Sunday, September 29, 2013

Shredding of the Social Contract

A Bill Moyers essay on Pope Francis' recent statements on poverty, unemployment, and the global economy, "a system," the pope says, "that has at its center an idol called 'money.'"  

Similarly, Mr. Moyers cites U.S. statistics, along with the failure of the American government to take action on poverty and unemployment in the United States - even taking deliberate steps that directly increase poverty - as with the House of Representatives recently cutting aide to families on the Food Program.  More than 21 million Americans need full time work, with 46 million people living at or below the poverty line, while the number of elderly women living in extreme poverty in the U.S. is soaring, the majority of Americans have no ability to save, and with the exception of Romania, no other developed nation has more children living in poverty than the United States.
"Listen," says Mr. Moyers, "That sound you hear is the shredding of the social contract."  


Mr. Moyer's remarks follow on the heels of another interview with Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo, discussing the urgency of climate action. (Mr. Naido can also be listened to here, speaking about the current plight of 30 Greenpeace activists in Russian custody upon protesting oil drilling in the Arctic.)

Comparing observations made by the pope and in the course of the conversation with Mr. Naidoo, Bill Moyers says, "Capitalism is like fire, a good servant, but a bad master.  If we don't dethrone our present system of financial capitalism that rewards those at the top who then use it to rig the rules against even the most reasonable check on their excesses, it will consume us, and that fragile, thin line between democracy and a darker social order will be extinguished."

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