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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Village Economics

As the world economy seems on the verge of crumbling, I think of the statement by Jesus that “The meek shall inherit the earth.” This is usually taken as a bit of hyperbole, as just the observations that kingdoms may rise and fall, but the poor shall abide through all the power changes – or that the greedy will go to hell, but the poor will be worthy of entering heaven.

However I am starting to wonder that Jesus might have meant this in a directly literal sense – that the meek, the poor, shall literally inherit the earth.

For those whose lives are all about money and the power over it, a worldwide economic meltdown will be a disaster. As North America and Europe and Japan become increasingly ruined by pollution, radiation, and crime on every level from the street corner to the government, those who live by money will be rendered increasingly vulnerable. The Nehiyawok (Cree) people put it well: “When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover that you cannot eat money.”

People in the highly industrialized lands of the world, the rich countries, are generally at a far remove from the basic necessities of life. The food they eat goes from farm to shipper to wholesaler to packager to another shipper to distributor to retailer. The farms on which they rely are disappearing at an alarming rate. The water they drink comes through conduits often from sources hundreds of miles away. The homes they live in were built with materials trucked in from a great distance – and, if they lose these homes, there is nothing nearby from which they can construct a new home, nor do they know how to do so, except by paying a company to put it up.

But here in Panamá it’s different.

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