How can we live in the United States, one of the most prosperous societies on earth, and leave people behind so they depend on sporadic, charitable support for something as basic as food?
Where would we like our society to move in the future? Is it to move toward further inequality and economic and social deprivation, or to greater equality and the benefits that brings?
What does this all mean?
So we will begin exploring what this means in a series of brief articles that will look at the challenge presented by growing inequality in our society, the causes and implications of that growing inequality and steps that we and socially responsible organizations can take to address this concern.
We offer this, mindful of the Native American tale Joan Chittister recounts in Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope. She writes of an elder speaking about tragedy saying, “I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one.” And on being asked, “But which wolf will win the fight in your heart?” she replies, “It depends on which one I feed.” We hope that we feed the loving, compassionate one.
About the Author, Ron Elsdon
a member of Peace
Ron Elsdon is a founder of Elsdon, Inc., Elsdon Organizational Renewal and New Beginnings Career and College Guidance. He specializes in the workforce and career fields, and is active in speaking, writing about, and promoting social justice causes. Ron also has more than 25 years of leadership experience at diverse organizations in a broad range of sectors, and has been an adjunct faculty member at, or affiliated with, several universities. He is author of the forthcoming How to Build a Nontraditional Career Path: Embracing Economic Disruption, editor of Business Behaving Well: Social Responsibility, from Learning to Doing, editor of Building Workforce Strength: Creating Value through Workforce and Career Development, and author of Affiliation in the Workplace: Value Creation in the New Organization. He holds a PhD from Cambridge University and lives in Danville, California.
Economic Justice—Organizations and Resources
Bay Area Organizations –
- California Food Policy Alliance – http://cfpa.net/
- Restaurant Opportunities Center – http://rocunited.org/
- East Bay Alliance for A Sustainable Economy – http://www.workingeastbay.org/; one of EBASE’s programs is the Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy (FAME) http://www.workingeastbay.org/the-rebirth-of-icwj
- Contra Costa Interfaith Coalition Voices On Poverty – http://www.temple-isaiah.org/get-involved/voices-on-poverty/
- California Partnership – http://www.california-partnership.org/
- Catholic Charities of the East Bay – http://www.cceb.org/
- Inequality for All web site (including discussion guide) – http://inequalityforall.com/resources-and-partners/
- Video – Confronting Suburban Poverty in Contra Costa County – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHZZ6fKJG3Y
- Video on Hunger in America – A Place At the Table – http://www.magpictures.com/aplaceatthetable/
- Video on Inequality in America – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM.
- Video about how congregations are helping the unemployed – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swhHmvxrmRI
- Video – American Winter – those continuing to struggle in our unrecovered economy; http://www.americanwinterfilm.com/
Books and more –
- Confronting Suburban Poverty – http://confrontingsuburbanpoverty.org/
- Beyond Outrage by Robert Reich
- Report by PolicyLink and Center for American Progress, “All In Nation,” showing that we can’t prosper as a nation unless communities of color and other communities left behind prosper. Promotes the value of all of us being in this together – http://allinnation.org/.
- 99 to 1 – How Wealth Inequality Is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It by Chuck Collins
- Nickled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
- David Cay Johnston, ed., Divided – The Perils of Our Growing Inequality
- The Great Divergence—America’s Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It by Timothy Noah
- Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class by Ian Haney-López (see http://www.law.berkeley.edu/16485.htm)
- People Like Us – a PBS series on social class with teacher’s guide – http://www.pbs.org/peoplelikeus/
- The Economics of Good and Evil—The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street by Tomas Sedlacek
- Agenda for a New Economy by David Korten
- American Beyond Capitalism—Reclaiming our Wealth, our Liberty, and our Democracy by Gar Alperovitz
- Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home by Anita Hill
- Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes by Chuck Collins and William H. Gass
- Bridging the Class Divide: And Other Lessons for Grassroots Organizing by Linda Stout
- “They Take Our Jobs!”: And 20 Other Myths About Immigration by Aviva Chomsky
- Ron Elsdon, ed., Business Behaving Well: Social Responsibility, from Learning to Doing
- Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Divided We Fall: Business Behaving Well highlights the extent of growing inequality in the United States. The egalitarian society that was the ideal and preserve of our ancestors does not exist today in the United States. Rather we have created a society that benefits the wealthy and powerful at the expense of everyone else.
A recent article Ron wrote for the National Career Development Association’s (NCDA) on-line magazine Career Convergence about volunteer career services in a prison. This volunteer work is on-going. Link here for the article