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Testimony : John Woolman on today's global…

Testimony : John Woolman on today's global economy

by David E. Morse

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What's a Quaker to do about globalization? Morse does not actually answer this question, but he does say that we certainly should be doing something. He points out a number of outrageous abuses and harms of the global expansion of unregulated corporate capitalism as of c. 2000, and points out that they are a result of the way this system is working. His point however is that recognizing and engaging with this phenomenon and acting on our concerns are part of our spiritual journey, much as it was for John Woolman who acted on his concerns about the exploitive aspects of the economy and society of his day. Even though we feel overwhelmed and helpless when faced with the systemic nature of the problem, we, as Woolman did, need to figure out ways to say no to the evils, to resist them and educate about them. Faithfulness to the Spirit is both the purpose and the method; thus we reduce our complicity and are able to speak authentically to others about our concerns.
Recognizing we are not alone in this work and resistance, as Woolman was not alone, is crucial. But how, he asks, do I overcome my own feelings of inadequacy, and apathy, and timidity? His answer is to listen, to be sensitive to the leadings of the Spirit, as Woolman was, and to act faithfully on them.
Morse reviews how John Woolman lived his testimonies in the 18th century, against slavery, for peace and simple living, against unnecessary wealth and luxury. He was very concerned about poverty and overworked and mistreated workers and animals. Woolman perceived the complex international economy of which slavery was just one part. He saw that he himself was complicit and that the task of rooting out the evil began first with his own heart and actions.
While Morse condemns the evils of the current globalization process, this pamphlet is not an analysis of it. Rather, Morse invites us to follow Woolman's example, see the reality of the global economic system and the suffering it produces, discover the spiritual reality of it, engage with this and let it transform us. Then we will take the first steps of refusal. Compassion and a love of truth will drive us on, as they did Woolman.
The organization of this pamphlet could be a little clearer, but it is generally well written. While the examples are somewhat dated, the challenge and the path are still there. ( )
  QuakerReviews | Nov 20, 2015 |
Consideration of the effects of globalization on the poor, as seen through the perspectives offered by John Woolman. ( )
  strawberrycreekmtg | Jan 27, 2013 |
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