We Have Better Alternatives
|March 22, 2006||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
We Have Better Alternatives
A Cardinal Discusses Capitalism
Religious leaders sometimes have no better solution to poverty and injustice than a platitude that people ought to be nicer. In this article, a Catholic Cardinal from Honduras tries to go further.
Solidarity the best route towards a just society
by Cardinal Rogriguez Maradiaga
A world is being created where the greediness of a few is leaving the majority on the margin of history. Rather than being in a truly global world, we are in one that continues to be strongly divided between those who can enjoy the opportunities globalisation brings and those who are excluded.
It is a world in which there is a desire to open up all frontiers to goods, while a host of obstacles hinder the free movement of persons from the countries of the south towards those of the north, as we unfortunately see in the border shields imposed by rich countries.
The new world order presented to us comes from the unification of markets to facilitate the circulation of money and goods. In short, only the logic of the financial markets has been globalised and the absolutism of this capital is creating havoc.
We are not heading towards a more just system. There have been no substantial changes in the social structure. The world is becoming globalised to the rhythm and in the way the major economic powers want.
Moreover, a savage capitalism is returning, which history has already judged harshly in view of the conditions to which it subjected the proletariat in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The historical achievements of the welfare state are being dismantled and, as a result, the differences between the rich and the poor are growing. The consequences of transforming the world into one enormous market have to be faced, and for this a new world has to be built, a world in which there is room for all its people.
Solidarity is a concrete expression of the fundamental good of sociability. Solidarity reaches the whole world, which has become like a “global village” – in some ways.
It makes it necessary to put oneself in another’s place to discover his/her needs and try to satisfy them according to the possibilities of each situation.
The common good in a very general sense refers to the personal good of each and every member of society. It also indicates the whole series of external elements in social life that contribute to human growth or development of persons and groups in a community. Fraternity among peoples, and even more among persons, is the way to the globalisation of solidarity.
Respect for human rights, a reasonable development and wellbeing, social stability and peace in a just order are usually cited as basic elements of the common good.
The most elementary solidarity is in avoidance of actions that go against solidarity (for instance, contaminating the environment, destroying confidence or fomenting corruption in business, etc).
Solidarity encourages giving the greatest possible service to each interdependent group: making efforts to maintain jobs, making investments to create new jobs; improving the quality of service to clients and users; helping the local community; improving the environment; contributing to social and educational initiatives etc.
Solidarity is achieved by seeing to it that all human beings share in the available goods. These goods have to be divided and shared without excluding anyone in the distribution; without some hoarding them at the cost of depriving others; and without introducing discriminatory measures in the distribution.
Economic globalisation without the globalisation of solidarity is suicide for the poor and thus for the majority of humanity.
We cannot continue to be blind. We are not just heading towards the globalisation of markets, which means the concentration of wealth, but also towards the globalisation of poverty, which means accepting that for the poor, hope has been put to death.
However, the globalisation of the economy and of politics need not disturb us if we have acted beforehand with clarity and courage, and put a prerequisite into effect that changes the sign of things – the globalisation of solidarity.
Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga is Archbishop of Tegucigalpa in Honduras, and one of the world’s leading campaigners for social justice.
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