Mounting Inequality Makes Us Rethink


Profit-making ethics controls every dimension of human life. The concepts of duty, reliability, and transparency are described in contract terms. Thus, workers are reduced to slavery unable to own a land, a decent housing, and even afford food. It is time to rethink!




We are living in an era when billionaires multiply and weaker sections weaken further. Wealth-accumulators thrive; wealth-generating laborers sink to lower levels. It is calculated that since 1978, the remuneration of top managers rose 940%, while the workers’ wages grew hardly by 12%. In the meantime, billionaires have grown. China added three billionaires a week as COVID peaked; she has 799 of them. US has 626, and India has 138. Their number steadily increases. While the money of business magnates moves to tax-free zones like Switzerland, Ireland, Luxembourg, or Bermuda, their workers cannot afford to move home even in times of crisis like the recent pandemic. We are laboring under the “dictatorship of an impersonal economy without a human purpose,” laments Pope Francis (Evangelii Gaudium, n. 55).

Migrant workers are especially in a pitiable condition. Away from home, they miss the support of their native community. Their faith is put to the test. Not being indigenous to the place where they work, they are in a weak position for bargaining or protesting. They are often exploited by labor contractors, and rarely by the neighborhood. They are, most of all, at the mercy of profit-maximizing managers who know how to bend the labor laws in their own favor and keep the labor inspectors bribed. Migrant workers today are most like the people of Israel who were reduced to the status of slavery in Egypt (Exodus 1:11-14).

Profit-Making Philosophy Dominates Life

Profit-making ethics controls every dimension of human life, including working norms, social relationships, educational principles, entertainment styles. Even the concepts of duty, reliability, and transparency are described in contract terms. Everything is bent to serve and promote market interests: international agreements, political views, people’s movements, environmental debates, vaccine production, and educational strategies, research programs… even religious events and family bonds.

“Winners Take All,” wrote Anand Giridharadas, exposing the domestication of every sphere of human life by political and financial power in close collaboration. Elected representatives of people keep pandering their party-bosses and election-donors, ignoring the welfare of the larger society. Even the social services and works of charity they patronize are instrumentalized for self-promotion.

Money Must Serve, Not Rule

Today, the market alone counts. The idolatry of money is acclaimed (EG, n. 55). The ‘Golden Calf’ is lifted aloft (Ex 32:1). No principle holds, no value is given an inherent worth. Nature is assaulted. Workers are reduced to slavery: people turn landless, homeless, foodless, and health less due to an unbalanced re-distribution of wealth and total wastefulness among the better-off (EG, n. 191). No wonder, people like Noam Chomsky thunder, loot has been legitimized. Pope Francis feels greatly pained that the Market has been deified (EG, n. 56). “Money must serve, not rule”, he cries (EG, n. 58).

Meanwhile the poles melt, biodiversity falls, habitats of animal species diminish, climate changes, water reserves diminish, and hurricanes increase. There have been vigorous protests from people suffering from the consequences of the present order of things, like minority communities or deprived youth. You have heard of the ‘Arab Spring’ in the Middle East, ‘Occupy the Wall Street Movement’ in the US, ‘Indignados’ in Spain.

Young people worry about their future indeed. About half the world population is under 30; which means, over 3.8 billion young people can move on to the war path. They worry about tomorrow. Their protests were described in Time Magazine as “Youthquake.”

Rethink Your Loyalties

Speaking to the Focolarini, the Pope invited them to look at a “crisis” as an opportunity. It is time for us to rethink our loyalties. Populist leaders swear by their commitment to the poor while floating with the flow of money. Resist that temptation. Think independently. Prophet Hosea (10:13) refers to those who trust, not in their own uprightness, but in “chariots and horses.” Today, change those words into ‘bank deposits and political manipulations.’ Take care of what values you stand for.

For one thing, business bosses work hard. They are highly motivated. The energy and enthusiasm that Christian apostolic personnel manifested once upon a time are with business executives today. All the rising generation wants to be great earners and in the middle of good things. Earn through diligent effort, and don’t be like those politicians, contractors, middle men, and their dependents who misappropriate national wealth like coal, oil or timber, or exploit the poor. We cannot cast our destiny with them. Listen, rather, to sober voices in society. Co-think with the perceptive.

At a General Audience recently, the Pope called human intelligence a “peering into mystery” and beyond immediate concerns. This is exactly the service he does for us and for humanity. And he invites us to also peer into the mystery of the human condition and into the dignity of the human person and our common bonds with others. His words did not go to waste in Dubai, in Iraq, in Canada, or in Rome. He asks us to make our choices intelligently and responsibly and speak up.

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