Monday, 10 February 2014

Economic lessons from the sixties, still true today

Two quotes from great men speaking in the 1960s about economic injustice. Both could have been written today. Have we come so short a distance in almost 50 years?

Here's Martin Luther King, in a sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, on 4 July 1965:
This is why we must join the war against poverty and believe in the dignity of all work. What makes a job menial? I’m tired of this stuff about menial labor. What makes it menial is that we don’t pay folk anything. Give somebody a job and pay them some money so they can live and educate their children and buy a home and have the basic necessities of life. And no matter what the job is it takes on dignity.
And George Macleod, founder of the Iona Community, talking to the Church of Scotland's General Assembly in 1968:
By all means let [them] call on the people of Britain to work hard to make sacrifices. But youth will increasingly ask: ‘For whom the work, and for whom the sacrifices?’ Is the whole world of global labour just to go on doing just that for the benefit of indifferent Mammon? It is urgent that the whole issue of international monetary finance be independently reviewed.

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