Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone is not enough to produce widely shared prosperity.
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a synopsis of Robert V. Andelson and James M. Dawsey: From Wasteland to Promised land: Liberation Theology for a Post-Marxist World
All of us, no less than the Hebrews in Egypt, are captives of structures imposed upon us. To enslave people, today as three thousand years ago, is to rob them of the value of their labor. Millions of working people living in severe poverty are robbed of the fruits of their labor. Through various forms of exploitation, especially the monopolization of land rights, large segments of humanity are oppressed, dehumanized, held in bondage. One factor enabling governments to legalize land theft and lend respectability to exploitative landlordism is the general silence of religious and intellectual leaders about humanity's common rights to land.

We begin to penetrate and overcome this silence when we realize that the Wasteland is wasted land, unfulfilled potential, producing no "milk and honey." Speculators in both urban and rural areas hoard land on which the hungry, the homeless, and the jobless could feed, shelter, and employ themselves. Keeping valuable lands idle causes artificial shortages that drive up rents which poor people must pay for poor land. Land hoarding deserves much of the blame for creating the Wasteland: it forces people into the "desert." There, people find the oases controlled by more land monopolists who must be paid a ransom for access to nature's life-sustaining water. And as we will see, the primary focus of Biblical economic laws was the prevention of precisely this sort of usurpation of God's gifts to all creatures. Read the whole synopsis

Henry George: Thou Shalt Not Steal

"Thou shalt not steal"; that is the law of God. What does it mean? Well, it does not merely mean that you shall not pick pockets! It does not merely mean that you shall not commit burglary or highway robbery! There are other forms of stealing which it prohibits as well. It certainly means (if it has any meaning) that we shall not take that to which we are not entitled, to the detriment of others.

Now, here is a desert. Here is a caravan going along over the desert. Here is a gang of robbers. They say: "Look! There is a rich caravan; let us go and rob it, kill the men if necessary, take their goods from them, their camels and horses, and walk off." But one of the robbers says:  "Oh, no; that is dangerous; besides, that would be stealing! Let us, instead of doing that, go ahead to where there is a spring, the only spring at which this caravan can get water in this desert. Let us put a wall around it and call it ours, and when they come up we won’t let them have any water until they have given us all the goods they have." That would be more gentlemanly, more polite, and more respectable; but would it not be theft all the same? And is it not theft of the same kind when people go ahead in advance of population and get land they have no use whatever for, and then, as people come into the world and population increases, will not let this increasing population use the land until they pay an exorbitant price?

That is the sort of theft on which our first families are founded. Do that under the false code of morality which exists here today and people will praise your forethought and your enterprise, and will say you have made money because you are a very superior person, and that all can make money if they will only work and be industrious! But is it not as clearly a violation of the command: "Thou shalt not steal," as taking the money out of a person’s pocket?

"Thou shalt not steal." That means, of course, that we ourselves must not steal. But does it not also mean that we must not suffer anybody else to steal if we can help it?

"Thou shalt not steal." Does it not also mean: "Thou shalt not suffer thyself or anybody else to be stolen from?" If it does, then we, all of us, rich and poor alike, are responsible for this social crime that produces poverty. Not merely the people who monopolize the land — they are not to blame above anyone else, but we who permit them to monopolize land are also parties to the theft.

The Christianity that ignores this social responsibility has really forgotten the teachings of Christ. ... read the whole speech

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Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone hasn't yet led to a society in which all can prosper