New user? Register here:
Email Address:
Password:
Retype Password:
First Name:
Last Name:
Existing user? Login here:
 
 
Comment >

A world in which everyone benefits

WHATEVER the outcome of the G8 meeting today, we know that the struggle against the effects of poverty must continue for many years to come. This was at the heart of the campaigners' message: that global justice needs to be built into the way the world does business. As the organisers of Live 8 said repeatedly, aid is not enough. And, as the 225,000 demonstrators in Edinburgh on Saturday showed, people in this country are prepared to go further than simply filling a Christian Aid envelope once a year. Perhaps this will prove to have been the week when politicians got the message and started acting on it. the task, though, will be a long one.

In the mean time, President Bush's statement last weekend that he would not take any action that was to the detriment of his country was commendably honest and profoundly depressing. He is, of course, the President of the United States, and not, say, of Ghana, Angola, or Mozambique. Nevertheless, he seemed to take no account of the widespread damage caused by recent US administrations in those and other countries overseas, where often democratically elected governments were overthrown with US assistance. Nor, indeed, did he take account of the millions of dollars that the United States gives in aid, derived both from government funds and charitable donations. Neither fits the isolationist, self-preserving image that Mr Bush projected.

It is clear that the notion has yet to take hold that creating a juster, fairer, cleaner world benefits everyone, including Americans. Some seem to look no further than the fact that there will be an inevitable financial cost to people in the richer nations. Giving money away means that they have less to spend on themselves; Western politicians become nervous when they think their electorates might catch on to this. But, in the first place, it isn't all their money: developed nations are wealthy, in part, because they set a low price for raw materials bought from poorer nations, and accept a low price for manufactured goods made in countries with cheap labour.

In the second place, riches cannot be measured merely in monetary terms. Dr Williams spoke at the weekend about the way the world is shrinking through faster communication and travel. "This is a world where, literally and metaphorically, infection travels faster than ever. Pandemics, poverty, ecological degradation are everyone's business, and there is no escape pod reserved for those who are comfortable and prosperous just at the moment. Suddenly the question 'Who is my neighbour?' has a very clear answer: my neighbour is the suffering stranger in Africa or South-East Asia. My life is as much bound up with theirs as with the lives of people who happen to be more like me." The riches of living at peace with our neighbours are of infinitely more value than anything material that we have gathered and stored in our locked barns.

Job of the week

National Adviser & Archbishop's Secretary for Inter Religious Affairs

London and Home Counties

With its network of parishes covering the country, the Church of England plays an active role in national life, bringing animportant Christian dimension to the nation as well as strengthening community....  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

How we took our pick

How we took our pick

Paul Handley explains why we began our quest for the best 100 Christian books, and how we reached our verdicts  Read More

Question of the week
Will world leaders make the changes needed to combat climate change?

To prevent multiple voting, we now ask readers to be logged in. This is free, quick and easy, honestly. Click here to login or register

Top comment

When the nation needs a shared sense of sacrifice

War memorials have been made more Christian, but this has blurred distinctions between faith and patriotism, says John Wolffe  Subscribe to read more

Tue 30 Sep 14 @ 15:27
To update readers, we are tracking the case of former Bishop of Gloucester Peter Ball at Old Bailey. Case will next be listed 27/10/2014

Tue 30 Sep 14 @ 14:36
RT @SJames_DarloI've read 6 of the @ChurchTimes 100 best Christian books. How about you? http://t.co/NyaCHryqfH #CT100