Mr Trollope clearly wrote this book as a critique of declining morals, which he seems to have believed to be a symptom of increasing worship of money and financial success. He further seems to have believed that much of the financial success was founded on lying, cheating and borrowing extensively. So, we have sort of a feedback loop. Morals decline, leading to increased financial shenanigans, leading to further declines in morals. Here are some random thoughts:
There seems to have been very little problems like this in Mr Trollope's society. Clearly the class distinctions were more distinct, but morality (or lack thereof) were not exclusive to any class. If anything Trollope pins the blame for ruining morality on the high class, but the class interaction is critical to overall decline. The two pillars of morality in the work are both untitled, though Roger Carbury has land. The other, Mr Crumb, is a barely intelligible worker.
Mr Trollope, who was a Liberal, seems to be venerating the old. The work is certainly evidence for Mencius Moldbug's claim that even the most un-Conservative person several decades (or in the case over 100 years ago) would be incredibly reactionary by today's standards.
Throughout the work, with the exception of Mr Crumb's marriage at the very end of the work, the virtuous characters seem to be the most isolated. On the flip side, the most repugnant (and there are some seriously repugnant ones in Mr Trollope's wonderful cast) seem to get the most attention and the most favor – from all levels of society.
Finally, I think it's worth examining how we "solved" the problem that Mr Trollope was so concerned with – namely financial excess caused by clearly immoral actions (the main financier is guilty of repeated fraud). We turned to government, and gave it power to tear down financiers. In the book, after becoming a successful financier, our villain gets elected to the House of Commons. In a new novel, redesigned to reflect the way we live now, that would have to change. No one who actually made their own money in finance could get elected to government. I believe we've traded corruption in finance for corruption in government. And I further believe that the later is more dangerous. So much for solutions. So much for our morality.
Not sure I agree with the God part. Nor do I agree that a test in Africa or Eastern Europe would be a truly fair test. Nevertheless, I think the conclusion may be correct.
A lot of my portfolio is in inflation-indexed Treasury securities. At some point, though, I am going to start thinking that there is some default risk in those securities, and I will be looking for a new risk-free asset. My guess is that the closest thing will be a highly diversified portfolio, one that includes a lot of foreign securities.