Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

JPT Practice # 6 Foster Just & Sustainable Economic Development

Patterns of economic hardship and exploitation can lead to “resource wars,” and poor people become desperate and are thus vulnerable to recruitment by terrorist fanatics (or power-mad government demagogues) offering cheap and easy solutions through violence. Fair trade, development that works with rather than against healthy eco-systems, these things are not only just in themselves, but win “hearts and minds” that can otherwise be seduced into violence.

“Development” generally describes a process of material and social progress, usually involving wider involvement in the global economy. It is most needed in those nations of the global South where majorities of the people live in abject poverty (50% of the world still lives on less than $2 per day), lacking adequate food, shelter, medical care, and clean water. Evidence suggests this poverty most affects women & children. “Just” development doesn’t simply increase the number of wealthy persons in a nation or its Gross Domestic Product, but works to eliminate poverty for as many people as possible, seeking an adequate minimum standard of living for all.

“Sustainable,” has two senses: 1) Referring to a development pattern which can be maintained by local people on their own steam and subject to their own control. 2) Referring to the need for development plans to include protecting the environmnet and natural resources for future generations. This second dimension recognizes the need for significant changes among wealthy nations, too, since the world literally cannot afford the amounts of energy consumed by the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

See further: Oxfam International, Worldwatch Institute; Bread for the World; The Micah Challenge; The One Campaign


September 26, 2006 - Posted by | just peacemaking

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