"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

9.25.2006

wondering...

My friend Travis made the New York Times! The details are semi-incomprehensible if you don't understand the use of economic models to explain social phenomena, but the article does a good job of explaining what it all means: basically, they found that income inequality in America (which increased throughout the 1990s) happened largely as a result of the information technology boom, on a regional basis. In other words, people in Silicon Valley got really rich, really fast.

Income inequality-based theories don't entirely explain why people are poor, but they do explain why there are vast gaps in the amount of income made by the rich and the poor. And there's no question that the rich are getting richer while the poor struggle to keep up. This year for the first time, everyone on the Forbes 400 (which lists the 400 wealthiest individuals in America) is a billionarie. Billionaires.

What are we supposed to think about this, especially those of us who think about it from a Christian perspective? Why does anyone need a billion dollars, much less several billion dollars? What could you possibly do with all that money?

Well, some people do set up foundations and give a lot of money away. And there's no question that this is good - children living in desparate poverty who now have access to anti-retroviral drugs get what they need as a result of these foundations' commitments.

But I wonder what Jesus would have to say about the massive accumulation of wealth in the first place, or the extravagent homes that get built with the money that didn't go towards philanthrophy. I wonder what Jesus would say about all of our choices, all of our excess, all of our billions that get spent on things nobody needs. I wonder...

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