return to religion-onlineEconomic Justice
It is incumbent on those of us who are in position to influence the thinking of faithful people to make clear that the neo-liberal economic thought that informs most current top-down development, riding roughshod over communities, and reshaping the lives and thinking of hundreds of millions of people, is based on assumptions that are antithetical to ours. We should articulately and unequivocally withdraw moral support from these practices.
The commitment of corporations to short-term profits, and of ordinary people to get ahead economically, are facts of life with which those of us concerned with the sustainability of human society must contend. This is largely a moral issue, but not entirely so.
A declaration by an international conference held April 12-24 , 2005 in Kericho, Kenya, regarding globalisation and ways to promote ethical, moral and spiritual values for the common good.
While our nation’s elite have celebrated the prosperity brought by globalizing the economy, working-class wages have declined.
The author suggests several economic policies that Christians might well pursue during this time of prosperity.
In embarrassment the churches have lapsed into silence about the Protestant work ethic.
Economics should serve the good of all people, and should be based on and reflect the moral values upheld by the great religions. If these moral values are to have a practical impact then religious thinkers and economists need to work together on policies which embody these moral values.
Stackhouse reviews John Cobb, Sustainability: Economics, Ecology, and Justice, and challenges Cobb's activist pro-ecological stance as overly naturalistic, pessimistic, nostalgic and anti-development. He proposes instead that the central demand of our time is to use the technology that is now on the horizon to transform nature in ways that enhance the global structures of a "graceful, cosmopolitan civilization able to serve the whole of humanity."
If the Christian church has something helpful to say to the present, complex economic world, how can it put together needed words and ideas that are more than cliches? Roger Shinn, writing from personal experience, responds to criticisms of the process, demonstrates the pitfalls of the bargaining that goes on in drafting groups, shows how hard it is to move from conviction to relevance, and tells why the Catholic bishops have often been more effective in creating documents that lead to lively controversy and educational excitement.
Among the causes of poverty in the U.S. is the concentration of land and resources in fewer and fewer hands. There is growing awareness that neither private nor public charity is sufficient in dealing with poverty, joblessness and homelessness.
The tragedy of unemployment can devastate families. Wife and child abuse increase. Divorce rates go up. Patterns of family authority break down. Watching their unemployed fathers or mothers, children give up on their own futures. The work ethic and its hope are crushed, and street crime flourishes.
The Biblical history of the Old and the New Testaments, and church history testify that the people of God live within the process of history. Furthermore, our faith that God created the whole world and all its peoples therein dictates that they are all people(s) of God. Therefore, it is necessary that theology discern the political economy of the people of God. We cannot relegate the Christian faith to an other-worldly life.
Dr. Cobb claims that economism causes social and environmental violence. It does so by creating a society oriented to the increase of economic activity through the market, which tends to concentrate wealth among a few while destroying many small players. For example, the economic policies that drive millions of people off their land and out of their traditional villages are violent ones. Cobb suggest several remedies, including the idea is that when we purchase anything, we should pay the full cost, including all human, social and ecological costs.
The author critiques the assumptions underlying the dominant market-place economic theory and proposes different assumptions which take into account the fact that people live in communities.
In this book review, John Cobb argues for an "earthist" rather than an "economist" approach to poverty by the World Bank.
As the negative consequences of free trade become more evident, ethicists can begin to ask more critical questions. What does "free trade" really mean? What are its positive values? Are these so important as to justify support despite the losses it entails?
The author reviews two books on foreign aid. Though the public wants the government to help end poverty and injustice, it increasingly doubts that aid really helps, and believes that sometimes it hurts..
The World Trade Organization gives too little attention to: 1. the historical change of the nature and role of trade; 2. The excessive power and influence of corporations; 3. The costs of growth.
The churches like to take what they call a "prophetic stance" toward economic and political issues. denouncing injustice and calling for change. But perhaps their first order of business should be repentance for having helped to foster a national moral environment that features a laissez-faire approach to moral decision making, that serves in turn to perpetuate economic irresponsibility.<
'Poortalk’ -- that peculiar affliction that shows up whenever middle-class conversation turns to economic issues -- focuses our attention on ourselves blinding us to the needs of others. Although our standard of living has doubled in the past three decades, we bemoan the near-impossibility of trying to make ends meet at today’s prices.
Although it is difficult to explain how moral decisions are made, responsibility and accountability for them cannot be assigned to the institution of business in general or to any particular business. Responsibility and accountability are part of the process of judgment, and judgment is a characteristic reserved for real people. The personal value systems of all those who are involved in business are, then, crucial.
The author asks: what place is there for religion and religious values in the global economy, and what should be the relationship between economics and theology? He emphasizes the importance of religion in our quest to find solutions to the deepening crises of injustice and inequality in the globalized economy.
A review of Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich, by Kevin Phillips. Carefully scripted public relations campaigns orchestrated by the White House will not undo the damage done by wealthís undue influence over the nationís political processes.
The author analyzes the ethics of international trade and concludes that we should withdraw support from the move toward transnational trade and seek to strengthen the ability of nations, especially in the Third World, to control their own affairs. He believes that what Christians value can be attained better when national governments, more or less representative of their people, make their own decisions about trade.
The author argues that simply forgiving the debts of Third World countries may be healing the wounds of their peoples too lightly--and just putting money in the hands of corrupt elites.
What is the biblical view of God’s will for economic relations among his people? For an answer, we shall look at the jubilee passage in Leviticus, at the new community of Jesus’ disciples, at the first church in Jerusalem, and at the Pauline collection.
Economy cannot be separated from government and society. Political economy is thus a moral and institutional as well as a technical term. The democratization of the economy would limit the harshness of the labor market, give everyone who works a stake in the enterprise he or she works in and even in the economy at large, thus reducing both the anxiety and the cynicism that are rampant in our present economic life.
The churches’ ability to teach the ethic of eco-justice to the public depends on the assessment we make of the religious and ethical significance of our public traditions -- in particular, the civic tradition of participatory democracy.
A disturbing new economic study sees a coming confrontation over the distribution of wealth. Fred Hirsch, in his book, Social Limits to Growth, gives successful insight in fixing the limits beyond which most people should not expect to improve their lot under a market economy.
The present form of globalization is not sustainable. In some areas it cannot last more than a few decades. The transition from an unsustainable to a sustainable form of globalization will not be easy. The longer we wait to begin that process of transition, the more painful the change will be.
Both efficiency in production and fairness in distribution are necessary values for an economy, but neither is sufficient in itself. Clergy need to help business people see that it is they themselves, with their tax-deductible mortgage interest payments and low-interest student loans, who constitute America’s great welfare class.
Economics is perceived as a science concerned with scarcity, competition, production, consumption and the satisfying of unlimited desires. There is no reference to abundance, co-operation, sustainability, justice, compassion, humanity, morality or spirituality. No wonder it has brought us such a bitter harvest!
The cause of poverty is an inevitable consequence of the maldistribution of wealth and the lack of a true sense of the common good.
If we as Christians are serious about justice, the time to talk about Zambia’s debt and interest dilemma is past. Zambia’s massive debt is contributing to its death. I hope our voices will be heard on the side of life.
To be for free trade is to be for the transfer of power from the political sector to the economic one. When put in this way, it becomes clear that the issues are complex. It is not evident that in all cases and in all respects governments should surrender their powers.
Since even the critics of GATT and of the agreement with Mexico have accepted free trade as an ideal, the real issue has not yet been discussed. Few have asked the fundamental questions: Is free trade desirable in general? When trade is "free," who is "free" from whom? What are the results of free trade, and do we favor them?
The author shows that the GNP is inadequate as an index of real growth. Instead, he proposes an Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare, and dvocates a new kind of economy, one based on the needs of the community, and suggests several steps to bring it about.
Economic history makes clear that openness to the global marketplace is a significant determiner of a nationís economic well-being.
Cobb describes the shift from nationalism to economism and his criticisms: people do not have an adequate role in determining the system and policies that shape their lives; the aims of corporations to grow and make more profits are inimical to the wellbeing of the natural world, and they have not reduced poverty. The solution lies in the development of what the author calls Earthism, which began to take form at the International NGO Forum near Rio in 1992. Since then at every United Nations meeting, the NGOs have built on that platform and enriched it. He believes this is God's work, and Christians have a responsibility to take part in it.