Who does the economy work for?

“Unless we have reached the end point of humankind’s moral development, it is pretty certain that the average educated human of the twenty-third century will look back at the average educated human of the twenty-first century and ask incredulously about a considerable number of our most cherished moral and political axioms, ‘How could they have believed that?'”

That’s the American social critic George Scialabba writing in CommonWeal magazine recently, in an article that takes on ideas around merit, freedom and inequality. It’s inequality that jumps out to me as a huge moral blindspot, and it was thrown into relief by Oxfam’s latest report.

Released to coincide with the World Economic Forum, it shows very clearly how the global economy serves the richest first. It includes this graph of the distribution of new wealth created in 2020 and 2021:

In Matthew 25, Jesus tells his followers that what they do ‘for the least’, they do for him. God is worshipped when the poor, who are made in the divine image, are lifted up. As Jesus demonstrated in his own life, we should direct our attention to those in need, feeding the hungry, healing the sick.

One glance at the graph above tells us that the global economy has the opposite priorities. More money for the rich, more food for the full. The richest 1% took home 63% of all the new wealth created since the pandemic, while the poor saw no change and the very poorest 10% are worse off.

The global economy is morally offensive, perverse in its reward structures. That makes the work of a new economics kingdom business, and that’s what Joy in Enough is all about.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s