Poverty and inequity have a way of making us feel awful about ourselves, questioning the very core of our worth in this world. So we spend our time working harder, when we should be working together. We worry about how to pay the next bill, when we should be delegitimising the system of exploitation. And we often blame each other, when we should be blaming the rules. So why don't we point the finger at the real problem? That's a good question. After all, the vast disparity of wealth we see globally didn’t just happen by accident.
Global elites are concentrating power in multi-national corporations like never before. It has reached critical levels. Corporations now regularly overpower democratic governments and set their own terms of trade and taxation. Why? Because they are give special status by an economic system that prioritises money and profit over life. Private enterprise is a vital source of wellbeing but it must always be servant to the people, never master. Equity and fairness will only win out over the single-minded hunger for profit when people regain democratic control over corporations.
Our lives are stories, woven of events and ideas, beliefs and dreams. Right now, what we are told about inequality and poverty by many people in power is flat out wrong. They tell us that, “wealth trickles down,” “the market knows best,” “poor people just need to work harder” and even “poverty is inevitable.” Right. We need to unravel these stories and expose the truth about why a tiny number of people have grown extremely rich while billions of us continue to struggle in poverty. And we need to write our own story.
We need to expand the very idea of democracy. And that begins with democratising the way the global economy runs. Everyday, deals are made, trade regimes expanded, and rules agreed upon, by governments and corporations, without consent of the people. And even though these decisions affect each and every one of us, few of us are ever made aware of them, let alone allowed to partake in these decisions. Why? Because these decisions happen in secret, behind closed doors. The dream of democracy is built upon openness, but today we find our hard-fought democratic dreams flipped upside down, turned into public privacy and private transparency. While all of us find ourselves being watched more and more, those with the real power are being watched less and less. The way forward begins with a reinvigorated idea of democracy, a democracy with existential teeth, a democracy that opens doors, instead of closing them. And it begins with shining a light.
Earth is a sacred and magical place. There's enough natural abundance here for all of us to be fed, clothed and housed many times over. And yet billions of people still go to bed hungry, live in devastating conditions, and are forced to eke out an existence in the most dangerous and toxic of realities. All life, yours, mine, ours, comes from the planet’s freely given elements. But when it comes time to return the favour, to care for the earth as it cares for us, a handful of elite's have persuaded us that what we ought to do is treat the earth like an endless storehouse, and put the very life systems that we all depend upon up for sale to the highest bidder. If we're going to have a future, we've got to reverse the equation and start to manage those things that all life depends on in a way that respects life above all else, including profit.