Illustration by Daniel Zollinger Image Source: Beware of Images
Challenge those in power to share resources more fairly, isn’t this what the stories of Jesus teach us? We can read in the stories of Jesus life, that he taught those disempowered people who lived on the fringes of Jewish society – those who were stigmatized and excluded from society, such as the gentiles, the women, the disabled, and the widows, for example, a way to regain their power. These folks were disempowered and poor because those in power created systems for the purpose of excluding them from fully participating in society. To address this injustice, Jesus taught marginalized peoples to come together and challenge those in power to live more socially responsible lives: Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the ill. He also challenged all people to make friends with their ‘enemies’ and share the earth’s blessings with them. We can relate the stories of Jesus teaching people about social responsibility and methods to create greater social justice to our own lives today.
Today, the ‘1%’ are keeping too much of the profit and wealth (which their workers actually produce) for themselves, and this great wealth is the source of their great power. This creates an imbalance in power and also an unequal access to resources, resulting in a disruption to the functioning of the ‘ecosystem’ of the economy by limiting diversity. Limited diversity is not resilient or sustainable. We can see how this is true in the example of nature and relate that to economic theory. When there is a population explosion (think of economies of scale), a die-off (think of times of economic downturns) always follows. We can see how this is true with the ‘ecosystem’ of the economy when we see that unrestricted growth produced by ‘economies of scale’ is not good in the long term. Consider the economies of scale, and how large entities have limited diversity such that when one entity faces risk, all of the population is at risk. This risk is why some entities are considered ‘too big to fail’. To have a healthy and sustainable ecosystem (including economic ecosystems), it is necessary to maintain diversity. We would do well to learn from and imitate nature. When those in power do share their power and resources more equally, they allow for increased diversity, increased resiliency, increased productivity, and increased wellbeing for all.
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