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Money: what it says about what we value

The swift financial response of the super wealthy to the restoration of Notre Dame reminds me of a quote by Dr Helen Caldicott that has stayed with me for years:

“Globally, the annual military expenditure stands at 780 billion dollars. The total amount required to provide global health care, eliminate starvation and malnutrition, provide clean water and shelter for all, remove land mines, eliminate nuclear weapons, stop deforestation, prevent global warming, ozone depletion and acid rain, retire the paralyzing debt of developing nations, prevent soil erosion, produce safe, clean energy, stop overpopulation, and eliminate illiteracy is only one third that amount

– 237.5 billion dollars.”

− Dr Helen Caldicott, The New Nuclear Danger: George W. Bush’s Military Industrial Complex, (New York, NY: The New Press, 2001, revised and updated 2004).

I used this quote in my book A New Chapter where I wrote about our global issues stemming from a “values problem” rather than a lack of money problem. I happened to use the quote again in our She Fire “Social Transformation” theme this month, and here we are with a current example of the fact that plentiful world-changing money is obviously available.

What needs to happen to make sure that it is used for mass positive change? Helping to restore a cathedral is obviously not the same as using money for wars, and as the author of the article below writes, better that a billionaires money goes toward architecture than sit in their bank account.

“The next time someone tries to pretend like you need to choose between homelessness or immigration, nurses' pay or a tax cut, a children's hospital or a motorway, remember this moment. The money is there at a click of a finger. It just isn't in our hands....

If two men in a world of more than 7 billion people can provide €300million to restore Notre Dame, within six hours, then there is enough money in the world to feed every mouth, shelter every family and educate every child. The failure to do so is a matter of will, and a matter of system. The failure to do so comes from our failure to recognize the mundane emergencies that claims lives all around us every single day. Works of art and architectural history and beauty rely on the ingenuity of people, and it is people who must be protected above all else.”

This isn’t about saying hey don’t spend money on that. Nor is any one individual responsible for the world’s problems. However, these immediate massive donations are highlighting very clearly what the very wealthy and very powerful - especially the Vatican, royals, governments etc - aren’t spending their money on. 🤔🤔🤔


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