Wealth, Poverty, and Morality

by SecondRateMind 226 Replies latest jw friends

  • SecondRateMind
    BUT in a healthy economic society there MUST BE inequality.

    Uh huh. Why, exactly? Why is it better that 1 person owns a million $ of shares, than a thousand people each own a thousand $ of shares?

    Best wishes, 2RM

  • SecondRateMind
    Nothing is stopping anyone right now from giving whatever they want.

    Indeed not. But there is, in the world, an acceptance, even a sycophantic approval, of people hogging more than their fair share of wealth. Some of these greedy individuals even consider themselves Christian. I think we need to turn this attitude around.

    Best wishes, 2RM.

  • dubstepped

    Greed works on all sides, the rich and the poor. I think it's great to help people that want to do better and that just need a hand up. I'm not in favor of hands that are just out.

    If you make it, it's yours to decide what to do with. None of my business.

  • SecondRateMind
    If you make it, it's yours to decide what to do with.

    Indeed it is. But while there is hunger, and malnourishment, and death from starvation, in the world, it will remain a ethical issue for all us moral agents to take a position on. It just is our business, if we wish to think of ourselves as responsible people. In the end, we can meekly accept the world as it is, or join the battle of good against evil, and try to make of our lives something of which we can be proud.

    Best wishes, 2RM.

  • scratchme1010

    Interesting post. Seems a little simplistic to me, though. What I have experienced myself and by seeing and living with others, is that it's not just about the numbers. It's not even about the numbers.

    I learned to make a difference between poverty and poverty mentality. Without addressing the later you cannot address the former.

    On the other side, there also is a mentality, a mindset. The financially privilege have their own way of living and thinking, so it's not as simple as attempting to distribute wealth among the social classes.

    Furthermore, some people in the poverty level income live well within their means, and so many others in between the poor-rich spectrum. Not having all the means doesn't mean impossible to live and/or strive.

  • SecondRateMind
    Furthermore, some people in the poverty level income live well within their means, and so many others in between the poor-rich spectrum. Not having all the means doesn't mean impossible to live and/or strive.

    Uh huh. This is similar to Dickens' Micawber recipe for happiness: "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

    On the face of it, it is hard to fault. Until one realises that there is a necessary subsistence level of expenditure, that one must spend, to sustain one's own life and that of one's family. Spend less than this, because one has less than this, and one is not just not happy, not just miserable, but outright condemned by an unkind, uncaring world.

    Best wishes, 2RM.

  • careful

    Let us take all the world's wealth, and divide it equitably amongst all the world's people… And let us do this voluntarily, because we think it good and right and just.

    Two thoughts:

    1. Your post could not help but bring to mind the observation of Notre Dame scholar David Bentley Hart whose recent translation of the New Testament (NT) has caused quite a stir in many circles. Both in its introduction and in an article he published about doing the translation, he spoke about the earliest Christians who would have been by modern standards "fairly obnoxious: civically reprobate, ideologically unsound, economically destructive, politically irresponsible, socially discreditable." He especially dotes on the NT condemnation of "the idolatry of riches, wealth misused, wealth immorally gained" ( Intro. p. xxv). Maybe he feels a tad bit guilty about making so much money from his scholarship and his academic success (a rare phenomenon)? It seems to me that, given the gap he puts between himself as a modern and the earliest Christians, he would not go along with your proposal, even though he recognizes the condemnation of wealth in the NT.

    2. Beside Hart, how do you propose bringing Trump, Putin, and all their ilk on board?

    How do you feel about reality?

  • SecondRateMind

    Not only have I not read Hart, but also I do not propose to judge individuals. What I do think I can reasonably do, however, is suggest an equitable distribution of the world's wealth, spell out approximately what that entails, and leave others, thus informed, to make their own decisions in respect of the deployment of their own souls.

    As for reality; why, people may, or may not, agree with me. I recognise that. But I am not the type who thinks controversy necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary, if it causes people to stop a while, and consider, and try to justify their attitudes to themselves, I think it a good thing.

    Best wishes, 2RM.

  • Alive!

    At the heart of the OP, it seemed to me there is a sense of dismay regarding the careless attitude of ‘Christians’ with wealth, towards the impoverished.

    This situation is notable in the network of Jehovahs witnesses, give their imtensestufy of scripture and regulated worship.

    I was as guilty as the next for enjoying over the top financial means.

    Somehow, for all my scriptural study, I managed to selfishly enjoy a life of absolute material privilege....whilst not for one minute being ready to lower my financial status to equalise others.

    I was ready to to give it all up at ‘Armageddon’ - but looking back, I wasnt ready to ‘give it all’ up a moment before...

    I ‘generously’ gave to others, but looking back....it never was at the expense of my own sacrifice, I always had plenty to give.

    I was known as a ‘generous’ and not a ‘materialistic’ person....but the truth?

    Not proud of it.

    But, I didn’t acknowledge that I knew any better, and if I did...I pushed away those uncomfortable feelings.

    Thought-provoking OP.

    And it’s good to really think about stuff. 👍

  • Finkelstein

    it seems to me that wealth is the surest divider between those who are moral, and those who are not.

    A nonsensical and nonfactual statement, there are some very moral people with money, in generosity and giving as well retain moral social responsibility.

    As well there are some very evil, irresponsible and apathetic people with money such the GB members of the Watchtower Corporation.

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