Globalization and Human Solidarity by Tissa Balasuriya
Tissa Balasuriya from Sri Lanka is a leading spokesperson of Third World
Theologies. He is the Director of the Centre of Society and Religion in Sri
Lanka. He is the author of numerous books, including Eucharist and Human
Liberation, Planetory Theology, and Mary and the Human
Liberation. Published by Christiava Sahitya Samithy, Tiruvalla 689 101,
Kerala, S. India, November 2000. Used by permission of the publisher. This material was prepared for Religion Online
by Ted & Winnie Brock.
The present stage of globalization is a
remnant of colonialism. It is more hegemonic and comprehensive in its approach
and has succeeded in capturing not only resources and labor but also the public
consciousness. With effective control over discourse, colonialism, known as
globalization, assumes itself to be normative and desirable, and presents
itself as the empirical embodiment of utopia.
Communications and travel make people aware of the harm done
to workers, women and children and to the environment -- in rich countries as
well as poor. This is a new phase in the consciousness raising of people
throughout the world. Religions, led by persons of good-will and generosity as
they endeavour to work together, can give meaning to the search for solidarity
and the safeguarding of the environment.
Chapter 1: Phenomenon of Globalization: A Holistic Approach
The overall impact of globalization is to
incorporate all the peoples of the world into one single world unit for
production, consumption, trade and investment, information flow and culture.
The processes of globalization is technological, economic, political,
socio-cultural and religious -- all linked together. It is the visible force
and migration laws of the superpowers that keep the land-hungry people away
from the empty spaces of the world which were occupied in the days of colonial
Chapter 2: Consequences of Capitalistic Globalization
There is as yet no power able to deal with the major
structural changes that are required for justice in the world, so that all
persons may have what they need for decent human existence, existence that the
modern world has ample means to provide.
Chapter 3: Politics, Culture and Environment Under Globalization
The "free market" does not
bring about a just economic equilibrium in a world of grave social, political
and economic inequalities. Capitalistic selfishness of individuals and
companies, raised to the level of a supreme principle of public policy, does
not promote true liberation of humans from selfishness, hatred and delusion,
but rather worsens the human condition almost everywhere.
Chapter 4: Deeper Approaches and Alternative Long-Term Goals
The poor countries are poor not so much because they lack
natural resources, but because their resources are being taken by others, often
at very low prices. Since we are bombarded daily by the mass media with news
and views on the economy and economic policies, it is necessary to be trained
to demythologize the orthodoxies claimed by economists, academics, policy
makers and media programmes,
Chapter 5: Religions And Globalization
Since it is based on solidarity,
Christianity should advocate among those who have accumulated capital and
resources, a sense of global
responsibility for sharing and global transformation. From the context of poverty, this advocacy
should respect religious plurality and human rights.
Chapter 6: Globalization; A Human Rights Perspective
Human rights are realized by struggle
against the values and structures of oppression that dominate most of the
world. The Bible from Genesis onwards emphasizes the obligations of humans, as
responsible persons, to care for one’s neighbour as a child of God, and also to
care for nature.
Chapter 7: Human Rights Within World Apartheid
The author reflects on the 1948 UN
Universal Declaration of Human Rights in relation to globalization: It is the visible force and migration laws of
the superpowers that keep the land-hungry persons from the empty space of the
world occupied in the days of colonial expansion. The present growth of capitalist globalization is the continuation
of the economic and sociocultural order built up by the earlier Western
military and colonial domination.
Chapter 8: Globalization and Spirituality
The teaching of the world religions is diametrically opposed
to the values of capitalistic globalization. The development of science and
technology can improve human life, but the capitalistic values that inspire the
social relationships are disastrous.
Chapter 9: Human Solidarity in the Context of Globalization
The old paradigm of the world system
built on nation-states to suit white peoples is inadequate to meet the
challenges of today and tomorrow. Humanity must find peaceful and just means of
adopting a new paradigm in which human beings are more important than the
national frontiers. All these are far less costly, and far more profitable than
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