The following are my sermon notes on Globalisation and Poverty
Globalisation effects us all. Is Globalisation good or bad or both or neither?
So what is Globalisation?
Your answer may be coloured by news reports of things like the often violent protests at World Trade Organisation Meetings. Such as the ones that were in Seattle 1999
Or the Occupy Wall Street Protests around the world over the last two years.
Some see Globalisation as the forerunner to One World Government and the Anti Christ and I think there is potentially some truth in that.This factor often colours a Christian’s view of Globalisation.
A really simple Definition of Globalisation is that it is a set of processes that make the world smaller
Another one – is the processes by which we become a global village
A detailed one
“Globalization proper” refers to an ongoing set of processes occurring within and across all the domains of human life that are differentiated by social scientists, i.e., economic, political, technological, social, cultural and the like. It is all of the processes by which such things as the telephone, democracy, fireworks, Christianity, Indian food, football fields and bubblegum become globally available. These processes include the development of communications and transportation technologies, the expansion of particular political systems, the integration of markets and political economies, as well as flows of people, goods, images, disease, religion and ideas across the planet. Such processes can be accurately described as global when these processes are inter-continental in both their scope (presence) and impact (consequence).8 One can rightly talk about the globalization of the telephone, democracy, fireworks, Christianity, Indian food, football fields and bubblegum, for instance, because each of these can be found on every inhabited continent on the planet. Some have a greater globalizing impact than others, but all are genuinely “global” as they can be found everywhere to one degree or another. Together, these globally recognizable artefacts reveal the magnitude of contemporary globalization and the processes by which they have become so are aspects of globalization. However, as these examples also suggest, globalization proper is uneven, many-sided, and often multidirectional.
At its core – Globalisation is about shifting forms of Human contact
The causes of Globalisation are complex and have been at work for centuries.
Increase in International Trade – Emphasis on free trade
Development of Global Financial Systems
The rise of Neo-Liberal Capitalism – and free market economics
Sourcing of cheaper labor
Increase in Communication
Mobility Factor – Greater Travel
Increasing role in organisations like World Trade Organisation, International Monetary Fund, The United Nations, UNESCO, UNHRC
Population explosion over the last 50 years
One book I was reading was talking about Globalisation (Bound Together by Nayan Chanda) as an ocean and within the ocean are currents that determine where you go on the ocean. So there are currents within Globalisation. These are called Globalisms. Some examples of these Globalisms:-
Christianity is a globalism
Neo Liberal Capitalism is a globalism
Terrorism is a globalism
Lets talk about Christianity as a Globalism for a moment
Gen 3 – The redemption of through Jesus was promised to all mankind
Genesis: 1:27-28 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and the over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth’.”
The scattering of people at the Tower of Babel
All peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3),
Matthew 28 to “Go and make disciples of all nations,”
Acts 1:8, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”
Acts 1:8, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”
Missionaries travelling all over the world
The DNA of Christianity is Go global
So Christianity has been part of the process of Globalisation.
Benefits of Globalisation – (this is a very shallow analysis as I am preaching on Poverty not on Globalisation per se)
1. Provides Wider Choices
Globalization is responsible for the wide range of choices in most products that are available in the market today.
2. Improves Quality
The secondary advantage of a wider range of products is that because there is so much choice in the market, the competition increases.
3. Improves Communication and Transportation
Advancements in the fields of communication and transportation have made it possible for people to communicate with others across the globe in a matter of seconds.
4. Boosts Economy
Globalization makes it possible to not only export and import goods, but it also allows for outsourcing services and jobs.
5. Provides Freedom of Choice
Globalization provides a platform for an exchange of information, ideas, goods and services.
6. Spreads Knowledge
Earlier, it would not have been possible to have an in-depth knowledge about other countries and their cultures. But due to important tools of globalization, like the Internet, it becomes possible to know everything that is happening around the world.
7. Promotes Progressive Thinking
Globalization is not merely limited to exchanging food, recipes, and the like, but runs deeper in the way of bringing about a change in the attitude and thoughts of people.
1. Promotes Traits of Commercialism
If you look at the teens of today, of any country that is, you’ll find that most of them will be in the same type of apparel, listening to the same kind of music, eating the same kind of food and frequenting the same joints. It seems like there is nothing unique and local anymore. People have developed an attitude of consumerism and everyone seems to have the same kind of things. This results in the same type of lifestyles and it pushes the ‘local’ ideas, products and practices somewhere in the background.
2. Destroys Ethnic Cultures
With so much emphasis on being global, people are forgetting what is local. They are disregarding their culture, ethnicity, and local traits in preference for foreign practices. It is feared that it won’t be long before countries lose out on their culture and heritage.
3. Affects Local Markets
When foreign goods flood the market and people begin to buy them, it is done at the cost of local goods. This is especially true of developing countries. For example, small time businessmen who do not have the resources to export their goods and only depend on the locals to buy them, go through varied degrees of losses because their goods are not sold. There are high chances that if you ask a small time businessman whether globalization is good or bad for developing countries, he’ll probably answer in the negative.
4. Promotes Danger of Spreading Disease
With people traveling and migrating from one place to the other, they introduce, or are introduced to varied forms of viruses. Thus there is a great risk that there could be a spread of diseases. The immunity that people develop against the diseases in their own country could be put at risk when introduced to the virus of other diseases and vice versa. An example of this is Bird Flu.
5. Creates Social Divides
While outsourcing may create jobs for one country, it does so at the cost of the jobs that are taken away from the people of the country that outsources them. One then has to question at what cost are profits being earned. So also for the fact that only a certain section of society which is able to afford to outsource are doing so and putting the lesser privileged sections of that society at a disadvantage. As a result, the divide between the different sections of society increases more and more.
6. Leads to Wastage of Resources
One quote that I read
Essentially, the problem with Globalisation is that you are bringing together a world full of sinful people to create a sinful society
Globalisation has either caused or failed to address significant issues and the one that I want to focus on today is Poverty. Now I know there has been some inroads into Poverty eradication and some high profile causes like Make Poverty History – but with billions of people still in poverty – more needs to be done.
Here are a couple of figures
The GPD of the 41 Heavily Indebt Poor Countries (Population of 567 million) is less than the wealth of the world’s seven richest men combined. In other words, just 7 out of all the worlds wealthy around the world, could set the 41 poorest countries free from the shackles of debt
Almost half the world — over 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.
Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.
Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t
1 billion children live in poverty (1 in 2 children in the world). 640 million live without adequate shelter, 400 million have no access to safe water, 270 million have no access to health services. 10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (or roughly 29,000 children per day).
In 2011, 165 million children under the age 5 were stunted (reduced rate of growth and development) due to chronic malnutrition.
Preventable diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia take the lives of 2 million children a year who are too poor to afford proper treatment.
870 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat.
It would cost approximately $40 billion to offer basic education, clean water and sanitation, reproductive health for women, and basic health and nutrition to every person in every developing country.
One of the biggest issues is that capitalism taps into some inherent evils in broken humanity
I am not anti capitalism – I am merely pointing out its weaknesses
(Time does not allow me to expand each one of these)
1. Human fraility
a. Predatory instincts of mankind
b. Instincts for Mastery
c. Delusions of Investors
2. Institutional Failures – we saw that through the GFC
3. False economic theories
4. Failure of Government Policy
So I got to thinking about Poverty
1.Where did poverty come from?
2. What is the theology of poverty?
3. What is the definition of poverty?
4. Is Poverty a financial Statement?
– is it powerlessness
5. What is the first recorded instance of poverty in the bible?
6. What is the theology of poverty eradication?
7. Did Jesus Accept Poverty – was he asking us to tolerate poverty and therefore all the issues related to that when he said the Poor you will always have?
Quote”- The two things that break God’s heart are people in need and people in greed.
Where did Poverty come from?
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”
God had provided everything mankind needed but due to sin and the subsequent judgement – we now make our way in the world through sweat of our brow as we till the ground
What I get out of this is:-
1) Cursed is the Ground – Its hard work and we fight against this curse in order to provide for our families
2) For some – the thorns and thistles over run the garden – lack of opportunity, failed opportunity, corruption
3) For some – the ground they work in –
Is disputed land and so there is conflict
The ground is in famine
The market for the goods the ground produces is distorted
The ground they live on destines them to poverty through cultural, religious or economic issues.
The ground they have is wanted by others and so it becomes part of a conflict
For others their ground has oil under it
4) Some people don’t want to toil or unable to toil
5) There are different capacities for making the ground produce – speaking of the ground as a symbol for making money – I don’t have the same capacity as Steve Jobs did for making money
What is the Theology of Poverty?
1. Injustice causes poverty –
– Proverbs 13:23 The field of the poor yields abundant food, but without justice, it is swept away.
I think this is a significant issue in the world. Injustice. Sometimes, the actions; the immoral actions, of others causes poverty. There are those who have lost their businesses, or their homes, or their savings because of the actions of others.
From a Globalisation perspective –
– issues like food dumping – dumping cheap food into Asian and African Markets – which then kills the local food growing industry
2 Physical & Mental Problems cause poverty –
In Mark 5 we are told about a woman who had an issue of blood for 12 years. She came to Jesus to be healed. During those 12 years though, we are told,
– Mark 5:26 She … had endured much under many doctors. She had spent everything she had and was not helped at all.
3. Sinful Living causes poverty
Proverbs 23:21 … the drunkard & the glutton will become poor,
4. Laziness causes poverty –
Proverbs 23:21 … laziness will clothe them rags.
In a western country like Australia, sometimes I link Laziness with a sense of welfare entitlement. This I think is a particularly relevant issue in Australia right now.
5. Corrupt Economic Policies
Proverbs 14:23 There is profit in all hard work, but endless talk leads only to poverty.
This and the first point are the two big issues in the world – from my perspective – that cause systemic poverty
What is the definition of Poverty?
1) Lack of money
There are 2 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Does economics alone determine poverty?
Warren Stark (a Facebook friend from Bundaberg) said recently:- Poverty is nothing more than a state of mind. Sure, you can be destitute, broke, and lack even the basics, but for true poverty to prevail there needs to be the poverty mindset. Western culture breeds this mindset by constantly telling us we need more than what we currently have and therefore creating the inadequacy that accompanies such a mindset and it is always subjective and is always driven by greed.
A generous heart is the only thing that is needed to deny poverty a foothold in your life.
The account in Mark 12:42 about the widow with two mites is very indicative of this. This lady had next to nothing and yet was lauded by Jesus for her generosity. Many would have considered her poverty stricken but instead she chose to see things differently.
3) Lack of Choices.
Peter Rees (another Facebook friend) said recently:- I guess the origins of poverty are pretty clear in Genesis 3. Man disobeyed God and God cursed the ground. My definition of poverty is a lack of choices. extreme poverty is living on less than $1.25 a day. this equates to about two bowls rice and vegetables a day (simplistic calculation). After this you have about 10cents left over for everything else in life, transport, electricity, housing, education, clothes. When you break it down like this it becomes pretty clear that poverty is a lack of choices. Its something we are not familiar with in Australia yet 1.4 billion people live like this around the world. Imagine that you are 10 years old and living in extreme poverty and your mum and dad get sick. You have no choice but to drop out of school and work so that your whole family can eat. This is the crazy cycle of poverty, you now won’t be able to get an education and get a good job. The cycle of poverty now lives on in the next generation. It originates with the lack of choices.
4) Lack of Rights
The bible talks a lot about standing up for the poor – so biblically there seems to be a link between poverty and oppression
13 Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor
Will also cry himself and not be heard.
Prov. 14:31 Anyone who oppresses the poor is insulting God who made them. To help the poor is to honor God.
Psa. 82:3 Give fair judgment to the poor man, the afflicted, the fatherless, the destitute. Psa 82:4 Rescue the poor and helpless from the grasp of evil men.
5) Lack of Safety
6) Refugees or victims of violence
A CHRISTIAN’S RESPONSE TO POVERTY
1. Be Kind to the poor –
Proverbs 19:17 Kindness to the poor is a loan to the Lord, & He will give a reward to the lender.
Proverbs 14:31 The one who oppresses the poor insults their Maker, but one who is kind to the needy honors Him.
You and I are to be kind to the poor, regardless of how they got that way. We are not to despise them or make fun of people in need. We remember that apart from the grace of God, we could be in the same situation.
2. Defend the poor –
Proverbs 31:9 Speak up and judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy.
3. Help the poor –
Good Samaritan is a good example. Do whatever you can to help them
4. Share Christ with the poor –
My friend, one of the best ways to help people seemingly trapped in poverty is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them.
5. Make ethical purchasing decisions
Don’t buy things that are made in the sweat shops in Asia
6. Don’t fall into the trap of westernizing Christianity as applied into other cultures.
In 1925, E. Stanley Jones wrote a widely read book entitled, The Jesus of the Indian Road. In this book, Jones provides one of the most moving and profound appeals for indigenizing the gospel ever written. In the Indian context, Jones argued, Jesus was to be understood in Indian terms, not terms imported and imposed from afar. Jones articulated what many then and since have always known: the various gospels of Western Civilization, global capitalism, technological advance, democracy and now human rights are not the good news of Jesus Christ. The temptation today, of course, is to congratulate ourselves for believing we have learned this lesson. To be sure, calls to “contextualization” and “indigenization” are squarely on the agenda of most missionaries. Though the sad truth is that we continue to confuse the true living gospel with the gospels of the world, there is another issue at stake: loosing sight how these indigenous Christianities fit together.
7. Remembering the poor the Old Testament way
Beyond charity – development & justice
Where as Jesus dealt with the poor one on one, the old Testament deals with the systems of poverty. These practices are just as important for knowing how to remember the poor
Gleaning – Farmers were told not to harvest their fields all the way to the edge, nor to go over their fields, vines and trees a second time, so that some of the harvest could be left for the landless poor to glean. It allowed the poor to work and receive a just reward for their work. – there is to be a place for every person in any economic system so that we can all support ourselves.
Timely pay – the Law teaches employers to pay their workers before sundown so that they can feed themselves and their families and not go hungry waiting for payday.
No oppression – If a person needed a short-term loan, the loaner was not to take their cloak as a pledge, or collateral, or they would go cold for as long as the loan was out. Nor was the loaner to take the means of production as a pledge – so you couldn’t take a millstone from a miller, or a plow from a farmer as collateral, because it would lead to further poverty.
We need a system that gives the poor accesses to capital in such a way that doesn’t strangle the life out of them.
Micro loans are a great recent development that I believe follows God’s principles of development.
No permanent Loss of Freedom or Land
If a person became so impoverished that they had to sell themselves as a slave to pay their debts, they were to be released every seven years. So you never sold yourself, you only sold your services for the number of years left before the sabbatical (seventh) year
If you became so impoverished that you had to sell your ancestral lands, there was a law that said every 50 years was the year of Jubilee and the lands reverted back to the family of origin. Again you really only leased the land for the number of years leading up to the Jubilee.
These two laws broke the cycle of poverty in a family’s life. It gave even the poorest of families a light at the end of the tunnel – a time when they would be able to start over again.
The notion of Jubilee is what inspired the present campaign to cancel 3rd world debt so that the countries saddled with the debt from corrupt leaders can stop servicing the debt and start serving its people.
I hope these notes have been useful for you. You may also like to read these related blog posts from me.