é a guerra pelo espaço na cidade, de um lado o ser humano que precisa se locomover, do outro lado o consumismo automobilístico excitado por empresas que sentem que o fim está chegando…
Neste texto quero fazer um contraponto ao que publiquei sobre taxação da poluição (http://goo.gl/syX7DP).
Caso não tenham lido, neste outro texto (http://goo.gl/bQadRr) eu referi que existem basicamente duas maneiras gerais de tratar os problemas da mobilidade urbana: Medidas de taxação, que forçam a mudança de comportamento (push/empurrar) ou medidas de incentivo, que de certa forma indicam uma melhor opção (pull/puxar). Também podem ser chamadas de “hard measures” e “soft measures”, respetivamente.
Portanto os incentivos monetários a quem polui menos ou a quem usa um meio de transporte diferente do carro se enquadram na segunda categoria, pois não forçam a mudança dos padrões de deslocação e sim convidam à reflexão.
Vocês já notaram que o estacionamento gratuito nos locais de trabalho, nos shopping centers, universidades, escolas…, não é nada mais que um subsídio indireto a um cliente/funcionário/estudante que vai de carro? E que este subsídio é…
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Ojämnt krig om stadsrummet
Luta desigual por espaço na cidade
Dan Hallemar, skribent och chefredaktör på tidskriften Arkitektur
Tradução: Tarcisio Praciano-Pereira
25 de janeiro de 2014
Alguma coisa tem que merecer prioridade – os carros ou as bicicletas. O espaço está definido na cidade, não há como aumetá-lo. Dan Hallemar compara a cidade-sutomóvel Estocolmo contra a cidade-bicicleta Copenhagen.
Någon måste prioriteras bort – bilen eller cykeln. Det finns bara ett givet utrymme att
dela på i stadsrummet. Dan Hallemar ställer bilstaden Stockholm mot cykelstaden Köpenhamn.
Ciclistas na Hornstull à caminho de Liljeholmsbron. Foto de 1950.
As bicicletas seguem entre duas filas de carros, apertado, talvez um metro. Os pneus da bicicleta deslizam, o gaz dos carros se misturam com a fumaça da boca. Chegando ao sinal onde todos param. É a guerra pelo espaço e eu desobedeço a lei.
Cykeln far mellan två rader av bilar, det är smalt, kanske en meter. Mina dubbdäck slirar,
avgasröken blandas med munröken. Jag girar ner mot rödljuset där vi alla stannar. Det är ett
krig om utrymme. Det händer att jag bryter mot lagen.
Mais precisamente no ano passado. Nevava muito naquele inverno, talvez nove graus negativos. As ciclovias estavam cheias de restos de gelo misturado com neve, impossível de serem usadas. Desobedeci a lei, parágrafo 7 da legislação do trânsito: ”bicicleas ou motocicletas da classe II devem seguir pelas ciclovias quando elas existirem.” Segui pela faixa de carros que estavam com aquela cor feia cinza-escuro com restos de neve. Tenho usado a bicicleta em Estocolmo cada inverno nos últimos 10 anos. Temos que nos acotovelar pelo controle do espaço com os carros a cada dia. Jag har cyklat i Stockholm varje vinter de senaste tio åren. Armbågskampen med raderna av bilar hör till vardagen. Till Koglin chama isto de “guerra pelo espaço” que é a linguagem de Zygmunt Baumans, no seu manifesto “Mobilidade na bicicleta” ao fazer uma análise crítica sobre o planejamento do espaço.
Särskilt förra året. Det snöade mycket mer den vintern, om ni minns. Cykelbanorna var täckta av spårig
snö och is, omöjliga att använda. Jag bröt mot Trafikförordningens sjätte paragraf: ”Cyklar och tvåhjuliga
mopeder klass II skall vid färd på väg föras på cykelbana om sådan finns.” Jag styrde ut på bilvägen,
som låg gråsvartmoddig men snöröjd. Jag har cyklat i Stockholm varje vinter de senaste tio åren.
Armbågskampen med raderna av bilar hör till vardagen. I sin avhandling ”Vélomobility. A critical
analysis of planning and space” kallar Till Koglin det för en maktkamp och använder Zygmunt Baumans
begrepp ”space wars”, ett krig om stadsrummet.
Åsa Linderborgs em seu romance ”Mig äger ingen” (Não pertenço a ninguém) em que o papai da pequena Åsa a transporta de bicicleta para a creche, todos os dias, depois seguindo para o trabalho na fábrica: ”Papai vivia num mundo geográfico pequeno – a bicicleta rodava de Metallverken, Viksäng, Skiljebo, passando pelo porto dos pequenos barcos, Stora gatan (Rua Grande) e algumas vezes até Irsta – mas os seus sonhos eram grandiosos.” Infelizmente ele é um ser em extinsão. Os trabalhadores ciclistas foi uma foto idealista dos anos 50. 1930 foi a grande década para o ciclismo em Estocolmo. Depois disto os trabalhadores puderam compra carros e também veio a redução de impostos para a gasolina importada em 1949, também se alterou o ponto de vista dos social democratas com respeito ao carro como escreve Martin Emanuel no seu panfleto ”Trafikslag på undantag” (Regras do trânsito na exceção) (Stockholmia 2013). O carro se tornou o símbolo da democratização da sociedade. Uma mudança de classe da bicicleta para o carro começou.
I Åsa Linderborgs roman ”Mig äger ingen” skjutsar pappan hela tiden lilla Åsa på cykeln till dagis och
åker sedan vidare till fabriken: ”Pappa levde i en geografiskt liten värld – cykeln rullade mellan
Metallverken, Viksäng, Skiljebo, småbåtshamnen, Stora gatan och någon gång Irsta – men hans drömmar
var stora.” Men han är en utdöende sort. Den cyklande arbetaren var arbetarrörelsens idealbild fram
till 1950-talet. 1930-talet var storhetstiden för cykelpendling i Stockholm. När det blev möjligt
för arbetarklassen att skaffa bil, efter avskaffandet av importbegränsningar på bensin och bilar 1949,
bröts socialdemokratins skepsis mot bilen, skriver Martin Emanuel i sin avhandling ”Trafikslag på undantag”
(Stockholmia 2013). Bilen blev en symbol för ”samhällets materiella demokratisering”. Klassresan från
cykel till bil började.
en motionsform och fritidssysselsättning. Cykeln blev i den nya höghastighetsstaden Stockholm framför
allt ett långsamt lokalt transportmedel, ansett som något för barn och kvinnor, skriver Emanuel. Det är
därför den lite längre cykelresan fortfarande betraktas som manlig idrott.
är det. Det vi lever med i dag är ett arv av 1900-talets ideologier kring cykeln.
stora satsningarna på biltrafik som byggdes i Stockholm inte blev av. Köpenhamn skapade i större
utsträckning tidigt under 1900- talet plats för cyklande i innerstaden. Man byggde en cykelkultur,
skriver Till Koglin. Köpenhamn är en cykelkultur, Stockholm är det inte. ”Produktionen av Köpenhamns
stad för cyklar och rummet för motortrafik i Stockholm är ett exempel på hur städerna skapat två olika
former av stadsrum.”
Hoje a mobilidade em bicicleta em Estocolmo fica no entorno de 8% enquanto que em Copenhagen se tem 30%, em Malmö o percentual é 23%. Em Göteborg no relatório G-P (de 18 de janeiro) houve um aumento de 22% no tráfego de bicleta do volume anterior de 9% o que representou algo espantoso para o Serviço de Tráfego.I dag görs omkring 8 procent av resorna i Stockholm på cykel. Motsvarande siffra för Köpenhamn är 30.
I Malmö är det omkring 23. G-P rapporterar (18/1) att cykeltrafiken i Göteborg ökade med 22 procent
förra året, från en nivå på 9 procent. Trafikkontoret sade sig vara överraskade.
ökar cyklandet i dag i stadens inre del och i närförorterna men minskar där utanför. Enligt Dagens Nyheter
(21/1) väntas Trafiknämnden anta cykelsatsningar på 468 miljoner, med några viktiga punktinsatser
i innerstaden, men stora delar av Stockholm förblir den bilstad den varit i 70 år.
14 cyklister dog i trafiken i London under 2013. Det här fick arkitektbyrån Foster & Partners att
tillsammans med planeringsbyrån Space Syntax i London ta fram vad man kallade ett cykel-utopia, en
utopi om Londons framtida cykelsystem. Sky-Cycle, som de kallar systemet, är 21 mil separerade,
biltrafikfria, cykelbanor anlagda i luften längs med stadens befintliga järnvägsräls.
tunnelbanestaden, en gång skapades. Arkitekten Norman Foster formulerade det som att Sky-Cycle
”är ett försök att skapa plats i en trång stad”. Det är en kamp om utrymme. Deras lösning är att
lägga till ett lager till. Att bygga på staden, uppåt.
Eu me encontro num pequeno espaço entre dois carros em frente do sinal vermelho e logo vou sair correndo para atravessar o cruzamento, fazer uma travessia para direita na lama de neve para retornar para uma ciclovia. Cada automobilista à minha volta ocupa 100 metros quadrados do espaço “livre” que existe na cidade sob a forma de rodagem para automóveis ou espaço para estacionamento, comparando com espaço ocupado pelos ciclistas que é de 10 metros quadrados, é por esta diferença em metros quadrados que se trava a guerra.
Jag står i det trånga utrymmet mellan två bilar framför rödljuset, jag ska snart accelerera genom
korsningen, ta en tvär höger genom snömodden och dyka in på en gång- och cykelbana. Varje bilist runt
omkring mig tar upp 100 kvadratmeter av den fria yta som finns i staden, i form av bilvägar och
parkeringsplatser. Cyklisten tar upp 10 kvadratmeter. Det är de här kvadratmeterna som kriget handlar om.
Se os ciclistas conseguirem ganhar espaço n’alguma cidade para vê-la transformada numa cidade-ciclista tera
de ser o espaço dos carros e não do espaço dos que caminham.
Det är enkel matematik. Det finns en färdig yta, om man inte som i London bygger nytt ovanför.
Trängseln mellan de två raderna bilar, där i morgonrusningen, röken från andningen och röken
från avgasrören som blandas, handlar om makt och maktrelationer i städer. Jag svänger in på gång- och
cykelvägen. Ordet gång- och cykelväg är en illustration av en etablerad idé om att vi alla får dela på det
utrymme som blir över när bilen fått sitt. Men cyklister har egentligen mer gemensamt med bilarna
än med de gående. Om cyklisterna ska ta yta från någon i en stad som vill vara en cykelstad, är det
från bilarna – inte från de gående.
de espaço para mais 9 novos ciclistas. Porém o caminho seguro para isto não é o das ciclovias, escreve
Martin Emanuel, para levar a uma cultura ciclista. A grande cultura ciclista que já existiu em Estocolmo
nos primórdios do século 20 veio antes das ciclovias.
till nio nya cyklister. Men det är inte säkert, skriver Martin Emanuel, att fler cykelvägar leder till
en förändrad kultur. Den stora cykelkultur som fanns i Stockholm på 1930-talet kom före cykelvägarna.
escoamento de trâfego é que levou a isto. Martin Emanuel chama isto infraestrutura de cidades de uma
“ideologia congelada”. Nestes tempos as cidades ciclistas podem ser pensadas com aquecidas e a pergunta
vem: Como se vai obter isto? Poderia ser que uma das faixas, está que está à minha esquerda, passar a
ser a minha? Terei direito a ela? Ou poderia ser que a velocidade dos carros seja rebaixada de tal forma
que todos possamos ficar em conjunto com as faixas? O que precisamos, para que equação tenha uma solução,
é um movimento e uma mudança cultural.
Martin Emanuel kallar städers infrastruktur för ”frusen ideologi”. Så här års kan cykelstaden tyckas
närmast nedfryst. Hur ska man plocka fram den? Ska den ena filen, den till höger om mig, bli min?
Har jag rätt till den? Eller ska bilarna sänka hastigheten så att vi kan dela på båda filerna tillsammans?
Vad som behövs, om ekvationen ska gå ihop, är en rörelse och en kulturförändring.
Não se trata de um ponto de vista cultural que fará mais gente a optar pela bicicleta. E pego o espaço
e assumo uma atitude de poder. Mais tarde, na minha viagem ciclista na cidade, desobedeço mais uma vez
a lei e caminho na contra-mão. Em Copenhagen é legal fazê-lo, lá eu não preciso invadir o espaço citadino,
as portas estão simplesmente abertas.
Mina Göran Kropp-ögonblick i Vinterstockholm. Det är en inte kultursyn som kommer att få fler att cykla.
Jag tar plats och kräver makt. Senare under min cykelresa in i staden bryter jag mot lagen en gång till.
Jag cyklar mot enkelriktat. I Köpenhamn är det tillåtet. Där behöver jag inte bryta mig in i stadsrummet,
dörren står öppen.
The Genius of Early Intervention
Neste artigo, Sharon Lerner entrevista um prêmio nobel de economia sobre um estudo realizado com adultos que há 35 anos, quando recém nascidos, tiveram um acompanhamento privilegiado de saúde e na sequência também educacional. Os resultados se revelaram não somente no ponto de vista do aprendizado mas da saúde em geral. É interessante observar que estes resultados, embora tenham sido acompanhados estatísticamente, seriam inteiramente previsíveis do ponto de equações diferenciais ordinárias uma disciplina de Matemática como as condições iniciais dum certo tipo de desenvolvimento.
A conversation with economist James Heckman
Sharon Lerner covers education, work/life, and other issues affecting children and families and conceived of the Prospect’s special report on early education. She is a Senior Fellow at Demos, a progressive think tank.
James Heckman is the pre-eminent scholar on the economics of early education. Heckman, who won the Nobel Prize in 2000, has focused on how early–childhood interventions affect society at large and the life skills and development of young children. The Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, he has devised ways to measure the economic benefit of preschool, focusing in particular on two programs that have served disadvantaged children: the Perry Preschool, which began in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in the 1960s and the Abecedarian, or ABC, Project in North Carolina.
Sharon Lerner: How early in a child’s life is too early to intervene? Have you looked at that in home-visiting programs or other programs that are done in infancy?
James Heckman: We have a project that shows the long-term effects of interventions starting as early as two months in the life of the child on adult health and other outcomes. We followed them for 35 years, and now we’re seeing much lower, for example, blood-pressure rates.
Table of Contents
Introduction: A Second Chance for the Youngest Americans
Sidebar: China Goes Big
Sidebar: The Robin Hood Plan
Sidebar: The Fade-Out Debate
Sidebar: High Enrollment, Low Standards
Q&A: The Genius of Early Intervention
What are the health benefits of early–childhood education? And what is the mechanism by which early education might affect health?
We followed kids who got interventions, including doctor’s visits, starting at two months old for 35 years and found that metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes, is substantially lowered. Among the treatment group, there’s none of the syndrome. In the control group, 25 percent of this population has this precursor condition for diabetes, if they don’t have diabetes already. So you see tremendous improvement.
ABC does provide pediatric visits, so they are getting checkups that disadvantaged children wouldn’t ordinarily have. But the intervention is also operating through other channels. By giving these kids both the cognitive and noncognitive skills, self-control, social and emotional skills, as well as screening for early health problems, you’re providing a powerful base for adult health. There’s a lot of evidence that these noncognitive traits are predictive of a whole range of behaviors. It’s far more important to be conscientious than to be smart if you want a long life. These persistence traits are very, very predictive, and they can be shaped.
I know people talk about the early years as the ideal time to intervene, but as kids get older, when does the return on investment begin to diminish?
Don’t forget there’s a dynamic synergism that’s going on here. You build the skill base, then later investments become even more productive. That’s one of the reasons the rate of return is so high for early investments. It has a direct effect on producing a set of skills that are immediately useful and that are also useful in producing future sets of skills. That’s why I’m hesitant to think that it’s like diminishing returns on a static technology or something. Success breeds success, and if you get more highly able children who are given the opportunity and enthusiasm for learning, you’re going to get enormously high rates of return.
It does get increasingly harder to remediate the older the person is. If he or she doesn’t have the skill base, then the later investments do start falling off. For example, if you look at the rate of return on public job-training programs for 17- and 18-year-old disadvantaged kids with very low ability, they’re negative. Job Corps basically has a zero rate of return.
With Perry Preschool, we’re getting annual rates of return around 6 percent to 10 percent per year. If you think about putting money in a bank, it would double in a period of about seven or eight years. You’re going to get the force of compound interest, but it’s an investment in a person rather than in a bank.
I’ve heard you refer to this 6 percent to 10 percent yield before. Is that rate of return averaged over a lifetime? If so, aren’t the biggest savings at the end of the line?
You’re certainly right—it’s an average. I’ve forgotten which office of government says the effective horizon over which any investment program should be evaluated is ten years. That’s just myopic. It’s certainly not consistent with what we did with the interstate highway system, building dams, the Tennessee Valley Authority. But put that to the side—there really are substantial, short-term impacts.
There is a lot of exciting work looking at the payback in the reduction of things like special education. Robert Dugger [co-founder of ReadyNation, a business group that supports early education] is heading a group that’s looking into social-impact bonds for early-education programs. He’s trying to bring in the private sector to finance the returns on these investments. So on a strict cash basis, local governments should be able to float bonds based on what their long-term savings and short-term costs would be.
You’ve consulted with the Obama administration on this issue. How have you advised it?
When Barack Obama ran for office in 2008, I gave him and his group some advice about what an effective strategy might be. I think the administration—at least the part of the administration I’ve dealt with, Secretary Arne Duncan, the people in Health and Human Services—have been very, very open. They’ve asked me if they’re somehow misusing or misstating the evidence. They seem to be serious about making sure the case they’re putting forth is evidence-based.
What, if anything, might you do to improve upon Obama’s plan?
The administration seems fixed on this one year: age four. But the gap in test scores that’s there at high-school graduation between the children of affluent mothers and the children of poor mothers is more or less there at age three. So we really should ask what’s going on from zero to three. I think the evidence is going to slowly push the administration this way. Obama’s proposal is a toe in the water, and it’s probably a good start. The only danger would be spreading it too thin. I’m strongly opposed to this idea of making [preschool] universal, because quality is more important.
Do you have models from around the country that exemplify the kind of early education you think we ought to offer as a nation?
The Chicago Child-Parent Program was implemented in a very poor neighborhood, and it suggests the feasibility of a large-scale program. It’s a model that is really seeming to have some long-term effects on the children in the program. In Chicago, we’ve had private philanthropists like Irving Harris and J.B. Pritzker and others, and that creates a community where you’re getting this interesting mix between public and private intervention.
You refer often to Perry and ABC in your work. These were pilot programs. Can you say why you think it makes sense to build national policy on these small examples?
There are papers saying these results don’t extrapolate to other nonpoor populations, and I completely agree with that. Those programs are effective for severely disadvantaged kids, the ones who are in the worst conditions, at least as measured by home environments when they’re young. That’s where the evidence stops. I think the universal advocates are taking it too far.
Many people say that a sample with a million observations is better than one with a thousand and, for precision, there’s no question. But you get these rare samples that come along that provide you with an insight that these programs can make big changes. If it’s really a small sample, then all the cards should be stacked against finding any effects. In spite of the fact that the samples are so small, we still found strong evidence, and not because we picked a few statistically significant results. We corrected for that, and these results still hold. I agree it would be nice to have bigger studies, but, in the case of Perry, we have 50 years of data. We’re now about to launch in the field a 50-year follow-up on health and these long-term measures.
Is there another country you might point to that offers convincing evidence of the economic benefits of early-childhood education?
The countries that probably everybody’s looking to and trying to understand are the Nordic countries, including Finland, that seem to offer a rich support for early child care and strong support for what would be something like early child-care systems and for encouraging teachers in both preschool and in schools of high quality. That seems to be a prototype, but it’s understudied.
What do you make of the Head Start evaluation that came out in March?
I’ve looked at this study pretty closely. What you have is a problem that people who are in the so-called control group for Head Start are sometimes in an even better program than Head Start. So you’ve got a flaw called “substitution bias.” [Some of the children who wound up in the control group were enrolled in] a comparable program somewhere else, so the study is comparing not just apples with apples but actually the same apple and finding no effect whatsoever. In fact, both treatment and control groups may be experiencing a strong effect.
In principle, it’s possible to correct this bias. The administration, the Institute of Education Sciences, and a group in the Department of Education are sitting on data that would allow analysts to essentially look at what the effects are of children in the control group participating in high-quality alternative programs. But they’re not releasing the data. It’s just bureaucracy at its worst. Right now, it’s not possible for anybody to accurately analyze the Head Start studies.
I know you’ve done some consulting in China recently. What might we learn from that country?
The vice premier of China just announced that they’re launching a program I’ve been working on with the China Development Research Foundation that will give nutrition and cognitive and noncognitive supplements to somewhere between 15 million and 30 million left-behind children in rural China. These are children whose parents have migrated to the East, but who are still out in the West, in typically rural areas, and are being raised by their grandparents. It’s a bad situation in terms of their early-childhood environment and nutrition, too. We’re talking very low levels of iron. This is a much lower baseline than in the U.S. We’re talking about child poverty that’s extreme, deprivation that’s real, something we don’t find in many parts of the United States.
Is there something we can do for adolescents who don’t get the help? Is there any particularly successful form of remediation?
Successful interventions for adolescents primarily target these noncognitive skills. They’re teaching kids to show up on time, providing guidance. It’s really a form of attachment—but for adolescents. Some mentoring programs have been evaluated, and we have seen long-term benefits. The rates of return are not as high as they are in the early-childhood programs. But I think it’s a mistake to think we can’t do anything at later ages.
Quarta-feira, 22 de janeiro de 2014
Tradutor: Tarcisio Praciano-Pereira
The media has done a great job covering the 85 people who own more than half the world statistic from the Oxfam report entitled: Working for the Few: Political Capture and Economic Inequality. Media examples here, here, and here.
A imprensa fez um trabalho decente tornando público que 85 indivíduos são os dosnos da metade da riqueza denunciado pela Oxfam no relatório intitulados: Trabalhando por uns poucos: Politica econômica de dominação e desigualdade. Os exemplos se encontram aqui, aqui, e aqui.
What I didn’t realize until I read the report was that it has an excellent set of recommendations on how to improve the situation.
Since they’re excellent, the mainstream media seems to have ignored them, and I don’t think Oxfam would mind, here is their series of recommendations.
O que eu não imaginava até ler o relatório era que ele continha recomendações excelentes de como melhorar a situação.
Mas como elas são excelentes, a grande imprensa parece tê-las ignorado, e penso que Oxfam não iria se incomodar se expusessemos aqui suas recomendações.
From the Oxfam report Working for the Few: Political Capture and Economic Inequality:
Call to those gathered at Davos
Chamada aos que se reunem em Davos
Those gathered at Davos for the World Economic Forum have the power to turn around the rapid increase in inequality. Oxfam is calling on them to pledge that they will:
Os que se reunem em Davos no Forum Econômico Mundial tem o poder de inverter a crescente desigualda. Oxfam vem lhes dizer o que é preciso fazer:
• Not dodge taxes in their own countries or in countries where they invest and operate, by using tax havens;
– Não permitir a evasão de impostos em seu países ou nos países em que tiverem investimentos pelo uso dos paraísos fiscais
• Not use their economic wealth to seek political favors that undermine the democratic will of their fellow citizens;
– Não fazer uso de sua posição econômica favorável para obter favores políticos e destruir a democracia;
• Make public all the investments in companies and trusts for which they are the ultimate beneficial owners;
– Tornar público todos os investimentos em companhias e holdings quando forem os beneficiários finais;
• Support progressive taxation on wealth and income;
– Dar apoio aos impostos sobre riqueza e progressivamente sobre rendas;
• Challenge governments to use their tax revenue to provide universal healthcare, education and social protection for citizens;
– Forçar os governos para que usem os impostos em saúde pública universal, educação e proteção social para os cidadãos;
• Demand a living wage in all the companies they own or control;
– Exigir um salário digno em todas as companhias que controlem;
• Challenge other economic elites to join them in these pledges.
– Exijam de outras elites econômicas que se juntem às estas propostas.
Iniciativas a serem Recomendadas
Oxfam has recommended policies in multiple contexts to strengthen the political representation of the poor and middle classes to achieve greater equity. These policies include:
Oxfam recomendou inciativas em vários contextos objetivando o reforço da representação política dos pobre da classe média com o objetivo de maior igualdade seja atingida. Iniciativas tais como:
• A global goal to end extreme economic inequality in every country. This should be a major element of the post-2015 framework, including consistent monitoring in every country of the share of wealth going to the richest one percent.
– Um objetivo global para extinguir a desigualdade em todos os países. Esta seria uma proposta maior para o trabalho para além de 2015, incluindo uma monitoração consistente em todos os países da ditribuição de riqueza partindo do 1% mais rico.
• Stronger regulation of markets to promote sustainable and equitable growth; and
– Regulamentação forte dos mercados para promover a sustentabilidade e desenvolvimento equitativo; e
• Curbing the power of the rich to influence political processes and policies that best suit their interests.
– Cortar o poder dos ricos em sua influência nos processos políticos para adequá-los aos seus interesses.
Some starting points from developing countries
Objetivos iniciais para os países em desenvolvimento
The particular combination of policies required to reverse rising economic inequalities should be tailored to each national context. But developing and developed countries that have successfully reduced economic inequality provide some suggested starting points, notably:
A forma de combinar os métodos políticos necessários para reverter as crescentes desigualdades devem se adaptar aos contextos nacionais. Porém alguns países que já conseguiram com algum sucesso reduzir a desigualdade econômica trazem algumas sugestões, muito em particular:
• Cracking down on financial secrecy and tax dodging;
– Quebra do segredo fiscal e da evasão de impostos;
• Redistributive transfers; and strengthening of social protection schemes;
– Redistribuição de transferências e reforço aos esquemas de proteção social;
• Investment in universal access to healthcare and education;
– Investmento no acesso universal à saúde pública e à educação pública;
• Progressive taxation;
– Imposto Progressivo;
• Strengthening wage floors and worker rights;
– Reforças os pisos salariais assim com os direitos trabalhistas;
• Removing the barriers to equal rights and opportunities for women.
– Remover as barreiras para garantir direitos e oportunidades iguais para a mulher.
Allt mer extrema inkomstklyftor
Cada vez é maior o salto de pobreza
Tradução: Tarcisio Praciano-Pereira
Skenande inkomstklyftor i världen når allt mer extrema nivåer, enligt en ny rapport.
Diferença gritante de redinmentos no mundo atinge nível extremo expressa um novo relatório (da OSFAM)
Inför öppnandet av Världsekonomiskt forum i Davos på onsdag har organisationen Oxfam släppt en rapport som visar hur den globala ekonomiska utvecklingen fortsätter att belöna några få, förmögna individer på bekostnad av det stora flertalet.
Na abertura do Forum Mundial de Davos, na quarta-feira, Oxfam publicou um novo relatório que mostra como a economia mundial segue pagando bem a uns poucos ricos às custas de grande parte dos outros.
Det här har lett till att de 85 rikaste personerna i världen nu har lika stora tillgångar som den fattigaste hälften av jordens befolkning, vilka motsvarar 3,5 miljarder människor. Enligt Oxfam, som arbetar med fattigdomsbeskämpning, är det växande inkomstgapet en konsekvens av en politik som under lång tid gynnat rika genom bland annat avreglering av finanssektorn, skatteparadis och lägre skatt på höga inkomster.
De tal forma que os 85 mais ricos do mundo tem nos bolsos uma riqueza equivalente à que tem acesso a metade mais pobre da povoação do mundo que equivale a 3.500.000.000 “seres humanos”. De acordo com a OXFAM, que se dedica à eliminação da pobreza, o crescente aumento da diferença de riqueza a consequência de uma política de desregulamentação do setor financeiro assim como de paraisos fiscais assim como baixos níveis de impostos sobre a riqueza.
Organisationen uppmanar nu världens ledare att åta sig att försöka vända den ojämlika inkomstfördelningen, något som de menar är en förutsättning för att bekämpa fattigdom.
A organização requer agora que os lideres mundiais tenham a coragem para alterar a desigualdade econômica como um prerequesito para eliminar a pobreza.
Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence
Declaration of Independence from the War in Vietnam
Speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church in New York City:
I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join with you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.
The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.
Dr. Martin Luther King at Riverside Church, New York City, April 4, 1967Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement well and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.
Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil rights don’t mix, they say. Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people, they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.
In the light of such tragic misunderstandings, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church — the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate — leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.
I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia.
Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they can play in a successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reason to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.
Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the NLF, but rather to my fellow Americans, who, with me, bear the greatest responsibility in ending a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents.
The Importance of Vietnam
I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor — both black and white — through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.
Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.
My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.
For those who ask the question, “Aren’t you a civil rights leader?” and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: “To save the soul of America.” We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:
O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath– America will be!
Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.
As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission — a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for “the brotherhood of man.” This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men — for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the “Vietcong” or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?
Finally, as I try to delineate for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.
This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.
And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond to compassion my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them too because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.
They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation, and before the Communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony.
Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not “ready” for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination, and a government that had been established not by China (for whom the Vietnamese have no great love) but by clearly indigenous forces that included some Communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.
For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam.
Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of the reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.
After the French were defeated it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva agreements. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators — our chosen man, Premier Diem. The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly routed out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords and refused even to discuss reunification with the north. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by U.S. influence and then by increasing numbers of U.S. troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem’s methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictatorships seemed to offer no real change — especially in terms of their need for land and peace.
The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received regular promises of peace and democracy — and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us — not their fellow Vietnamese –the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move or be destroyed by our bombs. So they go — primarily women and children and the aged.
They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals, with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one “Vietcong”-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them — mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children, degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.
What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?
We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation’s only non-Communist revolutionary political force — the unified Buddhist church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men. What liberators?
Now there is little left to build on — save bitterness. Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call fortified hamlets. The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these? Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These too are our brothers.
Perhaps the more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies. What of the National Liberation Front — that strangely anonymous group we call VC or Communists? What must they think of us in America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the south? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of “aggression from the north” as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.
How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent Communist and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will have no part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them — the only party in real touch with the peasants. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again and then shore it up with the power of new violence?
Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.
So, too, with Hanoi. In the north, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which would have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again.
When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered. Also it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva agreements concerning foreign troops, and they remind us that they did not begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.
Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard of the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the north. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor weak nation more than eight thousand miles away from its shores.
At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless on Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called enemy, I am as deeply concerned about our troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create hell for the poor.
This Madness Must Cease
Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.
This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words:
“Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism.”
If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. It will become clear that our minimal expectation is to occupy it as an American colony and men will not refrain from thinking that our maximum hope is to goad China into a war so that we may bomb her nuclear installations. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horribly clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play.
The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways.
In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war. I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do immediately to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:
- End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.
- Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.
- Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.
- Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and in any future Vietnam government.
- Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva agreement.
Part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We most provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country if necessary.
Protesting The War
Meanwhile we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative means of protest possible.
As we counsel young men concerning military service we must clarify for them our nation’s role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. I am pleased to say that this is the path now being chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. Moreover I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors. These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.
There is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter the struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy- and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.
In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of U.S. military “advisers” in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and green beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken — the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.
I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.
This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and through their misguided passions urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not call everyone a Communist or an appeaser who advocates the seating of Red China in the United Nations and who recognizes that hate and hysteria are not the final answers to the problem of these turbulent days. We must not engage in a negative anti-communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.
The People Are Important
These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression and out of the wombs of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.” We in the West must support these revolutions. It is a sad fact that, because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has the revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgement against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores and thereby speed the day when “every valley shall be exalted, and every moutain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain.”
A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.
This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept — so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force — has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John:
Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says : “Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word.”
We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The “tide in the affairs of men” does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on…” We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.
We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world — a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.
Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter — but beautiful — struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.
As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:
Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth and falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God’s new Messiah,
Off’ring each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever
Twixt that darkness and that light.
Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet ‘tis truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong:
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow
Keeping watch above his own.
And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when “justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other nonviolent means. By the time of his death in 1968, he had refocused his efforts on ending poverty and stopping the Vietnam War. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.