Greetings again, Readers! You really never do know when something will spark a bit of inspiration. I was watching a nature show and the host at one point spoke about predator-prey relationships in nature. Yes, in nature we expect this, but amongst us humans?
Now please don't say you have not heard of predatory loans or predatory capitalism. I've tried to find a definition of "predatory capitalism," and I think the closest I've come to finding a succinct encapulsaion of the concept is in an interview with John Perkins (some may know him as the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man). He said: " As expressed by famous economist Milton Friedman, it is based on a single premise, a single goal, and that goal is to maximize profits, without taking into account social and environmental cost." Noam Chomsky, in the book Chomsky on Anarchism by Chomsky and Barry Patemen, said of predatory capitalism: "It is incapable of meeting human needs that can be expressed only in collective terms, and its concept of competitive man who seeks only to maximize wealth and power, who subjects himself to market relationships, to exploitation and external authority, is antihuman and intolerable in the deepest sense."
It's not solely economics, either. When I settled on this topic, I remembered an excellent 'views' article I had read at commondreams.org, The Predatory Presidency by Roy Eidelson. He points out the need to reject calls of fearmongering and bigotry, then come together to strategize ways to protect ourselves against political predators.
I hope that it is becoming clear that a predator-prey relationship for humans needs to be rejected. I say we need to find a better way. We need to aim for relationships that are more mutually-supportive.
OK, by full disclosure, I am Christian. So my thoughts here will come from that perspective. I certainly hope, though, that others who might adhere to other faiths, be agnostic or even atheist, can still relate to the ideals of common humanity and seeking ways to support each other.
Let's begin, then, by remembering a few verses from the Holy Bible (all verses will be in King James Version).
Isaiah 58:10: "And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day;"
I John 3:17: " But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"
I John 4:19 - my late Mother was one who would really took this one to heart: "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?"
Zechariah 7:9: "Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:"
I Corinthians 12:25? "That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another."
And how can we Christians, anyway, forget what Jesus Himself said in Matthew 25:40: "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
One way to start us on a road to more mutually-supportive economics might be a guaranteed income. This has actually been tried on various scales in quite a few places. This article from The Guardian gives a report on what Finland is considering and a quick overview of some other trials. Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Stephen Nash looks at the concept and also mentions the idea of a negative income tax - payments to poorest citizens. Issues he also examines are increasing automation and cultural/social implications of a guaranteed income. Spoiler: Nash concludes the idea is certainly worth testing! Nash also quotes one of his colleagues in saying that DEMAND needs to be stimulated and guaranteed income would help in this regard - and I'm sure living wages would as well. We should remember that Henry Ford wanted his employees to be able to afford the cars they were making. That sounds pretty common sense to me!
We should also consider efforts to support students (and education!). One of my alma maters just opened a food pantry to support students who are food insecure! Believe it or not, student food insecurity is becoming a not uncommon problem. While I have to applaud these "grassroots" efforts, how can I not ask the question - "How in world did we let that happen?" While we ponder that, something we can advocate for that might help is tuition-free colleges and tuition-free plans. Demos.org has a nice overview here. Disclosures: I'm a retired CC prof and a CC alumna so this really is close to my heart. Also, my late Mother (an elementary teacher) attended a tuition-free Normal School and NEVER forgot how much that meant to her; she so often said she would not have been able to attend college otherwise. She always dreamed of free college for her students someday! My late Father was also a strong supporter of education. So I ask all of you: isn't investing in education and students more worthwhile than investing in guns, bombs, or even surveillance apparatus?
We also have to confront racism. Now, I really don't have ready answers for that; it's such a HUGE challenge these days, but we need to somehow get folks to see others in light of common humanity. If you haven't already read the study on circles of moral concern which is linked to in Eidelson's article which I mentioned before, it's worth checking out. And here's an article that shows it's not just a problem here in the U. S., and that the fight for a progressive agenda means defeating racism. And for your edification and use: a site of equity tools.
I'm also saddened that in all the time we humans have been on the planet ( for homo sapiens that means about 200,000 years!), we still are waging wars, fighting and killing each other on both large and small scales. Why haven't we learned to do better? We really must. With the weapons we have available to some now, the stakes are much too high for us not to start paying attention and doing some real peacemaking.
So in summation, we should be aiming for mutually-supportive relationships and polices. And we must keep encouraging each other in the work needed to realize them. As it says in one more Scripture verse, Hebrews 10:24: "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:"
Please remember if you find this post or any post here of value, do comment (comments are GOLD, you know) and/or share. Thanks!
World Day of Social Justice