Money Can’t Buy Humanity: Resisting the Capitalist Destruction of the Human Family
During the afternoon of our first day of the Biennial Conference, we were fortunate to hear from internationally famous German theologian, Eugen Drewermann in his keynote address titled “Money Can’t Buy Humanity: Resisting the Capitalist Destruction of The Human Family”.
Communicating through two German translators during the question and answer portion of Drewermann’s session, the first audience member stood in front of the microphone to ask his question. “I agree with much of what you had to say regarding the downfalls of capitalism; however, what do you propose we should put in its place?” Waiting for Drewermann to answer, this Indianapolis community member echoed a question that seemed at the forefront of the minds of many who had just heard Drewermann speak on the horrific wealth inequalities that result from capitalist economic systems. Drewermann, who is known around the world as an activist for peace – who has even co-authored a book with the Dalai Lama – is a passionate critic of capitalism; however, it is hard for many people in America to imagine any other economic system. Throughout his lecture Drewermann offered alternative economic models, which proposed things like treating the value of money as temporary, or deemphasizing the importance of debt and interest, similar to economic models developed by German economist Silvio Gesell.
Drewermann, who has been hailed as the ‘New Martin Luther’ is critical of how capitalism has been implemented in both American society and on a global scale for being the source of wealth inequality and poverty between groups of people and entire countries. A central theme in Christian Liberation theology, Drewermann explained capitalism as being at the root of many issues that result in poverty in a way that few Americans have been exposed to regarding our own economic system; however, now more than ever it seems as though many people in America have to suffer living under the poverty line so a few individuals can accrue massive amounts of wealth.
Furthermore, Drewermann is critical of corporations as being amoral within a capitalist structure, because they are constantly encouraged to look for ways to cut costs for the worker in order to benefit a few people at the top. Many members of the DTC Conference audience seemed to agree with Drewermann’s points; however, it is hard to find a solution or an alternative economic system that can be implemented to replace capitalism and the current structure of the world market. Communism, an alternative economic system, has seen little success when implemented in other countries and is a negatively associated word within the American context. As mentioned above, Drewermann brought light to alternative economic models, which deemphasize the role of debt and interest in a manner that would aim to alleviate poverty and suffering to create a more peaceful society. Drewermann continually emphasized it is crucial to try to reduce poverty and suffering in order to create a more peaceful society. Drewermann’s address certainly challenged many in the audience to think of how the economy they participate in can exploit both the workers engaged in it and the world around us in general.
By: Caroline Whang
Partner: Grace Unlimited