Frankly, and I say this unapologetically, Americans, like their European counterparts and the citizens of a handful of other highly-developed countries, are the spoiled children of the world. The analogy to children is apropos because our nation and culture are barely moving out of the toddler stage even now by comparison to nations and cultures that have been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
The spoiled part is evident by the level of unconscious entitlement to which we have risen collectively. There are specific issues, like tariffs on imported peanut butter that protect a very small portion of our population, the peanut farmers. At the same time, we are prohibiting global peanut farmers from being able to sell their peanuts on the global market as well, since we push our global partnering nations to buy our products there as well. So, because we can, given the political and economic power that we have, especially through global financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, we force some of the global poor to either 1) be poorer, or 2) try like the dickens to find some other way to survive.
By the way, this backfires in our own backyard since those same tariffs force American citizens to pay a much higher price for peanut butter than what it would cost if we actually took part in a level global playing field. And it really backfires when we consider it is a government mechanism (import tariff) that pushed those higher prices onto lower income families in the United States since they are far and away the largest consumer block buying peanut butter in this country. It also exacerbates the drain on our food stamp programs since peanut butter is a staple for lower income families.
Okay, so that’s one example. Trust me, the United States, much like it does militarily, bullies small nations economically through trade negotiations in many, many more ways, just so we can maintain our lifestyle while neglecting investment in the world’s poor. What is saddest is that we have become so shortsighted as to not understand that investing in the global poor, either directly, with capital funding, or indirectly, by lowering trade barriers between the United States and poorer nations, will benefit us all as, to borrow the rising tide analogy, all boats will rise together.
I guess that brings me back to the child analogy since we are, as a population, largely ignorant of what our own government and trade associations foist on the rest of the world. We also choose to turn a blind eye to the plight of the global poor. We need to grow up, and especially so if we call ourselves Christian and still think we should grant our government carte blanche to treat the marginalized around the world in ways that benefit us while robbing them. Read about the King of Tyre and the unrighteousness of his commerce sometime in Ezekiel 28. And keep reading long enough to see the judgment God decreed against him, effectively equating him to the fallen Luciferian character by calling him the “anointed cherub” (v. 14) “in Eden” (v. 13) bearing “the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (v. 12).
As anyone who has visited this site and read more than an essay or two will know, I am an open market advocate. But I will not support crony corporatism (and the politicians that it has purchased along the way) or ignore the abuses of mega-corps like Monsanto. For an eye-opening look into the impact of that one company’s impact, rent ($1.99) or buy ($5.99) the documentary, “Behind the Label,” from Amazon. Central India has experienced about a quarter million farmer suicides since 2000 and Monsanto has been an evident contributor to the financial burdens that pushes them to abandon their wives and children and life itself.
The Bible speaks more to the issue of economic justice than any other in its considerations of and God’s heart for the poor. We as a nation have taken it upon ourselves to wallow in our wealth (currently representing about 22% of global GDP but only about 4½% of global population) while ignoring the plight of others. We have achieved much of our growth by leveraging our economic strength to retain access to resources, especially oil, vital to our growth and maintenance, at the expense of the general populous of many oil-producing nations. We have poured our money into the hands of autocratic leaders in those nations then wonder why the citizenry dislikes us. It is the plight of the bully to be an ignoramus, not knowing what he is doing.
Economic injustice was an enormous failing of Israel repeatedly and the abuse of the poor was the meat of the prophets’ enduring admonitions and laments. We will answer for our own neglect and abuse of the poor.