>Rich and the Rest (The Economist)

In late January 2011, The Economist considered the gap between “the rich and the rest.” Because comments and statistics were spread between 12 different short articles on the topic, I summarized the information for the other students in Economic Justice.

Click here to view my 8-page summary (PDF). And you can read the intro article online–The rich and the rest. Here is the first paragraph:

APART from being famous and influential, Hu Jintao, David Cameron, Warren Buffett and Dominique Strauss-Kahn do not obviously have a lot in common. So it tells you something about the breadth of global concerns about inequality that China’s president, Britain’s prime minister, America’s second-richest man and the head of the International Monetary Fund have all worried, loudly and publicly, about the dangers of a rising gap between the rich and the rest. [complete article]

>John Perkins

>Click here to listen to a conversation with John Perkins via the Project on Lived Theology.

Welcome

Thanks for stopping by. I use this site to collect info on “better world” topics in the form of essays and links. I hope you’ll find these engaging, and please share your favorite resources as well. Gracias.

Paz,

Jeff

>Been a While

>Hola mis amigos. It’s been a long time since I posted here. This summer we moved twice, I started three jobs (now down to two), and spent quite a few weekends on the road. Costa Rica was nice. Through it all, I only updated Pack Light.

I’ve had a lot to say about justice but just didn’t say it. But I’m back.

On Pandora I’ve been listening to Michael Franti, Sean Hayes, Donavon Frankenreiter, Shihan, Ben Harper and Jack Johnson. I also recently heard Justin McRoberts at http://www.ijm.org/getinvolved/students.

Since you weren’t reading here this summer, I hope you were checking out Books for Ordinary Radicals or the IJM Institute blog.

Power to the peaceful,
Jeff

>In Debt We Trust

>Credit Cards… We can’t live with them; we can’t live without them. Do you pay off your cards every month? Even if you are in the minority who do, this somewhat over-sensationalized documentary could still be worth your time.

I appreciated the balance in credit advice. Some argued to not even have credit cards, while other people interviewed recommended for new college students to have one credit card with a limit of $500 that would be increased by $500 each year in hopes that young adults would slowly learn to use their credit wisely by controlling spending habits.

Interestingly, this film predicted problems in the subprime lending sector, a reality that is now affecting financial markets around the world.

In related news this week, Congressional leaders are holding hearings with bankers regarding credit card policies and practices–Credit-Card Cos. Defend Practices (Yahoo.com / AP, 4 December ‘07, Dibya Sarkar).

>PRODUCT: T-shirts

>
The crew at Northern Sun has put together quite a collection of t-shirts. I’m sure you’ll find something your size–dimensions & attitude.

>MUSIC: Jack Johnson

>
I’m really getting into Jack Johnson. Thanks, Kayla, for the introduction. Here’s Crying Shame:

It’s such a tired game
Will it ever stop?
How will this all play out
out of sight out of mind
By now we should know how to communicate
Instead of coming to blows,
We’re on a roll
And there ain’t no stopping us now
We’re burning under control
Isn’t it strange how we’re all
Burning under the same sun?
Buy now and save,
it’s a war for peace
It’s the same old game
But do we really want to play?

We could close our eyes it’s still there
We could say it’s us agaisnt them
We could try but nobody wins
Gravity has got al hold on us all
We could try to put it out
But it’s a growing flame
Using fear as fuel
Burning down our name
And it won’t take too long
Words all burn the same
And who are we going to blame now?

It’s such a crying, crying, crying shame (rp 3x)

By now it’s beginning to show
A number of people are numbers that ain’t coming home
I could close my eyes it’s still there
Close my mind be alone
I could close my heart and not care
But gravity has got a hold on us all
It’s a terrific price to pay
But in the true sense of the word
Are we using what we’ve learned?
In the true sense of the word
Are we losing what we were?

It’s such a tired game
Will it ever stop?
It’s not for me to say
Is it in our blood
Or is in our fate?
And how will this all play out
out of sight, out of mind
Who are we going to blame all in all?

It’s such a crying, crying, crying shame (rp 3x)

>WISDOM: Golden Rule

>
Matthew 7:12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

Thank you, Norman Rockwell, for this masterpiece.

And here is a link with versions of this wisdom in various faith traditions. [Personal Note: I’m more for respect than for Unification. Variety & differences are okay to me.]

This was the theme of my sermon last week (my 3rd presentation in 15 months).

Respect & religious freedom.

>MUSIC: John Reuben 2

>”The Boy vs The Cynic”

I’m not trying to save it all
I just want to create a ripple.
And even if one individual is affected
it’s monumental with an unusual perspective.
That’s beautiful in essence;
traditional thinking won’t suggest this.
Is life really that precious?
Well, yes it is.
But there will be no celebrations or congratulations.
No pat on the back, just your mind intact.
And the freedom to feel your heart beat at the speed of life.
Go to sleep tonight knowing you did it right.
And rest easy outside of a system that resents you
for not doing what they expect you to do.

>MUSIC: John Reuben

>“What about them?”

Chorus
Puff the magic Jesus floats around the universe.
The United States is his favorite place on the whole entire Earth
So sing your songs and wave your flag
And thank the Lord for all you have.
But what about them?
Did you forget about them?

Yeah, we came, we conquered, never speak of this again.
Life must go on.
Let’s not think of them.
Things are comfortable now.
Pioneers have settled in
A Perfect blend of progress and pale skin.
For our sake and those to come
We’ll rewrite the text so you can forget where you came from
Tell it in a way that will build your self-esteem
Repackage the product
And sell the American dream.

Chorus

History is best forgotten, even better rewritten
And since there’s no forgettin’
Let’s remember it different
Commit to it so strongly ‘til you believe it.
The truth is there, but you aren’t able to receive it.
You need to know you’re safe here.
Hide your face here, ‘cause you found your faith here.
But four walls with no windows doesn’t mean you’re it.
Four walls with no windows doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Chorus

What a prosperous, wondrous place.
Remember to say grace before we scrape our plates
And ignore the crying outside the door
Sure you’ll pray for their burdens
But you don’t want to make it yours
There in lies the problem
There’s a world of difference.
Crawl back into your happy existence
Feel the bliss of ignorance keep you warm
Blessed are those who mourn
But it’s so foreign
The more you have, the less you care
The less you care, the more you become unaware
And sure life’s not fair
But it favors us apparently
And how are we to interpret this excess
Is it God’s favor, ill behavior, simply man’s modern progress?
God bless us as we sweep this mess under the rug.

Don’t wanna walk barefoot on the tile and step in the mud
Out of sight out of mind, pushed to the side
Left for someone else to rationalize and justify.

Chorus