Swords into Plowshares

“I believe in a future where the value of your work is not determined by the size of your paycheck, but by the amount of happiness you spread and the amount of meaning you give.”

This quote comes from Rutger Bregman’s April 2017 TED Talk, Poverty isn’t a lack of character; it’s a lack of cash. Poor people, he tells notoriously make poor choices especially in the areas of health and money. He continues by citing a study by Eldar Shafir of Princeton University and his colleagues who observed sugarcane farmers in India and showed: “…that people behave differently when they perceive a thing to be scarce. And what that thing is doesn’t much matter — whether it’s not enough time, money or food.”

He then presents what I believe is a plausible solution to poverty in the United States today by proposing a guaranteed monthly income for everyone. That would change the context in which the poor live and as the above study suggests open the door for the poor to make better decisions. He actually shows this was done in Dauphin Canada and it worked. He also points out that it would only cost “175 billion, a quarter of the US military spending or one percent of GDP”.

Finally, such a move Bregman suggests would also open the door to the 87 percent of workers today who don’t like their present jobs, giving them a choice and helping them realize the quote beginning this post.

Dan O’Donnell

Dan O’Donnell, a layman has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

If You Want Peace…

Dan O'Donnell
Dan O’Donnell

Gary Haugen reports a failure of compassion. While he specifically addresses the developing world, I wonder if there isn’t a lesson for us regarding what is happening in Baltimore, New York City and Ferguson?

Today in the developing world according to Gary Haugen, we have more people in slavery than in any other time in history and that most violence against women never gets reported let alone remedied. He relates these two facts not to poverty, but to the lack of justice for the poor. He credits compassion for the great strides made in addressing poverty, but through his encounters with Venus and Griselda learns the real causes of poverty that we have yet to address.

He doesn’t leave us hopeless, but gives us two actions that we can undertake today to stop these injustices


Number one: We have to start making stopping violence indispensable to the fight against poverty. In fact, any conversation about global poverty that doesn’t include the problem of violence must be deemed not serious. 

And secondly, we have to begin to seriously invest resources and share expertise to support the developing world as they fashion new, public systems of justice, not private security, that give everybody a chance to be safe.

This kind of reminds me of Pope Paul VI (1897 – 1963) If You Want Peace, Work for Justice.