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Greedy Money vs. Economy of Life
Ved professor Ulrich Duchrow, Heidelberg
Presentation: Ulrich Duchrow er medstifter af Kairos Europa, Attac-bevægelsen og forfatter til adskillige bøger om økonomi, religion og etik.
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Professor Ulrich Duchrow:
Duchrow started his speech to say that there has been one positive change: Oikos exists!
Gratitude to pater Anton Dekkers, who was one of the pioneers in developing Oikos.
After 1989 many hoped for a peace dividend after the cold war – but instead of developing a pro-poor system – the resources went to minimize the power of Russia and the former Soviet Union… invasion in Yugoslavia etc.
Neo-liberalism: Single goal of maximizing profit – destroys even the social economic base of the rich countries.
Stieglitz commission on fair marketing gave advice – but their advice was not implemented, so another financial crisis will definitely appear.
If this trend continues, the temperature in African countries will raise to the unbearable, and many climate refugees will appear.
The walls we are building are inhuman and unchristian, and – useless.
We are nearing a point where it is not just an option to develop alternatives but that otherwise there is no survival. Wide ecumenical consensus that there must be a change – but in Europe we are the latest to follow up on these trends.
The money civilization started nearly 3000 years ago.
We have adopted a calculating mentality – first period was with the Roman Empire – built on money and private money and also patriarchy. These developments got mechanized so that today we are greedy for more wealth, power and reputation. Capitalist man.
Fetishism of money – Marx said: – capitalism is like a religion (which the religions should have observed but did not).
Capitalism is leading nature to death – old religions are facing a new situation
“God or Mammon” or “God of compassion” versus “God of money”. Monotheism (of the God of compassion, hope and love) is threatened by capitalism. Liberation theology is formed by all religions, not only a Christian invention.
Pope Francis pioneered a religious discourse stating that “capitalism kills” and propagating that religious leaders must look for alternatives.
Capital must grow by its definition. The key of the compulsory growth. But money has to become an instrument and not a goal. With Oikos you are at a key point to transform the financial system.
When Oikos was started the churches were hesitating – today the challenge should be that the churches live up to 1) What the Pope says and 2) What their diplomats agreed to in Busan.
A common European church reaction is: “This may be a problem for the churches in the South – but we in the North has a social economy.” Actually our social economy is dismantling day by day although Germany is ahead of Denmark here.
What I hope for after these ‘Himmelske Dage’:
- Churches should be addressed
- Look at the systemic compulsion that money must grow – if you see the need to confront this – then be part of the change and join Oikos.
- One element is where you can mobilize people around this, e.g. free welfare goods as free water (1.6. mio. signatures against EU privatization of water)
- Transform the spiritual reality – the calculating logic of “What is in it for me?”
- In the middle classes the depression is growing – the key is to lead middle classes into the transformation of the economy, it will also be healing for the middle classes to join that.
- Kairos Europa is about as old as Oikos, and still propagating an alternative agenda.
- Ask the local congregations the following because these people are often surprisingly involved with refugees, to assist them: ‘Why are you not asking, what are the root causes of the refugees having to leave their countries?’. How is this boomerang operating? Look at what we have done in our European societies to make them come here? The refugees and their European hosts could ask these questions together, hence creating a therapeutic space which would assist refugees and middle classes in a more fulfilling life, if they joined hands to change the system.
- Why do you not visit your Muslim neighbor asking the same questions? Do not follow the islamophobia but instead read together the Bible and the Quran – and what do these holy books tell us about the situation of being a stranger and a host?
Dilemma: politicians are short-sighted and cannot work without the idea of growth
Duckrow: Politicians should be conscious of their responsibility and working for that change – politicians are not stupid. Politicians have made decisions in earlier times leading to politics becoming more and more corrupt. Politicians who wish to serve the financial markets rather than the people are corrupt. Only if those suffering from these developments join hands can this hegemony be changed. The deregulation of the common markets is not in the interest of the people – this should be made clear.
How to motivate power holders for change
Duckrow: It is a strange situation - Only a very tiny minority is benefiting from this situation and this financial system, yet why is there not more resistance? Many people are fatalistic – they think that they themselves are guilty of where they are. Revitalisation happens through the fear of downfall – and then leads to the split. E.g.: “the foreigners are taking away our jobs” instead of “the economy of the government is taking away our jobs”.
Luther was also a social revolutionary?
Duckrow: Luther talked about the “arch thieves”, and urged the kings to go in to that market at that time. But the kings and government have “Kopf und Hände drann” so it will be difficult. This is why a large group of theologians have made 94 new theses which are comments to the 95 theses Luther placed on the church door in Wittenberg. You can find them on radicalizing-reformation.com
How can we open a space for discussing also people’s fear for the disintegration of the welfare state.
Duchrow: You can find this space in the ‘Kairos Movement’ which in 1996 organized a campaign together with European parliamentarians – and still today try to counterbalance the illnesses of our society. What we are trying to do now is to change feelings/motivations in society by stronger and more positive feelings/motivations.
(Referent Flemming Kramp og Kristine Kaaber Pors)