Economic Justice – A New Year and a “New Normal”?

We have been meditating on a possible “New Normal” for a New Year.  Might the coronavirus crisis become a “portal” for a new and fairer economy, where all people and all species find their needs met and life thrives?   

Short clip on COVID-19 and the possible ways to fix the global economy. Originally posted to YouTube by The Economist.

The end of the year 2020 is a stark reminder of the inequalities built into our economic system.  It does not harbor well for a “new normal” if we stick with the old normal where the rich get richer and the middle class shrinks and the poor get poorer and increase in number.  Yesterday we cited R. Roy who proposed that we consider during our shut-in time whether we might examine the parts of our economic engine to determine whether we want “fix it, or look for a better engine.”  

Morally and spiritually, it is clear that we need an engine better suited to 1) saving the planet as we know it and 2) ensuring a fairer balance between the haves and have nots than does our current system.

Frontline – Two Nations of Black America – Martin Luther King Jr on Economic Justice. Originally posted to YouTube by Chance M. Hitt

Consider these facts on what went on economically in America in 2020.  The stock market made big gains, billionaires profited while vast number of Americans lost their jobs, often their homes, and went hungry.  Indeed, 27 million adults in America—one in eight–did not have enough food to eat last week.  We have seen lines and lines of cars lining up for hours at food banks to secure a modest amount of groceries.  “The recovery has been incredibly lop-sided” said one observer.  There is a “disconnect between the stock market’s wild success and struggling American households.”  

Cartoon showing relation between economic corruption and wall street. Photo originally posted to Flickr by Democracy Chronicles.

The richest men in the world increased their wealth by one trillion dollars this past year amidst all the suffering others were undergoing including of course the exposure of low-income workers to death by covid.

Employment for low-end earners is 20% below what it was before the pandemic.  Says one expert, “the markets are dominated by the folks who are in the upper echelons.  They don’t feel any pain.  They read about it, but they don’t experience it.”  The soon-to-be treasury secretary, Jenet Yellen, reminds us that “the stock market is not the economy.”  The middle class, poor and Main Street know that.  One wonders how many political leaders do.  

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National call for Moral Revival presented the House Budget Committee with a comprehensive, data-driven plan to end systemic poverty in the U.S. Originally posted to YouTube by the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

Mystics Thomas Aquinas, Meister Eckhart and Julian of Norwich, among others, say that “God is justice.”  

Does that mean that when an economic system rewards the wealthy and powerful during a time of pandemic and the poor die and middle class are squeezed, God is absent?  While four million small American businesses closed down in 2020 last year, much of their business was gobbled up by larger corporations.  Is this sustainable?  Is a just system one where giant corporations often avoid paying taxes altogether while poor and middle class individuals pay theirs?  Is an unjust system a godless system?

Can humans do better than this and design an economic system that works for all—all humans and all other creatures on Earth as well?


Stock Market Record 2020

Bezos Musk Wealth Pandemic

See Matthew Fox, “Warrior for Ecological and economic Justice,” in Matthew Fox, A  Mystic-Warrior for Our Times, pp. 221-250.

Banner Image: Photo of monument showcasing the scales of justice, originally posted to Flickr by Michael Coghian

What does it mean to you to say: “God is justice.”  What does it mean to humanity’s versions of economic systems at this time in history?  Can we do better?

Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior For Our Time

While Matthew Fox recognizes that Meister Eckhart has influenced thinkers throughout history, he also wants to introduce Eckhart to today’s activists addressing contemporary crises. Toward that end, Fox creates dialogues between Eckhart and Carl Jung, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rabbi Heschel, Black Elk, Karl Marx, Rumi, Adrienne Rich, Dorothee Soelle, David Korten, Anita Roddick, Lily Yeh, M.C. Richards, and many others.
“Matthew Fox is perhaps the greatest writer on Meister Eckhart that has ever existed. (He) has successfully bridged a gap between Eckhart as a shamanistic personality and Eckhart as a post-modern mentor to the Inter-faith movement, to reveal just how cosmic Eckhart really is, and how remarkably relevant to today’s religious crisis! ” — Steven Herrmann, Author of Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward

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3 thoughts on “Economic Justice – A New Year and a “New Normal”?”

  1. Avatar

    One by one, if we establish a hermitage in our hearts and establish the vows of obedience, poverty, and chastity as a way to live in the world, the outward manifestation is a new world.

  2. Avatar

    I believe in the God of justice despite the bleak economic system presented above.
    In our small endeavor since August 2020 until December 2020, we enjoined our families and friends to help feed the hungry. Near us were the small transport groups, the jeepney and tricycle drivers who lost opportunities to earn their daily bread. Literally, there was no income to feed their families, and they were only asking for rice. Weekly 7 kilos of rice were given to them. Last December they expressed their profound gratitude how much this little act has given them hope and we learned from them that the rice they received were also shared to their neighbors who have less! The rice has been broken and shared and multiplied and this for me is the essence of the God of love and justice. If the huge economic justice of this world work only for the rich, others can make this economy work with the economics of sharing, the economics of God! And we dont stop here, we continue to deconstruct the economics of the rich by our voices of protests and loving actions.

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