Monday, August 13, 2007

Sunday Morning Economics Lesson

The Bishop of Killaloe and the Bishop of Limerick issued an appeal to the shareholders and Board of Directors of Aer Lingus to reconsider their decision to leave Shannon. There is more to business than the bottom line, they said. Aer Lingus must consider the human aspect and not look only to the profit-driven bottom line. It is morally wrong, they implied, to abandon the west of Ireland in a mad quest for more money. Think of the damage wrought to the people who will lose jobs. Not only jobs at Shannon Airport, of course. The knock-on effect will spread beyond the ends of the runways.

Next Sunday, Dermot Mannion should be allowed to preach to the congregations. The people of Ireland have a duty to fly Aer Lingus, if the airline has a duty to provide such service. It is morally wrong for flyers to seek out a cheaper flight or complain about delays. The public must have "...regard to moral obligations beyond merely commercial and short term considerations" when they book a flight, if Aer Lingus is to be expected to follow suit.

Indeed, "there is no area of life, including the economy, in which social responsibility may be ignored" and the public has a responsibility to Aer Lingus. If Aer Lingus is to keep its Shannon slots, then the consumer has a responsibility to make use of them.

There's always two sides of the economic coin, and it does no good to berate one and ignore the other. It is time that the wise men of Maynooth bring in a visiting professor or two from that bastion of godless communism, the University of Chicago, to lecture the seminarians on Economics 101. Pray, pay and obey just won't cut it anymore.

"Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I flew JetBlue. Gave in to the temptation of the discounted fare."

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