Karen House Catholic Worker
The Global Economy
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Saint Louis, MO 63106
Why This Issue:
While many people in the U.S. and in Saint Louis are now rightly concerned about terrorism and how to respond to it, it seems to me that this issue's focus on the global economy retains a crucial importance.
I have heard many people speak of us Americans as living in "a bubble," that is, until September 11th. Many of us are now doing crash courses in Islam, U.S. policy in the Middle East, and the varieties of terrorism. All this is to the good, if we realize the vast power and influence the U.S. government and our corporations wield all over the world. Hence, the continued relevance of the global economy in the changed political landscape since September. We must find ways to educate others and ourselves about the growing disparity between rich and poor, which is a result of these global economic decisions and arrangements.
In this issue, Teka Childress retrieves some of the teachings and resources of the Catholic Worker Movement which can help us in responding creatively to the many local, national, and global issues we face. Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day articulated a vision and championed specific practices that can be an energizing alternative to the American lifestyle of materialism and consumption. Mary Ann McGovern reflects on how the global economy has affected Saint Louis jobs and manufacturing. As in so many pressing issues, it's not that we lack solutions or even money; it's a matter of political will. Genevieve Cassani offers a helpful guide to the powers of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, which can go so far as to privatize water. Suzanne Renard examines many issues related to the globalization of the economy, from the domination by transnational corporations to the costs of the car culture. Finally, Sarah Heyman profiles the courageous resistance of Rodolfo Montiel to the destruction of Mexican forests . Michelle Born, Tony Hilkin, Mary AnnMcGivem and Barb Prosser round out the issue with our regular columns.
Two quotations summarize the challenges we face. First, from an Argentinean businessman Enrique Pescamorna: "Asians work twenty hours a day for eighty dollars a month. If I want to compete, I have to turn to them. It's a globalized world. The Filipino girls in our offices in Hong Kong are always willing. There are no Saturdays or Sundays. If they have to work several days straight without sleeping, they do it, and they don't get overtime and don't ask for a thing." Second, from Saint Augustine: "Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage: anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are."
- Mark Chmiel
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