It’s been a long time since I have listened to what a Pope might have to say. But Pope Francis strong words against economic greed certainly made me sit up. It’s always been my feeling that the Catholic church has lagged behind its community. Not that other religions are necessarily doing a better job of keeping up with the global societal changes. Saudi Arabian’s women not being allowed to drive is a case in point.
However, this new Pope is bringing a fresh breath of air into a rusty and quietly working towards becoming defunct religious community. For once it feels like the Pope is a humanitarian rather than a doctrine sprouting head of a church mostly out of touch with its people.
It’s almost like the previous Popes were supporting big business and keeping their regular customers out in the cold. This South American Pope is calling it as it is.
Economic greed is killing off the world.
It’s really strange that we middle and lower class folk are accepting the status quo. Sure there have been some minor skirmishes. Some grass roots movements. I even had to look up the Occupy Wall Streeet movement’s name. That’s how far it has receded in our minds.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who used to wonder at how the people in past historic times lived through oppressive regimes without doing anything to improve their own lot. Think of various Kings and Dictators who treated their subjects with total disdain. And the masses took it all in. How could they we think.
Well. We are doing it again. Aren’t we? We are allowing a bunch of people, a small handful to totally dictate how we live. 10% of the population in the US own 80% of the wealth. And we allow this. And we buy into it because the propaganda these folk spit out at the population is that according to the American Dream anybody can make it to that 10%. You just have to work hard.
Ah no. Not really. You have to first of all be white, male and be born into a family that already has the silver spoon to give you at birth. This way you can buy your journey into Harvard or Yale if necessary and you can network your way into CEO positions. And you can gather the support you need on the Board to pay yourself outrageous salaries and bonuses.
Of course there are some outliers who have made it without the above advantages of birth. That’s why we have such a celebrity culture. Most of the celebrities have gotten to their position through talent, hard work, luck and by knowing how to manipulate the system. Same applies to the Tech billionaires.
But the real money and power lies with the banking sector and business.
And for the first time a Pope, who is supposed to represent the moral compass of society, is pointing out in his Christmas message that the world is totally unbalanced and dictated by a greedy few folk. Too much money is sitting in too few hands. And the inequality is as bad outside of the USA. Even socialist Europe has a sinking middle class.
What to do about it? Well it’s a good start when people with power, such as the Pope, start pointing this out. Perhaps a ground swell can get going. People actually realising that they do not have to buy into this. That they do have power in numbers. And it’s just about getting those numbers together. Of course I’m not advocating another French Revolution with heads being chopped off. But a vote against excessive salaries would be a good start.
Pity the Swiss didn’t manage to push their really sensible law of minimum wages for senior management through i.e. linking Executive pay to the lowest paid worker. The law was supposed to ensure that Executives should not earn more in a month than the lowest paid worker earns annually. Didn’t quit make it.
There is no reason why 10% of the population own 80% of wealth except that we allow it. We ordinary people who are happy when we can make ends meet and have a bit over for a treat. This is not our lot. This is not fate or karma. It’s straightforward theft by a few on many.
What to do? Well taxation is a good start The system is there. It just has to be implemented.