Klaus Hart Brasilientexte

Aktuelle Berichte aus Brasilien – Politik, Kultur und Naturschutz

Brasilien: “Overcoming the roots of the crisis” – Befreiungstheologe Frei Betto

When capitalism prioritised the accumulation of capital to the detriment of human rights and of environmental balance it installed brutal social inequality on the planet and promoted environmental devastation. Today 80% of the world™s industrial production is absorbed by only 20% of the population residing in the wealthier countries of the Northern hemisphere.

 The USA which shelters only 5% of the world™s population consumes 30% of the planet™s resources!
Capitalist society™s level of consumption is unsustainable and has a decisive role in the process of climate change. A good part of this consumption is maintained by the ostentatious practices of a reduced upper class. According to the United Nations Programme for Development the combined incomes of the 500 richest people in the world is greater than that of the poorest 416 million. One multimillionaire earns more than one million people do!

According to Forbes magazine which x-rays the world™s wealthy who can pay up to US$160,000 for a fur coat, US$3,480 for a dozen shirts from the London shop Turnbull & Asser or US$241,000 like Robert McCormick, the president of Savvis the company which monitors the computers at the New York Stock Exchange did for a night out at a striptease show. They can also buy a Bentley 728, the most expensive car in the world worth US$1.2 million.

The walls of the concentration camps based on income are too high to allow the excluded multitudes to enter. But they are too fragile to impede the risk of implosion. An alternative to the present model of civilization must be found. This alternative must necessarily come about through a shift in values and not simply through economic mechanisms.

If the world turns around the economy and the economy turns around the market it means that the market, enveloped by an idolatrous character, hovers above the rights of persons and of the Earth™s resources. It presents itself as an absolute right. It decides the life and death of nature and of humanity. Thus the ends “ the defense of life on our planet and the promotion of human happiness “ remain subordinated to the private accumulation of wealth. It doesn™t matter that the wealth of a few means the poverty of many. The currency in the bank accounts is the paradigm of the market and not the dignity of the people.

The supreme principle of world citizenship is the right to life for all and, as Jesus stressed, ”Life in abundance (John 10:10). How can this be made viable? Any alternative must avoid the extremes which penalized a significant parcel of humanity in the twentieth century i.e. the free market and centralized bureaucratic planning. Neither of the above subordinates the economy to the rights of citizens. The market funnels opportunities, concentrates wealth in the hands of a few and aggravates the state of injustice. Bureaucratic planning, although carried out in the name of the people, in fact excludes them from decision making and often restricts the exercise of freedom. Both are incompatible with the environment and lead to the present dramatic process of global warming.

In order to overcome these impasses it is necessary for the logic of economics to give up the paradigm of private accumulation and to recover the paradigm of the common good as well as of the respect for nature so that citizenship can be given preference over consumerism and the social rights of the majority over the ostentatious privileges of the minority.

The World Social Forum is a light at the end of the tunnel recovering the hope of so many militants of utopia who struggle against a system which makes bread into an item for barter like merchandise and doesn™t value it as an indispensable good for our survival.

To rethink socialism supposes not identifying it with the regime overthrown by the Berlin Wall just as the Church™s history is not reduced to the Inquisition. If we are Christians it is because the Gospel of Jesus holds certain values such as the sacred nature of every person which also serve as a condemning judgment to what the Inquisition represented.

An alternative proposal for society should arise from solid practices combining economy, politics and ecology. One of the reasons for the brutal social inequality which reigns in Brazil (75.4% of the national wealth is held by a mere 10% of the population according to the IPEA – Institute of Applied Economic Research – May 2008) is the neo liberal schizophrenia which divorces economics from politics and politics from the social and the environmental.

The consolidation of democracy and the defense of ecosystems in our country and in the world now depend on the capacity to face the main issue: the eradication of social inequality. Environmental preservation and the overcoming of poverty are inseparable.

*Frei Betto is a writer and co-author with Marcelo Barros of ”O amor fecunda o Universo “ ecologia e espiritualidade (Love Engenders the Universe “ ecology and spirituality) (Agir), he is a Brazilian Dominican with an international reputation as a liberation theologian.

Within Brazil he is equally famous as a writer, with over 52 books to his name.  In 1985 he won Brazil™s most important literary prize, the Jabuti, and was elected Intellectual of the Year by the members of the Brazilian Writers™ Union.

Frei Betto has always been active in Brazilian social movements, and has been an adviser to the Church™s ministry to workers in Sáo Paulo™s industrial belt, to the Church base communities, and to the Landless Rural Workers™ Movement (MST).

In 2003-2004, he was Special Adviser to President Lula and Coordinator of Social Mobilisation for the Brazilian Government™s Zero Hunger programme.

When capitalism prioritised the accumulation of capital to the detriment of human rights and of environmental balance it installed brutal social inequality on the planet and promoted environmental devastation. Today 80% of the world™s industrial production is absorbed by only 20% of the population residing in the wealthier countries of the Northern hemisphere.  The USA which shelters only 5% of the world™s population consumes 30% of the planet™s resources!

Capitalist society™s level of consumption is unsustainable and has a decisive role in the process of climate change. A good part of this consumption is maintained by the ostentatious practices of a reduced upper class. According to the United Nations Programme for Development the combined incomes of the 500 richest people in the world is greater than that of the poorest 416 million. One multimillionaire earns more than one million people do!According to Forbes magazine which x-rays the world™s wealthy who can pay up to US$160,000 for a fur coat, US$3,480 for a dozen shirts from the London shop Turnbull & Asser or US$241,000 like Robert McCormick, the president of Savvis the company which monitors the computers at the New York Stock Exchange did for a night out at a striptease show. They can also buy a Bentley 728, the most expensive car in the world worth US$1.2 million.The walls of the concentration camps based on income are too high to allow the excluded multitudes to enter. But they are too fragile to impede the risk of implosion. An alternative to the present model of civilization must be found. This alternative must necessarily come about through a shift in values and not simply through economic mechanisms.

If the world turns around the economy and the economy turns around the market it means that the market, enveloped by an idolatrous character, hovers above the rights of persons and of the Earth™s resources. It presents itself as an absolute right. It decides the life and death of nature and of humanity. Thus the ends “ the defense of life on our planet and the promotion of human happiness “ remain subordinated to the private accumulation of wealth. It doesn™t matter that the wealth of a few means the poverty of many. The currency in the bank accounts is the paradigm of the market and not the dignity of the people.

The supreme principle of world citizenship is the right to life for all and, as Jesus stressed, ”Life in abundance (John 10:10). How can this be made viable? Any alternative must avoid the extremes which penalized a significant parcel of humanity in the twentieth century i.e. the free market and centralized bureaucratic planning. Neither of the above subordinates the economy to the rights of citizens. The market funnels opportunities, concentrates wealth in the hands of a few and aggravates the state of injustice. Bureaucratic planning, although carried out in the name of the people, in fact excludes them from decision making and often restricts the exercise of freedom. Both are incompatible with the environment and lead to the present dramatic process of global warming.

In order to overcome these impasses it is necessary for the logic of economics to give up the paradigm of private accumulation and to recover the paradigm of the common good as well as of the respect for nature so that citizenship can be given preference over consumerism and the social rights of the majority over the ostentatious privileges of the minority.

The World Social Forum is a light at the end of the tunnel recovering the hope of so many militants of utopia who struggle against a system which makes bread into an item for barter like merchandise and doesn™t value it as an indispensable good for our survival.

To rethink socialism supposes not identifying it with the regime overthrown by the Berlin Wall just as the Church™s history is not reduced to the Inquisition. If we are Christians it is because the Gospel of Jesus holds certain values such as the sacred nature of every person which also serve as a condemning judgment to what the Inquisition represented.

An alternative proposal for society should arise from solid practices combining economy, politics and ecology. One of the reasons for the brutal social inequality which reigns in Brazil (75.4% of the national wealth is held by a mere 10% of the population according to the IPEA – Institute of Applied Economic Research – May 2008) is the neo liberal schizophrenia which divorces economics from politics and politics from the social and the environmental.

The consolidation of democracy and the defense of ecosystems in our country and in the world now depend on the capacity to face the main issue: the eradication of social inequality. Environmental preservation and the overcoming of poverty are inseparable.

*Frei Betto is a writer and co-author with Marcelo Barros of ”O amor fecunda o Universo “ ecologia e espiritualidade (Love Engenders the Universe “ ecology and spirituality) (Agir).
ABOUT THE AUTOR

He is a Brazilian Dominican with an international reputation as a liberation theologian. Within Brazil he is equally famous as a writer, with over 52 books to his name.  In 1985 he won Brazil™s most important literary prize, the Jabuti, and was elected Intellectual of the Year by the members of the Brazilian Writers™ Union. Frei Betto has always been active in Brazilian social movements, and has been an adviser to the Church™s ministry to workers in Sáo Paulo™s industrial belt, to the Church base communities, and to the Landless Rural Workers™ Movement (MST). In 2003-2004, he was Special Adviser to President Lula and Coordinator of Social Mobilisation for the Brazilian Government™s Zero Hunger programme.

Dieser Beitrag wurde am Dienstag, 03. März 2009 um 23:28 Uhr veröffentlicht und wurde unter der Kategorie Politik abgelegt. Du kannst die Kommentare zu diesen Eintrag durch den RSS-Feed verfolgen.

«  –  »

Keine Kommentare

Noch keine Kommentare

Die Kommentarfunktion ist zur Zeit leider deaktiviert.

    NEU: Fotoserie Gesichter Brasiliens

    Fotostrecken Wasserfälle Iguacu und Karneval 2008

    23' K23

interessante Links

Seiten

Ressorts

Suchen


RSS-Feeds

Verwaltung

 

© Klaus Hart – Powered by WordPress – Design: Vlad (aka Perun)