The people who have enough to eat in this world, either produce food, hunt and gather it, or pay others to provide it. In few instances do these people produce meaningful surplus for those who do not have enough to eat. Until well fed care about hungry and starving, there will be no economic justice, only privilege. That is how simple or complex issue is. The minute an individual takes on responsibility to feed her or himself, s/he begins creating low cost surpluses for those unable to do so. It makes sense to grow more plants in a global greenhouse. The more surplus an individual produces, more likely starving people will eat. Economics affect every aspect of life, including spirituality, yet it is least understood of sciences because economics are poorly taught or not taught at all. Most economists have little understanding. That little understanding makes them experts.
The global value system determines economics. That value system is based on scarcity, commonly called law of supply and demand. Thousands of years ago arbiters of value and wealth decided that gold, silver and precious stones were rarest and therefore, most valuable. Of all resources, people were least scarce. So people have least value in this old system. This is foolishness of highest order and creates disposable people. There are few people living today, who cannot in their lifetimes, produce more value than their own weight in gold. Use yourself as an example. Multiply current market price of gold by your body weight. Divide that by a typical productive life of 40 or 50 years. Are you earning more or less than this dollar value each year? Keep in mind most folks are paid less than half their market value or earnings.
The economic system we support undervalues life, because life is not scarce. The corporate world would rather have your weight in gold than you, even if you can produce five times that value. That corporate world might not harvest twenty percent of your lifetime value, unless you support their system. If you do support it, you will probably give them a big cut in your home mortgage or business loans and every paycheck. But they will always treat you as expendable, because your kind is never scarce. If we want to be fairly valued in market place, we must be scarce in that market place. A coming labor shortage will help. Becoming scarce means lifestyle changes people do not want to make. Therefore, people will continue to support system that makes them least valuable commodity in it and be thankful to do so. There is little evil in this world that is not supported by Western lifestyle. As long as we embrace it, there will be no economic justice.
Nowhere on this planet are people more capable of self sufficient living, than in modern West. Yet these people are taught to be dependent on others for very basics of life - wage and salary slaves. Had back-to-the-land movements of 60s and 70s caught on, West would now have great models to share with poor world cultures. New technologies like fuel cells will be ideal for home and neighborhood power systems that will end dependencies on grid supplied electricity and scam artists like Enron.
In West, we pay a dollar for a ten cent loaf of bread, because we are willing to pay other ninety cents to have it at hand when we want it. Much of rest of world can't afford same bread at ten cents a loaf. Who do you suppose bread makers would rather sell to? This means no bread for hungry at any price. If we really want to help rest of world, we make a personal commitment to slash our consumption and increase production. This creates a glut in corporate market and forces prices down. Third world producers will complain because this drives down export prices and makes exporting unprofitable. The focus then must shift away from global trade to local trade and that is a major step toward self sufficiency and economic justice.
I heard a radio report last week that India is doing well in this global recession because ninety percent of their domestic production is sold in domestic markets. Before great corporate marketing chains drove mom and pop operations out of business with their economies of scale, local industry and markets were well understood as markers of economic health. Nothing prevents us from returning to local production and marketing. We can even use global marketing to subsidize transition - transformation.
Food is a good example. The knowledge is now available that allows anyone to produce superior food at less than typical market prices. If I decide to raise food crops on an acre or two, I can also plant high dollar cash crops that can be sold in a nearby city or sent anywhere in world, as a mail order business. The wealthy purchase these valuable crops and provide profits that allow me to obtain more land. I can then expand inexpensively on adjacent land and split crops with owner, or market some on her behalf. I can always expand my local production, marketing and my high dollar global and nearby marketing.
Local production and marketing allows us to hire local labor. The unemployed and under employed get some paid work, free food or both. The idea is to reverse centralization of 20th Century production and marketing, which in turn, decentralizes other aspects of our lives. We save costs of heavy farm machinery, bank loans, transportation, taxes, processing, packaging and pay it out to hand labor instead. We also adopt production methods, such as Square Foot Gardening, which reduce water, fertilizer, land and labor costs by as much as eighty percent. The savings can then be invested in expansion and we can market in nearby communities. We can encourage more small scale production, teaching techniques we have successfully applied in our own production and marketing.