Jesus said it would be hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. But that’s the billionaires, right, surely not us?
DJ, ever the statistician and who has lived in third world countries for extended periods, crunches the income numbers worldwide and finds that, well, if you’re reading this blog, you’re unquestionably part of a tiny global elite in terms of income.
If your household wealth is above $61,000 per adult, if your household income is more than $29,840 per year, if you own a car – you are rich, one of the privileged few in the world. And yes, I am one too.
Ok then, so where’s my mansion and jet????
I’ve seen this type of argument plenty of times, but it fails to consider how power is distributed. We may have more money and consumer goods than most people on this planet, but it’s incredibly naive to then jump to the conclusion that we are also more powerful. Power in this country is very concentrated. John Lennon once spoke of this after he left the Beatles. He said he realized that even with all his money and the ability to produce the things he wanted to produce, he had no access to the real power that controls what gets seen and what gets distributed. I’ve always felt like this kind of statistical exercise is aimed at convincing people that they’re just as bad as the folks who run Goldman Sachs or Coca Cola.
Well put. “Money doesn’t guarantee power but power guarantees money” – Mayor Daley I
It is often argued that even though I live in a system that exploits the poor of other nations to provide me with an unusual level of comfort, *I* don’t exploit anyone and am therefore blameless. Let’s be clear: Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart, Nike and Con-Ag could not survive without our collective complicity. Their leaders are our hired guns, the folks we pay to do our dirty work so we don’t have to.
The rich young ruler in Luke 18 didn’t have that kind of power either, but he was rich enough to lose the kingdom of heaven. Baby, you’re a rich man too.