And he spoke to them in parables…

On Twitter, I started drawing analogies to the global financial system and then realized that it would be easy to adapt many of Jesus’ parables to reflect contemporary economic realities. For instance:

  • The global financial system is like a man who found a pearl in a field. He took out a loan, bought the field, sold the pearl, and skipped town.
  • The global financial system is like a woman who cleans her whole house looking for her lost coin, then her house gets repossessed.
  • The global financial system is like a shepherd who leaves behind 99 sheep to find one lost sheep, so he can sue it.
  • The global financial system is like if the Prodigal Son’s father hired him and gave him a payday loan to help him get back on his feet.

Alex suggested I post them here, which has the benefit of preserving them for posterity and also allowing us to ponder other parables that can be adapted at greater length. Let us make such attempts in comments, dear readers!

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20 Responses to “And he spoke to them in parables…”

  1. Jon Says:

    The global financial system is like a man who was attacked and robbed on a road and left to die by the wayside. A kind Samaritan stopped and helped the man, at which point the man hit the Samaritan over the head and stole his money and even the clothes off his back.

    The global financial system is like a man who owned a vineyard. He never gave anyone any wine. Ever. He poured the excess wine out on the ground, laughing at everyone as he did so.

  2. Adam Kotsko Says:

    The global financial system is like a farmer sowing seed. He sowed some on the path, some on the stones, and some in the thorns, but they were guaranteed to grow because he had sold and repackaged tranches of seeds so that they were indistinguishable from the seeds that fell on good soil — and if it didn’t, it was someone else’s problem. He kept watering and watering all the seeds until there was a great flood that wiped out all the seeds on the path, the stones, and the thorns and left most of the seeds on the good soil deep underwater.

  3. Adam Kotsko Says:

    The global financial system is like the inn in the parable of the Good Samaritan. When the Samaritan brings the man there, he gives the inn a large sum of money as equity, hoping that will motivate it to open up a line of credit for the man’s recovery — which the inn would be happy to do, if his economic prospects weren’t so bleak.

  4. Emily Manuel Says:

    The global financial system is like ten bridesmaids waiting for a groom to show up for a wedding party. When he shows up, he takes all their oil and then fucks off to another country where there’s lower taxes and no minimum wage.

  5. Adam Kotsko Says:

    The global financial system is like a man who planted a vineyard and entrusted a cartel of bankers to work in it. In the course of working it, they burned down the entire village. When the man asked them what happened, they complained he was uncivil.

  6. Adam Kotsko Says:

    There’s got to be some way to work “winning the future” into one of these.

  7. Adam Kotsko Says:

    When the global financial system comes in its glory, it will divide the people of the world into the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    To the sheep, it will say, “Blessed are you, for my profit margins were sagging and you took a paycut; my profit margins were sagging and you accepted inferior health care; my profit margins were sagging and you worked unpaid overtime; my profit margins were sagging and you tried to put a brave face on it when I made the hard choice to lay you off. Go and receive your reward — for you shall win the future!”

    Then the sheep said, “When were your profit margins sagging?” And the global financial system said, “Well, maybe not sagging, but coming in below analyst expectations in some quarters.”

  8. ben Says:

    I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet the future to those who have mastered the STEM curriculum; but time and the global financial system happeneth to them all.

  9. Adam Kotsko Says:

    Ooh! If we’re using the whole Bible, here’s one:

    And the Lord sent Nathan to the global financial system. He came to him, and said to him, ‘There were two men in a certain city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meagre fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveller to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him.’ Then the global financial system responded, ‘Okay, that sounds about right — why are you telling me this?’

  10. ben Says:

    The global financial system is like a guy who pokes his finger into your open wound in the process of diagnosing your condition, so that you get sepsis and die, but his store of medical knowledge is increased by a trivial amount.

  11. ben Says:

    After foreclosing on Joseph, the global financial system had a dream in which seven lean cows devoured seven fat cows. When he woke up, the global financial system was unperturbed, because it knew that the lean cows belonged to other people, and it had seven times seventy fat cows anyway.

  12. ben Says:

    Should be “it woke up” rather than “he woke up”.

  13. David Weasley Says:

    He put before them another parable, “The global financial system may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field, but while everybody was asleep, one of his subcontractors came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And they lit the whole field on fire.”

  14. Thomas Says:

    The global financial system had two debtors. The one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they couldn’t pay, The global financial system forgave the one who owed five hundred denarii and transferred the debt to the one who owed fifty. Which of them therefore will love the global financial system the most?

  15. Trevor Jones Says:

    The global financial system is like an old man who was promised a child, despite already being in retirement. When said child was late in arriving, old man knocked up his housekeeper. This event pissed off old man’s wife, so old man kicked out the housekeeper and his new child, so he could “win the future.”

  16. Thomas Says:

    The global financial system told its disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. The global financial system said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

    “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets deported, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!'”

    And the the global financial system said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not the global financial system bring about justice for its chosen ones? I tell you, it will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, he might be harder to deport, what with the raising from the dead and all, but don’t worry, I know a guy.”

  17. Michael Says:

    If Walsh & Keesmat are right, Luke 19:12-17 was originally told about the global financial system of its time:

    The global financial system is like a man who went to a distant country to implement a structural adjustment program and then to return. So he called ten of his deputies and gave them a hundred thousand dollars. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We didn’t want his economic policies, and neither will you.’ He was successful, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the deputies to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.

    The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your ten grand has earned a hundred more – a 1000% return!’ ‘Well done, my good man!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten investment funds.’

    The second came and said, ‘Sir, your ten has earned fifty more – a 500% return!’ His master answered, ‘You take charge of five investment funds.’

    Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your ten grand; I have kept it laid away in an offshore bank. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You cash out what you did not invest and reap what you did not sow.’

    His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you useless deputy! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, cashing out what I did not invest, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn’t you put my money into money market funds, so that when I came back, I could have at least collected interest?’

    Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his money away from him and give it to the one who has a hundred grand.’ ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has a hundred!’

    He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has money, more will be given, but as for those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. But those enemies of mine who did not want me to manage their economy—bring them here and bankrupt them in front of me.’

  18. jake Says:

    The global financial system is like an omelet after a few cracked eggs that a few people eat to entertain those who are starving and can only watch with bated breath. These people then eat each other to entertain those eating the omelet.

  19. Jared Hatcher Says:

    The banker for the global financial system, sat down by the mine. It was about noon.

    When a native of that country came to work, the global financial system said to her, “Will you give me a sample to study?” (His investors had gone into the town to ‘invest in infrastructure’.)

    The local woman said to him, “You are a banker and I am a native woman. How can you ask me for a sample?” (For bankers do not associate with locals.)

    He answered her, “If you knew who it is that asks you for a sample, you would have asked him and he would have given you a living wage.”

    “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the mine is deep. Where can you get this living wage? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the mine and mined it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

    The banker answered, “Everyone who mines this mine will be poor (without my assistance), but those who take the wage I give them will never be poor. Indeed, the wage I give them will become valuable in comparison to the value of the mineral and in joining in the global financial system you may take a small cut of the spring of eternal growth.”… “either that or I’ll just bankrupt your country and then take the mine as my own and you’ll end up with nothing. Your choice: barely anything or nothing.”

  20. ben Says:

    One day a bishop invited a curate to his home to dine with him. The first course was global financial system, but the curate’s had gone off prior to being prepared and was inedible. Noting this, the bishop said to the curate, “I’m afraid you’ve got a bad global financial system, Mr. Jones”. The curate, however, replied, “Oh no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!”


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