CHARITY, OR JUSTICE?

Oxfam’s 100 km walk is on once again this year over the weekend 19 to 21 April. It commences at Jells Park Glen Waverley and finishes at Wesburn after traversing through some beautiful countryside to Melbourne’s east. There’ll be 700 teams taking part: amazing!

As with institutions such as World Vision and St Vincent de Paul, Oxfam works to fight poverty and dispossession, a most worthy aim.

It’s ultimately disappointing, however, that these bodies–espying that poverty is man-made–still won’t contemplate signing up to a revenue system that will put an end to the 1% ripping off and dispossessing the poor.

To them Georgism remains akin to the mad uncle who must be kept up in the attic and never mentioned.

Donating money to projects to alleviate poverty can be palliative but can never replace the economic justice promised by land-based revenues.

I’m reminded of a withering letter the soap manufacturing magnate, Joseph Fels, sent in reply to a begging letter from the dean of a theological institution.

Fels’ response is sharp but not cruel because it covers the issue so factually. See what you think.







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You say we need more funds to tackle poverty, homelessness, health, the environment, education and infrastructure? I say instituting the Henry Tax Review is a BIG step towards solving those problems.

2 thoughts on “CHARITY, OR JUSTICE?”

  1. Strongly agree. I competed this year with a team that finished 3rd overall – but the whole way I had an uneasy feeling about the assumption that financial donations are the best way to lift the poor of other countries out of poverty. This strikes me as rather condescending, as it ignores the possibility that inequitable international financial arrangements and obligations might be playing a large part in creating that poverty. It is disconcerting to realise that many contestants would have been wearing garments and equipment made in south east Asian sweatshops, for which the workers get only a few cents in the dollar.

    1. Good on you, Andrew. Yes, the piece was in no way an attempt to put down the pleasure and fun of the competitors, but to ask those religious and other bodies who apply charitable funds in order to alleviate poverty and dispossession (and who build up their own considerable charitable bureaucracies), to look a bit deeper and join the fight against the 1% who rip of the resource rents of first, second and third world countries.
      Cheers.

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