2006 10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome aboard! This is a most promising outrigger for the Geranium sloop. Looking forward to all you have to say. Richard Q

5/14/2006 11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful mission you have taken on! Thank you in advance for the opportunity to grow with the spirit in this oft neglected arena.
Having just read THE WORLD IS FLAT by Thomas Friedman, I am struck by his presentation of the 'modern world'. What does it mean for us, ordinary people, and our functioning in our world?

5/15/2006 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I look forward to reading your writings. As a citizen, Christian, and mother, I too am concerned about the wholesale fraud of our prominent business people and how it effects the company employees, as well as our country's moral compass. I am deeply troubled that major telephone companies would just hand over all of their customers phone records to the government without a warrant. I would like to know how to "let the market work" in this regard.

5/17/2006 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think when paul said that 'all creation groans awaiting the revelation of God's children', that some of what u laid out here is what he must have been taking about... i ask daily, how can i improve creation's sorry state; sometimes the task seems too monumental, i sigh deeply, and abandon the effort; other times hope glimmers; such as when i saw a note on my ConEdison bill which stated essentially that if i paid my bill plus exactly $1.00 more ConEd would take that money, match it, and put it in a fund that is used to provide one-time grants up to $200 for families struggling to pay their bill; now if i could find more 'little things' like this to do, i think creation might start to feel a little better... so thank u and i will be following (ur blog) with interest.

5/22/2006 5:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gxJoy to you in your new venture. May God bless and guide you in Ways of the World.

Frank Goodsir

6/26/2006 2:44 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Copyright © 2003-Present Geranium Farm - All rights reserved.
Reproduction of any materials on this web site for any purpose
other than personal use without written consent is prohibited.