Another uncomfortable truth

greed

What would the world be like if our leaders were guided by New Testament principles?

Would “love your enemies” enable a more effective foreign policy? What if our refugee and social justice policies were guided by Jesus’ words that “whatever you did to the least of these you did to me”?

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33 thoughts on “Another uncomfortable truth

  1. The people in power who choose to hoard it all are the very Governments of those poor nations. Do they want to help the poor or maintain the poor?

    “In “The Other Path,” Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto has drawn a compelling picture of how oppressive these barriers can be. De Soto’s book appeared in 1989, when Peru’s Byzantine bureaucracy seemed to be throwing all its energies into preventing the struggling peasants crowding into its cities from getting ahead.

    For example, de Soto reported that to get a license to sell from a pushcart, a would-be peddler had to spend 43 days shuttling between bureaucrats, and lay out $590 — 15 times the minimum monthly wage. To register a tiny factory required 289 days and $1,231. Homeless families seeking to build huts on vacant government land had to spend 7 years jumping through bureaucratic hoops, and expend the impossible sum of $2,156 — 56 times the minimum monthly wage — per person.

    Shut out of the legal economy, Lima’s enterprising poor created a bustling “black market.” As of 1989, they had built 50 percent of the city’s housing and 83 percent of its markets, and operated fully 95 percent of its bus and taxi network. Yet because their operations were illegal, their lives remained distressingly insecure. Without access to credit or insurance, they could not expand their businesses or plan for the future, and were constantly vulnerable to prosecution and extortion.

    A better way

    Fortunately, since 1989, Peru has moved decisively toward free market policies. Deregulation and privatization have sparked an economic renaissance, and much of the “informal economy” now operates within the law. The poorest of the poor — perennial outcasts — are becoming tax-payers, and slowly but surely entering the middle class.

    Excessive government regulation is a primary culprit in perpetuating poverty across the globe. But in some countries, culture and history also impose burdens. The striking contrast between Barbados and Haiti illustrates this well.

    Barbados and Haiti are Caribbean nations of similar size and resources, and both are populated by the descendants of former slaves. Barbados is a thriving democracy, with a 99 percent literacy rate and a per capita income of $8,700. But Haiti — though a major aid recipient — is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with rampant illiteracy and a per capita income of about $250.

    The two islands’ divergent pasts seem to explain this astonishing gap. Barbados was colonized by the British, who left a heritage of democratic institutions, education and entrepreneurial activity. Haiti, by contrast, was colonized by the French, who quashed the entrepreneurial spirit, and established an oppressive caste system. Moreover, Haiti’s people have clung to the voodoo religion, which portrays the universe as capricious, and makes planning ahead seem pointless.

    Today, both oppressive governments and stifling social systems restrict the creative capacity of many Third World people. Under these circumstances, progress is difficult. For, as aid expert Lawrence Harrison has pointed out, the creative capacity of human beings — their ability to imagine, invent, theorize, organize and solve problems — is at the heart of the development process. The world’s wealth is not a fixed pie, Harrison observes. On the contrary, productive economic activity creates wealth. In Harrison’s view, “The society that is most successful at helping its people — all its people — realize their creative potential is the society that will progress the fastest.”

    http://www.americanexperiment.org/publications/commentaries/why-blame-third-world-poverty-on-first-world-greed

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    • Here is another of his books that I think I might have to buy. ‘The Mystery of Capital’ by Hernando de Soto

      The question being asked is why Capitalism works so well in the West but has failed when poorer nations have tried it. Apparently it’s because people are not actually allowed to ‘own’ anything. I’m not sure how it works so I’ll have to read it I suppose 🙂

      Here is a customer’s review of it.

      “… the author does do an excellent job of explaining exactly why the 3rd world always seems to miss out on capitalistic expansions. While ‘the West’ keeps getting richer, other people miss out and stay relatively poor. Why is this? Are they stupid? Are they lazy? No, they aren’t stupid and they aren’t lazy. The problem is that everyone seems to have forgotten that capitalsim is all about capital (hence the name). And in the 3rd world, most people are not allowed to develop capital because they don’t own official property. Why? I liked the flow chart that showed how it would take literally 18 years to follow all the legal channels to buy property legally in Haiti. It is so ridiculous, that nobody outside of the system bothers trying to get on the inside, so they just squat on land and ‘own’ it in this fashion. Because they lack legal title, however, they can’t use that land or house as collateral for a loan, a basic thing Americans like me take for granted. I must say that I had never thought about it before, but it totally makes sense. My only problem with this book is that it felt too long. It’s only about 230 pages sans end notes and index, so it isn’t physically that long, but it really only takes the author about 150 pages to make his point, and the rest of the book is him hammering the same point over and over and over again. It gets tedious, but this is still an important book for everyone who cares about helping the poor attain the benefits of the global economic system.”

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  2. We are only in a position to offer aid limited by our own abilities and by intervening governments etc. It’s like offering bandaids for major injuries. We need to find ways of preventing these ‘injuries’ or injustices.

    If we can help raise the educational level of these people, help them with technology to communicate with the rest of the world, change would follow, including change of government. The problem is that they often lack the required health and/or freedom to access these things.

    Are any of us willing to go to these countries and try to raise standards? To be close to those who need help? Mother Theresa said ‘Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.’

    No, I’m not willing to go. And probably not you either, for very valid reasons.

    Seems like it could take a long long time, but then I think of seemingly insurmountable problems, like the Ulster strife, and like the cold war.

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    • I agree Strewth. I think those who are willing to get into these countries and help, even by small numbers are doing the best work. Education is key.

      There are quite a few charities and health care professionals who devote their time to going into these places and I respect them.

      I’ve mentioned this before but I always remember that quote from Bryce Courtenay in his book One – where he said something like a waterfall starts with one drop.

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      • ….and an overwhelming population starts with one quickie.
        Education is nice, but the ‘key’ lies in sterilisation.

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      • Actually Dabs, sterlisation has been happening around the world for quite a while.

        I was surprised to read this about Sweden and Switzerland!

        Sweden
        Main article: Compulsory sterilisation in Sweden

        Jan Guillou brought up eugenics in the TV-program Rekordmagazinet in the 1980s, at which time this was still a topic largely unknown to the people, but it wasn’t until 1997, following the publication of articles by Maciej Zaremba in the Dagens Nyheter daily, widespread attention was given to the fact that Sweden once operated a strong sterilization program, which was active primarily from the mid-1930s until the 1970s. A governmental commission was set up, and finished its inquiry in 2000.[citation needed]

        The eugenistic legislation was enacted in 1934 and was formally abolished in 1976. According to the 2000 governmental report, 21,000 were estimated to have been forcibly sterilized, 6,000 were coerced into a ‘voluntary’ sterilization while the nature of a further 4,000 cases could not be determined.[33] However, the 40,000 or so socio-medical cases are contested, and Zaremba and others argue that they were more in the interest of society than individual women. The Swedish state subsequently paid out damages to victims who contacted the authorities and asked for compensation.

        Switzerland

        In October 1999, Margrith von Felten suggested to the National Council of Switzerland in the form of a general proposal to adopt legal regulations that would enable reparation for persons sterilized against their will. According to the proposal, reparation was to be provided to persons who had undergone the intervention without their consent or who had consented to sterilization under coercion.[citation needed] According to Margrith von Felten:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_sterilization

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      • The US ran a comprehensive eugenics program in the early 20th century, and is, in fact, where the germans got the idea.
        http://hnn.us/article/1796
        ……and while I’d have to be hard-pressed to condone the brutality of State-enforced sterilisation of the type we hear about (though there are always exceptions of course) I reckon the principle could be propagandised effectively, in much the same way as was the campaign to desex other animals,,,,,and the ‘Don’t Smoke’ campaign, for example.

        But, on whatever basis, our species MUST to stop breeding or face self-created extinction.

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      • …..or there might be a simpler way….
        When I was a kid they used to tell us ~ along with constant reminders about the starving children in china who’d LOVE our vegetables ~ that a woman was having a baby every three and a half minutes.

        ….and there was always that one smart-arse who’d yell out:- ‘Well somebody ought to tell her to stop it!!’

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      • The REAL uncomfortable truth is that the world’s resources are finite.
        The only exception appears to be the ‘human resource’.

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      • “……the world’s resources are finite.”

        step 1 walk outside one evening
        step 2 look up

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      • Thanks. Always interested in innovation, but my computer is falling apart, and for the time being I can’t get sound, so will have to look it up elsewhere.
        …..but you do realise that the best ‘tankless water-heater’ has been around for years, don’t you?
        It’s called: ‘A Roll of Poly-pipe Chucked Up On the Roof’.
        A similar option is one or more old auto radiators sprayed black.

        How much hot water you need will dictate the size/length of pipe/number of radiators you use.
        …and the picky perfectionists enclose the pipe/radiator in an insulated box sealed with a glass panel.

        My favourite option is the ‘instantaneous gas heater’ (aka ‘continuous hot water heater). Wastes no energy in stored hot water, and a bottle of gas will last more than a year.
        Options include producing your own gas, or rejigging it to work in the same way its ancestors did ~ a ‘chip-heater’ in which you can use any fuel from a few woodchips to a lump of coral which spends its day in a bucket of kero or diesel.

        Sunlight is, from a human perspective, about the only abundant resource.
        ….and that may be so only because we’re not up there breeding like rabbits on viagra 😉

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  3. One way to start would to put a “TAX ” directly on those companies that produce and or re-sell weapons .
    Start the rate at TWENTY PERCENT and increase the rate by three percent per year At some stage the companies would realize it would be unprofitable and move onto something better for man ,woman and CHILDREN .

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  4. Well, following New Testament principles would mean we should still have slavery, with Paul requiring slaves to obey their masters even if they are treated badly.

    And witchcraft:- from the website Faust:-
    “It was the witches’ magic and supposed alliance with the Devil that made good Christians come to fear the treacherous infiltration of that same Satanic evil that Jesus battled into their midst, and they were appalled to discover how serious the problem was once they went looking.

    They started prosecutions of witchcraft (and other heresies). The Christian prosecutors were initially confused to discover that seemingly harmless(and brutally tortured) people freely admitted to being witches and doing all of the bad things they were being accused of. Hearing this confirmed their suspicions, and set the stage for a thorough de-witching of the continent. Torture was used – perhaps not as extensively as sometimes claimed, but it would certainly have been in people’s minds during interrogations. Thorough investigations led to the accused naming their families, friends and acquaintances, who were in turn gathered up, interrogated, and prosecuted.

    In the 14th to 18th centuries in Europe, large-scale witch hunts grew to become hysterical purges consuming the lives of untold numbers of innocent victims,[1] both within and beyond the control of the presiding churches.”

    Any religion in total control of a country exhibits all of the worst traits of any Hitler or Pol Pot. It’s the power and control afforded by religion that is the corrupting influence. As they say, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    That is why people’s minds must always be free of domination by any dogma of any kind. They must be free to think or to say what they wish, unless it incites violence or murder against innocents who wish them no harm.

    We should be tolerant of all except the intolerant.

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      • Dom,
        To repeat, we should only be intolerant of the intolerant. Therefore beliefs that mandate the subjugation of generally tolerant people should not be accepted in our culture. We should be, and I am, tolerant of all the rest. We live in a democracy, which not only entails the rule of the majority, but also the protection of the rights of minorities, unless they themselves are destructive of the well-being of the society. ”

        You seem to want to abuse the messenger rather than face the facts, which is always the clearest of indications that you don’t have a decent counter-argument.

        I hope you are not suggesting I am a liar. Why on earth would I need to lie when the facts speak for themselves, as you must know if you simply read the Koran and the Sunna?

        It would be ironic indeed to call me a liar, when Taqiyya (lying to unbelievers to advance the “cause” of Allah) is a heavily-used institution in Islam. Lying is also permitted in other situations, e.g. in order to win a woman.

        I have no need or desire to lie about anything.

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  5. More to the point WHY isn’t the world being run on New Testament principles ? Aren’t the vast majority of leaders in the western world Christian ?

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      • From a theological point of view all that could cause problems for christians…….

        If EVERYbody ‘loved their enemy’, then pretty soon nobody would have an enemy to love.
        Wither then the Divine Injunction?
        ie…….How would it read on Judgment Day? Would you be adjudged a sinner and cast into hell if you hadn’t loved your enemy because you didn’t have any enemies?

        …..and is it just coincidence (sorry for the profanity!) that today is Sunday? 🙂

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      • I did qualify as the vast majority of leaders in the western world. ‘Cause let’s face it the western world has been the trend-setters for a while now.

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    • That’s exactly the same question the Pope is asking. The western leaders are supposed to be Christian. The Pope, like many others… hates being called a hypocrite. But more to the point … he’s trying to do something about it. And because he shows Christian values… gets called a Marxist. He’s getting a taste of what true Christians have to put up with.

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      • ‘The leaders of the Western world are aupposed to be Christian’
        But are they? It’s easy enough to call yourself one, or even mistakenly believe so.

        This is why I am reluctant to wear the label myself, despite reassurances from clergy!

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  6. Another uncomfortable truth….. if the Catholic Church paid tax like the rest of us, that alone could eradicate poverty. Leaders of poor countries are usually bribed by rich corporations to do whatever the corporations want . After George W Bush and his tin pot dictatorship gave the world the financial crisis thru illegal wars and lies and greed, the Obama Administration told us loud and clear …. “YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN… WE’VE GOT ENOUGH PROBLEMS…”

    Fair enough. We got warned. Obama inherited so much crap, it’s going to take years and years to repair. The senator from West Virginia Don Byrd warned them from the beginning. His dying words to the congress … “Calling heads of state Pygmies? Turning international diplomacy on it’s head? Illegally invading a sovereign country? This will have repercussions for years…. YEARS !”

    The American tea party and the new republicans threaten world stability … again.

    They all love dollars and drones….

    So a little African boy or a little Afghan girl tries to go to school only to get blown up by an American drone…. so much for truth, justice, and the American way ….

    And it’s not going to end until we all believe in Disneyland.

    Americans are so stupid, they read books like the old testament and the new testament and can’t figure out which one came first… also … the consensus of climate change scientists have stated Americans are too stupid to understand it.

    “I would sterilize the water in order to breed them out….. ” Lang Hancock, on the “Aboriginal problems” 1984 Australian national TV

    If anything, the west should be compensating countries like Africa for stealing their minerals…
    … and that’s just to start with ….

    If there’s one thing I can’t stand …. it’s rich old fat white people pushing everyone around.

    And that seems to be the way of the west.

    It doesn’t surprise me twitter is popular. It’s made the world smaller…. people are actually talking to each other from other countries. Poor people too. And trust me ..

    They’re not stupid.

    They know already the west is pissing down their back and telling them it’s raining.

    They’re used to it ….

    But what the greedy rich don’t realize is that the meek will truly inherit the earth.

    They still don’t get that Camel and the eye of the needle thing …

    They still think they can walk thru it !

    God knows ….

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    • …..er….. Why, if “The American tea party and the new republicans threaten world stability” do you sound as though you disapprove, Jimbo?

      I’d’ve thought World Stability might be a good thing for a change.
      ….otherwise why would all the Beauty Queens be advocating it?

      (I agree! Sundays ought to be ‘destabilised’! Does anyone have the phone number of an experienced Suicide Bomber?)

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  7. But Jimbo….if they were REALLY meek they wouldn’t WANT to inherit the earth; they’d aim for something rather more modest, wouldn’t they?

    …….and as for the camel and the eye of the needle thing:- If you were truly wealthy why wouldn’t you just spend a few bucks to build a HUGE needle….and drive your camel, carrying the gelt, straight through?

    ……sling St Pete a few Big Ones and open Heaven’s first Real Estate Agency.
    Between the greased Concierge and hugely-inflated prices it should be easy to keep the riff-raff out!

    (Take note Kate:- THAT’s an investment! No competition, set your own cashflow and ROC., and the NTA would be……er, ‘Divine’. …..if a little…er, ‘nebulous’. But since all the would-be customers had been well propagandised and thoroughly evangelised before they got there, that shouldn’t be a problem.
    If you ~ as a Mick ~ really DO have the right contacts let me know: I may have an offer for you. 🙂 )

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  8. Hey dabs… who said we can’t learn from our elders? Check this out ….

    “There is a battle of 2 wolves inside us. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, lies, inferiority, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope humility, kindness, empathy, and truth …..

    The wolf that wins is the one you feed”

    Cherokee Proverb (Native American)

    Not bad for a savage, huh?

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    • Yeah: I’ve heard it said.
      Nice sentiment; the problem is that nobody can agree on what ALL those terms mean ~ from ‘anger’ through to ‘truth’.
      That’s what most of the shitfights are about ~ and the Cherokee were as murderous and treacherous as any other tribe, whatever the race or colour.

      ……and it defames wolves, who harbour NONE of those characteristics.
      We could learn a lot from the ‘real’ world (as distinct from the artificial thing we ~ or our gods ~ have created).

      Meanwhile, back at the coalface, here’s one you (ALL of you) can stick on your mailing-list.
      https://secure.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_forced_evictions_t62/?azYAsbb

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  9. “WE DON’T WANT RICHES…. WE WANT PEACE AND LOVE” Chief Red Cloud

    The biggest genocide in human history didn’t happen in Nazi Germany… it happened on American soil. 100 Million Native Americans were slaughtered…. and lost their homeland.

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