"We hear much today of the many crises we face: the economic crisis, the energy crisis, the social crisis, the educational crisis, the moral crisis, the ecological crisis, the spiritual crisis. In reality all these individual crises are part of a larger crisis of the society we have created over the past four hundred years. This is a global crisis in that this model of society has been transmitted to or imposed on practically the entire globe.
The first visible characteristic of this type of society is that it produces poverty and misery on the one hand and riches and the accumulation of wealth on the other. This phenomenon can be observed globally as well as within each individual country. There are a few rich countries and many poor countries. It is especially obvious within individual countries that a minority benefits from a great abundance of goods (food, health care, education, housing) while the majority lack the elements essential for life and dignity."
"The liberation movements of the oppressed say that this society is not built on life, the common good, participation or solidarity among human beings, but on economy, the powers and instruments that create wealth through the ravaging of nature and the exploitation of human beings. This economy seeks unlimited growth in the shortest possible time with a minimum investment and maximum profit. Those who are able to survive within this dynamic and follow this logic will accumulate capital and become wealthy, but as a result of a permanent process of exploitation."
"The economy is directed by an ideal of development that is encompassed by two infinite quantities: the supply of natural resources and a wide open future of unlimited possibilities. Within this type of growth economy, nature is simply a supply of natural resources, raw material for the satisfaction of human desires. Workers are the human resources necessary to attain a production goal. As described, this vision is instrumentalist and mechanical: people, animals, plants, minerals, in short, all living beings lose their autonomy and intrinsic value. They are reduced to means by which to meet an end that has subjectively established by those human beings who consider themselves to be the centre of the universe and who seek riches and the accumulation of wealth."
Leonardo Boff, "Social Ecology: Poverty and Misery" in Ecotheology: Voices From South and North; 1994
(photography by tiwago)