Dignity and Independence

“No religion can propose precise policies for the alleviation of hunger and disease. What it can do, and must, is to inspire us collectively with a vision of human solidarity and with concepts, such as tzedakah within the Jewish tradition and its counterparts in other faiths, that serve as a broad moral template for what constitutes a fair and decent world. Globalisation, writes Zygmunt Bauman, ‘divides as much as it unites . . . signalling a new freedom for some, upon many others it descends as an uninvited and cruel fate.’ There can be no doubt that more – much more – of the economic surplus of advanced economies should be invested in developing countries to help eradicate extremes of poverty and hunger, ensure universal education, combat treatable disease, reduce infant mortality, improve work conditions and reconstruct failing economies. As with tzedakah, the aim should be to restore dignity and independence to nations as well as individuals. This has now become an urgent imperative. The globalisation of communications, trade and culture, globalises human responsibility likewise. The freedom of the few may not be purchased at the price of the enslavement of the many to poverty, ignorance and disease.”

The Dignity of Difference, p. 107