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Decent Work: Implications for Equality and Social Justice

on Sunday, 11 December 2016. Posted in Issue 79 Justice in the Global Economy, Poverty & Inequality, Economics

James Wickham

pdfDecent Work: Implications for Equality and Social Justice

Introduction
The idea that any job is better than no job is increasingly debatable, and the assumptions that have guided employment policy for decades no longer hold.

There is not much point in wanting to return to a golden past of straightforwardly good jobs, perhaps in the 1960s and 1970s, because they never existed. However, while in many ways work has got better, there has been a crucial deterioration in other aspects of work. Firstly, the very types of jobs that are being created are now part of a process of growing inequality. Secondly, much employment is insecure and precarious, and this means that many of the reasons why employment was seen as desirable are simply not valid anymore.

Justice in the Global Economy: What It Means for Earth-Care

on Sunday, 11 December 2016. Posted in Issue 79 Justice in the Global Economy, Environment, Economics, Current

Catherine Devitt

pdfJustice in the Global Economy: What It Means for Earth-Care

Introduction
The Report, Justice in the Global Economy, highlights the inter-relationship between environmental justice and economic justice. It points out that ‘the rate of extraction of natural resources cannot be sustained’ and warns that if consumption continues at the current pace ‘we face severe menaces to both ecological stability and human well-being’. It notes also that: ‘The harmful consequences of over-use and misuse of resources are ... unequally distributed’.1 

Justice in the Global Economy: A Theological Reflection

on Friday, 09 December 2016. Posted in Issue 79 Justice in the Global Economy, Economics, Church , Current

Gerry O’Hanlon SJ

PdfIconJustice in the Global Economy: A Theological Reflection

Introduction
Justice in the Global Economy is a concise account of the crisis which humanity is currently facing: ‘We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental’ (Laudato Si’, § 139). Of particular interest is the recommendation that Jesuits and colleagues have direct engagement with poorer communities and, in particular, that we turn ‘our institutions into instruments for economic justice’.1 The latter is spelled out in terms of harnessing research resources and advancing knowledge in favour of poorer people, networking to focus on policy issues, lobbying in this direction, and realising the potential of our professional schools in faculty, students and alumni to bring about changes to the status quo.2

Reflections from an Ignatian Educational Perspective

on Thursday, 08 December 2016. Posted in Issue 79 Justice in the Global Economy, Economics

Brian Flannery

PdfIconReflections from an Ignatian Educational Perspective

Introduction
The Report, Justice in the Global Economy, is a call to action. Whilst it combines the clarity and scholarship of an academic paper, its underlying tone conveys urgency. The Report calls on all of us in Jesuit works to wake up to the realities that humankind is facing and asks that as individuals, organisations, and institutions we turn our attention and energy to addressing these global challenges immediately.

This study and the urgency of its message is clearly stimulated by various statements of Pope Francis who is quoted as calling on all Christians to fight against ‘an economy that kills’ and to address ‘the structural causes of inequality’.1 The Pope sees humankind as being at a pivotal point in history where, despite economic advancements, sizeable parts of the world’s population are excluded from economic prosperity, are socially isolated and live in poverty.

Unemployment and the European Union

on Wednesday, 14 May 2014. Posted in Issue 74 Issues for the New EU Parliament?, Poverty & Inequality, Economics

unemploymentSpain's unemployment at hightest level since 1960s © iStockIntroductionIn 2013, unemployment in Germany, at 5.3 per cent, was at its lowest level since reunification. In the same year, Spain’s unemployment rate, 26.4 per cent, was at its highest level since at least the 1960s, before which reliable statistics are more difficult to come by. Austrian unemployment is also low at 4.9 per cent, and though Ireland’s nearest neighbour, the UK, has unemployment of 7.6 per cent this is simply on a par with previous recessions, such as during the early to mid 1990s.1

The Meaning of Dublin's Great Lockout 1913

on Friday, 14 March 2014. Posted in Issue 73 The Rights of Workers – Then and Now, Poverty & Inequality, Economics

Brendan Mac Partlin SJ

lockout-web
Food parcel docket, 1913.
Courtesy of B. MacPartlin SJ

Every person has a right to purposeful activity and a living income. The people of central Dublin were deprived of these rights when they were locked out of work with little or no income for four months in 1913. In remembering this tragic event I will try to situate it in a context of labour relations. Although the past is a foreign country, the core issues of the dispute remain and are being played out at a global level. The exclusion of the people of central Dublin in 1913 is a case that might throw light on the exclusion of vast numbers of people in today’s world and suggest pathways towards sustainable relations.

What Next for Social Enterprise in Ireland?

on Friday, 14 March 2014. Posted in Issue 73 The Rights of Workers – Then and Now, Poverty & Inequality, Economics

 Gerard Doyle and Tanya Lalor

Introduction

AlternativeEnerg

Wind and solar enegy farm.       © iStock Photo

Since the 1990s, the concept of ‘social enterprise’ has gained momentum throughout Europe as a mechanism of addressing unmet community needs,1 providing employment, and stimulating local economic activity. Social enterprises have their origins in the co-operative and self-help sectors, and often strive to ensure local communities have a degree of economic self-determination. Social enterprises are part of the ‘social economy’ or the ‘third sector’ which includes an array of community and voluntary organisations. Some social enterprises are involved primarily in trading or enterprise activity, bringing a product or service to a market, but differing from a private enterprise in that any profit accruing is directed to the benefit of the community.

Restoring the Fabric of Irish Economic and Social Life – A Theological Reflection (Part Two)

on Wednesday, 12 March 2014. Posted in Issue 73 The Rights of Workers – Then and Now, Economics, Church

Gerry O'Hanlon SJ

For Part One of this article click here.

Introduction

In Part One of this article,1 I discussed some of the core features of the currently dominant economic model and the part they played in bringing about our prolonged economic crisis. In particular, I raised questions regarding the overarching role accorded to ‘the market’ and the increase in the size and reach of the financial sector; the growth in inequality in incomes and wealth; and the underlying assumption that ‘growth is good’. I suggested, in Part One, that there is need to construct a ‘redemption narrative’ which can offer ‘vision and hope, galvanising our society towards effective action’. In this second part, I will look at the socio-cultural, political and theological resources which might contribute to that process.

Ethical Finance

on Thursday, 18 April 2013. Posted in Issue 71 Waiting for Asylum Decisions, Economics

 

Investment not just a matter of financial risk and reward © iStock
Investment not just a matter of financial
risk and reward                           © iStock

Introduction

Many Christians in Ireland, either individually or as members of organisations, have long been campaigning for greater justice and transparency in economic and financial activity. During the ‘boom’ times they may well have felt like the biblical voice crying out in the wilderness; today, however, in the wake of successive financial scandals, discussion of ‘ethical finance’ has gained new momentum and immediacy.

Prior to the global financial crisis, if you were to ask people in Ireland what they understood by ethical finance, it is likely that most responses would have made reference to the need to protect vulnerable communities in the developing world. Now the devastating consequences of unethical financial practices have been experienced in a very real way much closer to home. As a result, we have seen rising public demand for radical reform aimed at ensuring that the financial sector serves the interests of society, and not the other way round.

European Monetary Union in Historical Perspective

on Wednesday, 11 July 2012. Posted in Issue 69 The Future of the Euro, Economics

Introduction

Economic historians are well used to writing essays on historical parallels with current economic problems, and drawing lessons from the past. In the case of European Monetary Union (EMU), however, there are no historical precedents. To be sure, we have examples of currency unions that have broken up, but these unions typically existed in the context of multinational empires, such as the Soviet Union. When the empires collapsed, so did the currency unions, and it is not surprising that they did so in circumstances of conflict and economic chaos. To ascribe these conditions to the collapse of the currency unions involved, rather than to the breakup of the empires themselves, as some banking analysts have recently done, is clearly unconvincing.1

 

Where Do We Want the Euro to be in 2020 and How Do We Get There?

on Wednesday, 11 July 2012. Posted in Issue 69 The Future of the Euro, Economics

Great Expectations

European Monetary Union (EMU) was supposed to be a harbinger of growth and stability for its member states, yet the euro zone debt crisis is now in its fourth year and continues to rumble on, in a seemingly endless cycle of crises, summits and false dawns. The currency union creaks under the deficiencies of the euro zone’s fundamentally flawed design, while its survival and capacity to prosper depend on its ability to fix these design flaws. The stakes are high.

The Social Impact of the Economic Crisis in Europe

on Wednesday, 11 July 2012. Posted in Issue 69 The Future of the Euro, International Issues, Economics

Introduction
What is happening in Greece is dramatic; the IMF/EU plan for saving the country is destroying the country; the Greek people are more aware than a year ago that the remedy is killing the patient. It is destroying any kind of solidarity at European level. It can happen to Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Belgium. The question is not about our public sector or our corrupt government or about the Greeks that are lazy … The question [is] is the IMF changing the actual character of our European social model [?] ... there is impoverishment of our middle class, a return to the countryside, and emigration of our youth. There is a support network at neighbourhood and village level, because public sector formal social support networks have collapsed … People day by day are not any more fighting poverty; they are fighting for survival.1                                                                                                       EAPN Greece

 

The Implosion of Solidarity: A Critique of the Euro Zone Crisis

on Wednesday, 11 July 2012. Posted in Issue 69 The Future of the Euro, Economics

Introduction
The post-2007 global financial crisis was, fundamentally, an ethical crisis.1 This crisis and its aftermath presented in a distinctive way within the euro zone. What distinguishes the euro zone crisis has been the collapse of ‘solidarity’, considered both as a social virtue and as an integral part of the Schumann–Monnet model of a new European order, a renewal of Europe from the ashes of World War II. Unless and until the true meaning of solidarity is rediscovered and reanimated within the political leadership of the EU, there is unlikely to be economic stabilisation and recovery. In other words, a failure to move the Franco–German dominant consensus away from the hegemony established in the wake of the euro zone crisis, and towards a rediscovery of solidarity, will result in the serious risk of the ‘Balkanisation’ of Europe within a generation.

Buying a House – Is the Buyer Protected? Some Reflections from a Legal Perspective

on Thursday, 15 December 2011. Posted in Issue 68 After the Housing Bubble, Housing Policy, Economics

Introduction

Consumer law covers most of the products we buy today. We presume that what we buy is regulated by certain minimum standards. Furniture must meet some minimum health and safety requirements. Electrical goods must work, must not be a danger to the consumer, and must last a minimum period. Cars must meet mechanical, electrical, design and other minimum standards. Several laws and regulations govern the manufacture, transport and sale of goods. Most of the time, the goods we purchase ‘work’: the chair does not collapse, the kettle boils, and the car stays on the road. However, if faults are discovered, purchasers can, and do, return to the shop with the defective goods and so it is not unusual for kettles, shoes, and even cars to be exchanged.