Consultation : Facing up to Globalisation
Visions - Alternatives - Strategies
`The globalising economy disrupts human relationships and tends to push risk to the individual level.' This was the main message of the conference which under the title `Facing up to Globalisation; Visions - Alternatives - Strategies' met from 2 to 6 March in Celakovice near Prague (Czech Republic). The consultation was organised by the Ecumenical Academy - Prague and the Work and Economy Research Network in the European Churches in conjunction with the Conference of European Churches. It was a follow up of the two previous of consultations organised by the ecumenical movement in Europe in responding to the challenge of globalisation: in Budapest (Hungary) 2001 for churches from central and eastern Europe and in Soesterberg (the Netherlands) 2002 for western Europe.
The 55 participants from all regions of Europe and from churches, local initiatives, universities and social movements were involved in the dialogue about how to face up to the negative aspects of globalisation. The aim was to contribute to the building up of hopeful alternatives rather than repeating well-known critiques. The consultation was focused on exploring of the concerns and looking for alternatives in the areas of:
Food, Agriculture and Rural Life
Work, Income and Time
Social and Economic Rights
Trade Markets: Local and Global Alternatives
Multinational Corporations and Economic Democracy
The globalising economy tends towards `commodification' of more and more aspects of life. It also turns needs into desires - which are insatiable. These two processes create damage to human relationships and lead to an economy that is environmentally destructive and socially unsustainable. Alternatives have to combine the meeting of needs with a strong emphasis on human and social value as opposite to the underlining just market value. With this approach there are resources and know-how which can make a difference.
The search for alternatives to globalisation on the present model has its roots in personal experience. For many people and in many communities, alternatives are growing up. These go beyond the survival strategies adopted in the extreme situations of poverty, hunger and social exclusion of people and communities that are impacted most negatively. It was also emphasised that the building of alternatives to the present globalisation gives positive meaning to personal and community life. In this process the recovery of solidarity and mutual sharing and learning are important elements.
The Christian faith and tradition call Christians to respond to poverty and the destruction of human dignity and community that accompany economic globalisation. The consultation explored the understandings of economy in the Bible and the tradition. This clearly points out that unchecked economic activity results in growing inequality, poverty and immiseration. The need for constant intervention to address these negative consequences and for a different, more realistic approach to economic life is a strong motivation for Christians and churches. These interventions should be in the direction of global justice and ecological sustainability.
Organising and solidarity building `from below' along with efforts to create a new political framework for the economy and the protection of social rights were seen by the consultation to be essential. It was agreed that the churches and their related organisations have a contribution to make to both these tasks.
Contact details for more information:
The Ecumenical Academy - Prague
Postal Address: Na Míčánkách 1, CZ101 00 Praha 10, Czech Republic
Tel./Fax: +420 272737077 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Work and Economy Research Network in the European Churches
Postal Address: WEN, Žitna 45, CZ110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
Tel/Fax: +420 222211799
Email: email@example.com Mobile: +420 603 276910