Issue 40 An Ethic for the Third Millennium

Whose Business is Business?

on Saturday, 05 July 2003. Posted in Issue 40 An Ethic for the Third Millennium, 2001

Seamus O\'Gorman, SJ

June 2001

Business – An Uneasy Success Story

Given the amazing and lasting ‘success’ of the Irish economy over the last number of years, it is striking to note what a strong sense of unease there is in Irish society. At one level, the first year of the new millennium has been characterised by an almost irrational but niggling fear that much of what we have achieved could quite suddenly  turn to dust. Will we wake up and see the cranes have disappeared? Will we discover that the miracle epitomized in the potential  of the world wide web has turned out to be more one of its deceit rather than of its lasting contribution to real wealth creation? Will a contemptuously disregarded environment strike back? There are also indications of a deeper fear, the fear that all we have achieved may not have been very much anyhow.  That this feeling lingers is remarkable given the extraordinary change in our economic well-being perhaps most notably in relation to jobs and emigration. For all those real achievements, there is little evidence to suggest that we have become a happier, a  more content or more fulfilled people. As recent industrial action indicates there are significant sections of people convinced that they have not received an adequate share of the boom.  Others - the sick, the excluded - can equally wonder why the boom makes so little difference to them.  Could it be that we have been so enthralled by the experience of riding the Celtic Tiger that we have missed its meaning?

Ethics, Compassion and Self-Deceit

Written by Peter McVerry SJ on Saturday, 05 July 2003. Posted in Issue 40 An Ethic for the Third Millennium, 2001

Peter McVerry, SJ

June 2001

Introduction

There is a homeless person sitting in the street, begging.  Passing by, I wonder whether to give him money or not.   On the one hand, I feel sorry for him, no place to go, hungry, cold, bored.  On the other hand, maybe he isn’t really homeless, or even if he is, maybe he wants money for drugs or alcohol and I may actually be making his situation worse by giving him money.   It’s all very confusing.

In the Millennium, a sustained campaign was waged to abolish or reduce the debt owed by the poorest Third World countries, who were being crippled by the interest they had to pay on loans they had received from the economically developed world.  The campaigners argued that this repayment was preventing health and education programmes from being funded and was therefore costing lives and preventing development.   Others argued that corruption was so extensive in many of these countries and spending on arms and military so high that to simply cancel the debt would make their ruling elites even wealthier, their armies even better equipped and increase the oppression and suffering of the people, not reduce it.   It’s all very confusing.

An Ethic for the Third Millennium

Written by Bill Toner SJ on Saturday, 05 July 2003. Posted in Issue 40 An Ethic for the Third Millennium, 2001

Bill Toner, SJ

June 2001

Bill Toner, S.J. is the director of the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice

Introduction

Culture is very fragile.  A society or group can live for hundreds of years in a particular way that holds the group together, ensures their survival, and gives meaning to their lives. Then something unexpected can happen, such as an invasion, or a new invention.  The culture may be enriched or transformed by these events, but it can also fall apart.   In this article I propose to examine in more detail the role of values during this process of transformation, with particular reference to our own culture on the island of Ireland.

Issues Before 1997

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