Friday, October 21, 2011

Don't Forget How Blessed You Are

This past Sunday I was talking about God's blessing in causing us to see the Gospel. One of my illustrations was the Occupy Wall Street Movement. This is what I said:

Right now we can look at the protests going on and while corporate greed is a problem--look at how greedy and selfish the protestors are. Even in America the poor have more riches than most.  
Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; (Heritage Foundation) 
Seventythree percent of poor households in America own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher. 
Only 9% of the poor in America sometimes go without food. 
925 million people are undernourished. (2010 Estimate; UN Food and Agriculture Org.)
32% of children in developing countries go malnourished. Averaging about 160 days of illness a year per child. 
As of 2008 (2005 statistics), the World Bank has estimated that there were an estimated 1,345 million poor people in developing countries who live on $1.25 a day or less. 
The point is this: how selfish we look by comparison. People are complaining about college debt they willingly took on, when poor people around the world live on less than $1.25 a day. But our point isn’t about economics. It is that inside the church--we often do not realized how blessed we are.
Here is another article entitled "We are Just Crybabies in the West" that makes similar points. Here are some excerpts:

“We are the 99 per cent,” the protesters chant, eyes aflame with reformist zeal. It’s a compelling slogan, well-suited to the times and to the social-media soup in which we are increasingly immersed. 
The wrinkle: It’s not true. North America and Europe, geographic epicentres of the Occupy Wall Street movement, are the fattest of fat cats, globally speaking. For any North American, least of all a Canadian, to claim economic kinship with the globally disadvantaged is silly. Mention that to an Indian. Mention it to a Chinese. Cry me a river, will be the likely response. Followed by a wry chuckle, or perhaps an expletive... 
Drilling in, the numbers are striking. For example: North America accounts for only 6.1 per cent of the world’s adult population. But North Americans (again, as of the year 2000) held 34.4 per cent of the world’s household wealth. Europeans, with a much larger share of population, 14.9 per cent, held 29.6 per cent of the wealth. And rich Asia-Pacific nations, just five per cent of the global population, accounted for 24.1 per cent of household wealth... 
The irony? The financial districts of Beijing, Mumbai and Nairobi, last time I checked, aren’t teeming with people yearning for the downfall of capitalism. Indeed, an attempt to launch Occupy Mumbai this week fizzled and died. That’s because, to most Indians, capitalism means investment and the possibility of a better job.
In an era of debt retrenchment, Canadians have good reason to fear declining living standards — but only compared to ourselves, and only in the context of a golden age of prosperity, perhaps just now waning, unlike anything the world has ever seen.

The reality is virtually all the opportunities that you and I have to have a decent life, all of the medicines, all of the technology and food on the table has come from our views of human liberty which is coupled to our views on capitalism. Are there problems in America right now? Sure. But they pale in comparison to what individuals and families struggle with around the world.

Even more, it is not the overthrow of capitalism that is the solution. As Jay Richards has argued capitalism is the solution not the problem. If we took serious a view of human liberty we would recognize that when people are allowed to be free they are allowed to work and determine for themselves what flourishing looks like. This view of human liberty logically carried out brings about what has become known as a capitalist system of economics. Reductions in human liberty tend to lead to the corruption of a thriving economy not stabilization as history has shown. What Winston Churchill said of democracy as a form of government we might say of capitalism as system of human interaction and economics, 'its the worst system there is except for all the others that have been tried.'

At the end of the day, we have more that we have been blessed by common grace in this realm then we have been cursed by man's greed and perversion of economic interaction.

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