Economist Vilfredo Pareto announced a discovery in 1897: about 20% of the families in Italy owned 80% of the land.
He went on to study the distribution of wealth in other Western European nations. The same distribution held true. Subsequent studies of national economies have revealed the same distribution, no matter what their politics are. Economists have yet to explain this phenomenon. Politicians have yet to thwart it. But some famous ones have taken advantage of it. Doubt me? Click this link.
Rev. Jim Wallis never mentions Pareto’s rule. Welfare state promoters never do. It stands as a testimony against their attempts to use state coercion to make things more equal. The welfare state merely changes the groups that enjoy 80% of the income. But this fact never fazes the promoters. They deal with this ideologically inconvenient fact by a strategy of silence.
Rev. Wallis (salary: $197,000 a year) wrote recently of his speech at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. I direct some questions to him about his speech.
As you are aware, Jesus also spoke of religious diversity: “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad: (Matthew 12:30).
You went on to write this:
The banner on the stage read, “Reclaiming the Heart of our Humanity.” And one might wonder, at an interfaith gathering like this one, why the organizers devoted a major plenary session to the issue of income inequality.
You then answered your own question:
Surely it’s an economic issue, as our systems structure wealth towards the wealthy at the top. Clearly it’s a political issue, as wealth and the wealthy shape and control our politics.
It is indeed a political issue. In our time, political issues constitute the chief religion of the world’s religions. That is why the Parliament of the World’s Religions calls itself a parliament. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines parliament as follows: “the group of people who are responsible for making the laws in some kinds of government.” It’s all about power. Power is all about state coercion. So, that is why “the organizers devoted a major plenary session to the issue of income inequality.” They want the state to coerce people with money to hand the money over to officers of the state, who in turn promise — “cross their hearts and hope to die” — to set up numerous state-run bureaucracies to administer the funds in the name of the poor.
But if you believe that every human being is made in the image of God — imago dei; if you believe that every individual person represented in economic statistics is a child of God; if you believe that in nearly all religious traditions, loving your neighbor as you love yourself follows directly after loving God; and if you believe, regardless of your conception of God, that human beings are all brothers and sisters tied together, then income inequality is a spiritual issue, a moral issue, and a religious test of our belief.
We indeed are all brothers. Some are sons of Cain. Some are sons of Abel. Some are sons of Seth. You can read about this in Genesis 4.
Ultimately, we are all sons either of fallen Adam or of Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice on Calvary is the basis of God’s adoption of us into His family. So, we are all sons of God. Some are disinherited for all eternity. Others are adopted for all eternity. The dividing line is the grace of God: justification by grace through faith. So, while it is legitimate to speak of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, there are permanent differences between the disinherited sons and the adopted sons.
I doubt that you mentioned this in your speech at the Parliament of World Religions.
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)