Thursday, July 5, 2018

Giving Hope to the Weak in Society

Writing in the Catholic Times on the opinion page, a college professor asks the readers if they are familiar with the 'new poverty'? In the 1960s and 70s, Korea was a poor country but the people had hope. If they worked hard they would overcome the period of eating barley and wait for a new day; with difficulty, parents sent their children to college and found happiness.

Today, however, the 'new poverty' doesn't nurture a hope in the future. The poor young people see Korea as 'Hell Chosun' for no matter how hard they work and sacrifice they won't find a job, will not be able to marry and find a house. The future is far from bright.

Adam Smith in the Wealth of the Nations talks about the invisible hand in the market. A person's greed works for the good of all. He sanctifies the working of the market but it is not the way a Christian looks at the market. The market at times is inhuman with the laws of the jungle operating—survival of the fittest. An example is where  knowledge of an area that is to develop, persons in the know and speculators with worldly shrewdness are ready to multiply their assets at the expense of the common good.

Recently we hear news of tenants using violence against owners. This is wrong but at the same time, a greater problem is the raising of rents at the descretion of the owners without any regulations. Presently there is no recognition of the blood sweat and tears of the small self-employed shop owner but only concern with the owners of the property.

We hear a lot about the raising of the minimum wage and the problems of the workers and the owners of these small businesses and forget the rents that are being paid to the owners of the buildings. Usually, the salary of workers should be sufficient to find a place to live but that is not the case. We need regulations and not allow the blind market to dictate direction.

Economy originally meant to govern the affairs of the world and help people. God wants us all to live decently. In the Old Testament, we have the concern for the weak: widows, children, foreigners and the alienated—the poor. They were the first concern of society. That was the reason for the year of Jubilee, a way of relieving the debts of all and give a new start.

Pope Francis in the Joy of the Gospel tells the Christians to be on guard against the dictatorship of neoliberalism in strong words. Money is the new capability. We ask for the grace of repentance so that our poor neighbors can live with hope in a just and equitable world. We don't want to see money as a solution to all our problems—market logic. We need to learn the path of love to face an uneasy future and not concentrate on filling our own pockets but desiring a  world where more opportunities are given to the poor and the alienated.

No comments:

Post a Comment