I began to look for guidance from the Holy Spirit and pray that Jesus Christ, as the Way, the Truth the Life and as Light of the world would help me to have a vision for retaining the benefits of capitalism, and the principles of fairness sought after by communism.
I am on the look-out for organisations that already work hard for fairness for the powerless as in ethical trading and a fairer distribution of wealth. With The Lord Jesus Christ as Project Manager there will be room for grace, forgiveness and a chance to confess one's part in the process of acquiescence to exploitation. That Jesus Christ is in charge of all the world's resources means we can have luxury items, enough to eat, drink and entertain us.
Just as the World Health Organisation has a definition of health as being more than absence of illness, so we can arrive at a definition of sustainability for humans – we could even get scientific about calorie intake needed for different body types at different ages. (This was the basis of rationing in World War II).
Permaculture addresses sustainability in housing using Hebbel bricks, the technology to turn wind power in to electricity to be stored in batteries, water recycling through a healthy septic tank, simple gardening techniques of crop rotation etc. This could be done on the principle of "small scale on a large scale" as mentioned in the book "Ancient Futures" by the linguist meaning it is available to every-one.
What is stopping us? What always stops justice and mercy? sin: fear, greed and indifference.
Let' not have a Luddite mentality, but let us just make sure that we don't have our luxury items at any price. The BBC television series "Blood Sweat and Luxuries" revealed that in order to get the components of MP3 players manufactured at a competitive price, the employees had to undergo rigorous decontamination, sit very still and do intricate hand work.
The small vacuum cleaner illustrates the matter
One story I've learned about is that for the women to get to the factory for an eight hour shift, they had to catch a bus at 3.00am. Often they were separated from their children and they sent the bulk of their wages back to their villages. Their day to day life was component making, domestic chores of washing and meal cooking and sleeping.
My day was intending to buy a small vacuum cleaner, I was told that the female workforce was sourced from villages, sterilised, sent to the factories until their eyesight had deteriorated and then returned to the villages.
What can we do? For a start be horrified. After the Industrial Revolution Unions and responsible Industrialists fought hard for a fair day's pay for a fair day's work, a 40 hour week, equal pay, safety in the workplace – let us not retreat from that.
But what about those who have a vested interest in perpetuating exploitation? The forgiveness of Christ is available to them with out guilt-mongering. God will provide for their individual needs and He will grant them fulfilled lives. Let us keep supporting trade aid, but let us not shrink from tackling the giants. Satan has strongholds in trade and industry, there are ungodly principalities influencing management practices.
However, The Bible has an economic template for cancelling debt every fifty years, it suggests freehold property for families, it builds in rest days in a seven day cycle and holidays during the course of the year. It proposes full employment, with people working with their gifting so they have job satisfaction.
Jesus Christ has already dealt with the power of sin in the form of greed, envy, apathy at Calvary. He is Providence who supplies all our needs, He loves mercy and justice. He has dismantled the power of the devil so He will assist us in the battle for fair conditions of employment. Of course it won't be easy, but do we in the West need any more tee shirts?
Richard Arbon is an engineering student, a Northern Territory cricketer and is developing a Christian fellowship for like minded sportsmen and women in Darwin.
Richard Arbon's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/richard-arbon.html