Saturday, June 18, 2016
Justice and Equity in Society
Among the young people in cyberspace, we hear often the ranking of spoons. What parents pass down to their children in wealth or place in society is expressed by gold, silver, brass or earth spoons. A column in the Catholic Times expresses the view of a seminary professor in social science on a subject which he feels is important because of the influence on the young, which leaves them with little hope for the future.
He shows statistically how the reality of our situation is feeding this despondency of the young. The poor are finding it more difficulty to leave their poverty. Inherited wealth of the wealthiest one percent continues to rise and the dividends and interest from invested money: 90 percent of this is received by the richest 10 percent. Money is not the result of work. Position in society, in many cases, is not from effort and labor but what was handed down from parents.
In Korean the proverb: A dragon rises from a small stream-- rags to riches stories-- are relegated to the land of mythology. " Without education, or money with two hands alone they began." These words in song are no longer heard and in its place we hear 'Hell Joseon' a phrase which the young use to express the period of the Joseon dynasty where the feudal system determined who got ahead. Many feel they have inherited an earth spoon.
In the Church's Pastoral Constitution # 4: "Never has the human race enjoyed such an abundance of wealth, resources, and economic power. Yet, a huge proportion of the world's citizens is still tormented by hunger and poverty, while countless numbers suffer from total illiteracy. Never before today has man been so keenly aware of freedom, yet at the same time, new forms of social and psychological slavery make their appearance." Again in # 63: We are at a moment in history when the development of economic life could diminish social inequalities if that development were guided and coordinated in a reasonable and human way. Yet all too often it serves only to intensify the inequalities. In some places, it even results in a decline in the social status of the weak and in contempt for the poor."
Within this kind of society, the values of honesty, sincerity, labor, diligence the value of community, and moral life find it difficult to take hold. In the world of finances, the elite minorities are not only influencing their own financial world but all other parts of society. Their values are spread in politics and in other areas of life. Each person has one vote is changed to each Korean's ₩ (won) has one vote as in a cooperation, and this reality can permeate our social life.
Obviously when this happens, we have the death of democracy and with it, the devaluing of the dignity of the person and labor: consequently, the interest of the Church in justice and equity.