Pessimists and scare-mongerers like to say that the world is getting worse and worse. The opposite is true. Television news and newspapers make us more aware of problems throughout the world but statistics paint a very different picture. As Harold Macmillan said back in 1957, “Most of our people have never had it so good”. Extreme poverty is reducing, diseases are being eliminated, fewer people are dying because of war and life expectancy is improving. If you want a fuller picture, read on. Continue reading “You’ve never had it so good”
When it comes to human relationships, love, compassion and justice must go hand in hand. In talking about social justice I am not talking about justice as retribution or punishment but as justice in the way we treat our fellow-man. When people are wronged, they may cry out for justice to be done, and often won’t be satisfied unless the wrongdoer is punished for their crimes against them. Social Justice demands that we correct the unfairness of society but does not demand retribution or punishment.
- 20,000 innocent children who die every day of preventable diseases cry out for justice.
- 1 billion people living in extreme poverty cry out for a fairer world system.
- Poor workers who satisfy western demand for things like coffee, chocolate, vegetables etc. cry out for a reasonable percentage of the final price.
- Millions, working as virtual slaves in industry cry out for freedom from exploitation.
- A million plus woman trapped in the sex industry cry out for respect and liberty.
- An estimated 127 million children working in conditions which are harmful to their health and welfare cry out for a decent start in life.
- Over 100 million children between 5 and 11, who receive no education at al,l cry out for at least a primary education so that they are not condemned to produce another desperately poor generation.
- 400 million children between 12 and 17 who do not attend secondary school cry out for the opportunities that education would bring.
The net income of the top 100 billionaires in the world is enough to end extreme poverty four times over! This is according to a report by the charity Oxfam entitled “The Cost Of Inequality: How Wealth And Income Extremes Hurt Us All,”. The report states that efforts to address the issue of global poverty were being hindered by what it terms an “explosion in extreme wealth.”
- The total income of the world’s richest had a income of $240 billion (£150 billion) or a average of $2.4 billion each
- Around a billion people live in extreme poverty which is defined as an income of $1.25 per day, or $450 (£300) a year. This represents 0.000002% of the top ‘earners’ income. Continue reading “Extreme Wealth and Extreme Poverty”
Christine and I have recently joined a local choir and have been preparing hard for a Christmas concert. The choir is a secular choir but many of the pieces we sing are ‘Christian’ in nature. One such song starts as follows:
‘Tis the season for giving,
‘Tis the season for joy,
‘Tis the season to celebrate life,
To stop and remember love. Continue reading “‘Tis the season for Giving”
As he came near to the end of his time on earth, Jesus told his disciples that they would do what he did and “greater works” than him. This is quite an amazing statement. What are the “greater works’ for us to do. Signs and Miracles are an obvious contender, but are there other things for us to do which qualify? What about the abolition of slavery? What about fighting against injustice? What about feeding the hungry? Do these things qualify?
In this article I do not intend to negate a more conventional interpretation, but to add to it. Continue reading “Greater Works”
The desire for freedom is one of the most basic human needs. Wars and civil wars have been fought to seek freedom. This article explains how extreme poverty, and relative poverty, can be expressed as a lack of basic freedom.
Slavery involves a total lack of freedom over every aspect of life. A slave has no rights, no income and no hope of a better life. Extreme poverty means that in terms of freedom, people living under extreme poverty are virtual slaves to that poverty. They can no more set themselves free than a slave can, by self-effort, become a free man or woman. Even people living in relative poverty lack freedoms in various ways. Continue reading “Freedom from the slavery of poverty”
Imagine living on the streets of a large city. Your income is pathetically small and is all spent on feeding your family. Your children seem always to be hungry and are susceptible to sickness and disease. Your daughter wants to get married but you cannot afford it. You are considering selling one of your kidneys.
Imagine living in a remote village. You have a very small plot of land but the soil is not fertile and the rains have failed. You have a little grain which you plan to plant next year but you wonder, should you give it to your children to save them from starvation.
Imagine you were born in Africa. Continue reading “Extreme poverty”
It is human nature to compare our living standards with others, in our community, or internationally, and feel that we are poor. Those who are by any definition, prosperous, may envy others their yachts or private jets. Those in more modest circumstances may feel poor because they cannot afford a larger flat screen television or overseas holidays. Those who are struggling, but nevertheless surviving, may envy others the chance to send their children to school, or afford the medical treatment so vital to a family member. Continue reading “Relative poverty”