In a column of the Catholic Times, the writer wonders whether economics isn't the greatest strength of our society. All the other values: moral, human, and of life, lose their meaning in its presence: law and logic have no place.
Values from life and the environment take a second place to the comfortable and abundant life offered to society by the nuclear power stations and other scientific advances. Solidarity with community, concern for the poor, all surrender to efficiency and competition. Economics is of the greatest value and its logic surpasses all else.
For many, the difficulties surrounding eating and just living trumps all the other values. Easy to understand, but at the same time materialism, and our need to adapt to the present reality is bitter to the taste.
It's a fact that when humans work for their own ends and competitively they accomplish great results. However, this is looking at the situation narrowly and superficially. For humanity working for the good of others, cooperating has also seen great economic results.
Economics the word itself comes from the work of housekeeping. 'Oikos', the ancient Greek word, means house, (family) and it can be equated to the work of family to support and achieve all that is necessary to live.
"Economy, as the very word indicates, should be the art of achieving a fitting management of our common home, which is the world as a whole. Each meaningful economic decision made in one part of the world has repercussions everywhere else; consequently, no government can act without regard for shared responsibility. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find local solutions for enormous global problems which overwhelm local politics with difficulties to resolve. If we really want to achieve a healthy world economy, what is needed at this juncture of history is a more efficient way of interacting which, with due regard for the sovereignty of each nation, ensures the economic well-being of all countries, not just of a few." (Joy of the Gospel #206).
St. Irenaeus used the phrase 'economy of salvation' to describe the workings of God. Even the word ecology wants to include all of our natural environment.
Our society sees competition and efficiency as all important. They appear to bring us all the wealth and development made. This advancement has not benefited all of humanity. Difficult to call this an abundance when so many are shut out from attaining or participating.
More important are cooperation, community, solidarity, compassion. Values of life and concern for the environment will bring even greater abundance. This is the way of reconciliation, and living in peace with all of creation. We have examples of this in cooperatives, community possession, and community responsibility.