News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Throwing Money, Missing the Problem

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Throwing Money, Missing the Problem

Now that the wound is bared after Katrina, people will fret and dread and throw money at it, but they will not attempt to change the long-term _causes_ of poverty. That is an aspect of responsibility that Americans have a difficult time dealing with. But it is something that must continue to ring clear to them.

Responsibility falls on us all--how do we approach this responsibility? In a society based on economic self-interest, those who cannot make it for one reason or another are marginalized and shamed for their ineptitude, lack of initiative, etc. What we have to deal with is _our own_ responsibility. Have I done as much as I can to help others? Have I fulfilled or even attempted to fulfill that infinite responsibility towards others, which I believe is inherent in the ethical demands of existence itself? I know I fail every day, yet I understand that this failure is at least my responsibility--and that I must try and continue to try to fulfill it. It is an infinite task that is never done.

We as a society must work together and not simply sit by while there are those who do suffer from the disadvantages of an economic system that is inherently unfair. If you believe that those poor in other countries are gaining from this situation, I think that is a pipe dream. There are plenty of examples that show that globalization puts money into the pockets of those who already have, not those without. We see something of this in our own country--where there are some aspects of civility at work. Here the average CEO makes 400+ times more than the average worker. Imagine how that goes in other countries where there are not perhaps even the minimal safeguards there that we find in this country.

One must ask oneself honestly whether what one sees is really the type of love that accords with this command to love one's neighbor as oneself. Can one honestly and in good conscience say that this poverty is _always_ the fault of those who are poor. Even _most times_ their fault? How much does chance play in that one who's poor and that who's not? How much involves privileges that simply appear to be matters luck or chance in being born into a rich family versus another?

Another question is: for the richest country in the world, what does it mean that there children who are living in conditions equal to a third world country? Is that fair? Is it just? I answer no, and ask why again? The answer is that there is no "will" or desire to put into practice the principles of loving one's neighbor as oneself. People hold onto what they have and forget about everybody else--this is a spiritual condition of apathy and despair and calls into question the good-will of the American dream.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is a disgrace for our government to witness such an injustice. How can a person feel right about making 400 + in a year while people are starving in this country. president bush took a few hours off his vacation to visit N.O. To him these people deserved what they got. they are poor, lazy and not being able to work but that is not his fault. Creating and passing laws to make it easier for companies to export their production line overseas, create a new poverty groups and force them to participate in war in Iraq is a way for him to help people. Why in this country which suppostely is the richest country in the world, we have kids starving in our streets. How can we justify spending billions to create a democracy in Iraq, while we do not have democracy in this country? I believe we should take care of our own first and then worry about fixing things in other countries. Ali