is there such poverty and suffering in spite of all our high technology?
WE LIVE in a fast
changing world and the present pace of change is creating enormous new
realities, and anxieties. This is an age when national economies can be
collapsed by economic forces and power politics.
High technology quickens
the pace of change, and promises prosperity for many, but it also threatens
to leave billions of people out in the cold. It is obvious that modern
technology favours those who are able to acquire and use it.
is available to all, but the reality is that the tools of prosperity are
not in the grasp of the underprivileged majority.
Some argue that “the
poor have never had it so good,” because in recent years the average
real income of the world’s poor have increased by 3%. The claim
of substantial improvement, however, flees in the light of the reality
of a poverty-stricken world.
At the turn of the
* The three richest
people in the world owned and con- trolled more wealth than 600 million
of the poorest.
* 1.1 billion people
lived in extreme poverty - on $US 1 or less per day.
* In 1960, the richest
20% of the world’s population had 30 times as much wealth as the
poorest 20%. By 1995 the rich had 82 times as much.
* More than 800 million
people went hungry every day.
* 22,000 died of
hunger every day. 8 million each year.
* There are now 24
million refugees in the world.
* 430 million people
live in conditions of extreme suffering.
* In the Third World,
about 29% of children die before the age of 5, and 33% of the adult population
do not live past the age of 40 And hunger and poverty are only a part
of the world’s woes. There’s also . . .
* Wars - more people
died in the 20th century through war than at any time in the past.
* There are more
slaves in the world today than when slavery was abolished.
* There is the drug
trade that is ruining millions of lives worldwide.
* There’s the
great shortage of clean water, and the lack of education and health care.
* Although there
have been tremendous advances in medical science, new diseases are appearing,
and old diseases are becoming more rampant than ever.
What stops the nations
from launching a massive, whole-hearted program to alleviate the immense
human suffering in the world?
There’s a lot
of talk and a lot of resolutions, but man’s best intentions fall
short of what should happen.
Late last century
the United Nations announced the Decade of Water and Sanitation. The program
was to provide clean drinking water to the world. It didn’t happen.
A more recent initiative,
the UN Development Program, calculated that it would take just $US 40
billion to ensure universal access to clean water, as well as basic education,
basic healthcare, basic nutrition, sewerage and sanitation facilities,
and access for women to basic gynaecological and obstetric care.
That is a small sum
for the international community. (NATO spent that much in the Balkans
war in 1999!)
The United Nations
is reported to be seeking a major role in tackling world problems, and
reshaping the present world order. But corruption and fierce competitive
trade constantly stymies the efforts.
At a Millennium Summit
(Sept. 2000), UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan highlighted the world’s
crises. But globalisation can lift billions of people out of squalor,
he told the Summit, IF the new global marketplaces act like a global society.
Annan had a vision
of a “moral world order” - a world filled with dignified people
- a world where people do not hack each other to pieces, and where the
rich are genuinely concerned about the appalling suffering around the
The Millennium Summit
ended with a Millennium Declaration, which listed the world’s problems,
includ-ing poverty, pollution, AIDS, and human rights violations. It also
listed several ambitious goals for the UN, including ...
* halving the proportion
of people living on less than one dollar a day (22% of the world) by the
* halving the number
of people who do not have safe drinking water (20% of the world population),
* to provide primary
school education for children everywhere by 2015.
* to halt and reverse
the spread of HIV/AIDS, and the scourge of Malaria and other major diseases.
(According to UN sources it will cost at least $3 billion per year to
address these epidemics.)
* to improve the
lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.
* to close the technology
divide, and thus to make the fruits of globalisation available to the
poor as well as the rich.
By 2005, Annan and
the United Nations was bogged down with corruption scandals.
IS NOT THE ANSWER!
refers to the ever-increasing global trade. Globalisation is not something
new; since the beginning of nations there has been international trade;
but today, as the world grows smaller due to instant communications and
fast travel, world trade has taken on a dubious agenda.
Critics see the World
Trade Organisation (WTO) as a threat to national sovereignties, and to
individuals’ fundamental rights. Some charge the WTO with working
against the interests of developing nations.
activist puts it this way:
is a real power play on the part of concentrated corporate power and the
states that are linked to that. They are trying to develop a particular
form of global integration which is in the interests of financial institutions.
What happens to the population is incidental.”
Today the forces
of globalisation are being challenged by a frustrated, growing, and fierce
opposition at international economic and trade forums.
however, that the WTO is the only hope of the developing nations to lever
open US and European food and textile markets.
The East Asian “miracle”
over the past 40 years has been quoted as evidence of the value of trade
liberalisation. It has transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of
people in economies like those of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong
Kong, Taiwan and South Korea, which followed Japan’s example.
Today there is a
demand for greater global trade liberalisation, but the politics of the
rich nations, and the protectionist industries in those nations, make
it difficult for true free trade to succeed.
With all the drawbacks
of globalisation, however, not many want to totally roll it back. To do
so would mean isolation, limited trade, growth, travel, migration, cultural,
scientific and artistic exchanges. It would mean a shut down of internet,
international tele-communications and educational exchanges. It would
mean handling our environmental and social conditions, and Prophecy,
debate and conflict comes down to what type of world we are creating.
The reality is that
we are living in a selfish, unjust, commercial world. Our economic systems
are not charities! They are based on profit motives. It’s a fierce,
competitive world out there, friends. And it is an increasingly corrupt
In our 21st century,
world conditions are as they were in the days of Noah.
the earth was corrupt in God’s sight; the earth was full of violence.”
IS NOT THE ANSWER!
with corruption in high places, what can ordin-ary men do? Ideally, debate
and goodwill should lead to an acceptable consensus on how to create a
beneficial commercial world. But it is clear that multinational companies
are heavyweights; they can and do influence decisions, and protests can
do little to stop them.
While the cancer
of monetary greed infects our social institutions, even sincere men can
do little to reshape the future and make a benevolent world order?
WILL IS NOT THE ANSWER!
have heard that “money is the root of all evil.” But the Bible
says it’s “the love of money” that is the root of all
evil. And note the strong warning:
who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap, and many foolish
and harmful desires, which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the
love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and some, by hankering for
it, have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many
griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:9-10)
Man has a problem.
It’s not merely his actions; it’s his heart.
heart is more crooked and deceitful than all else, and is desperately
sick - incurable. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
The best of men are
struggling, with the best of inten-tions, to grapple with the mega-problems
created by a disparate, conflicting world - a world of dictators and democrats,
conservatives and liberals, revolutionaries and reactionists, religionists
and atheists, super-rich and debt-laden, fundamentalists and evolutionists,
idealists and activists.
It’s a disparate
world indeed! And they are all seeking a way. But ...
“There is a way which seems right to a man,
but its end is the way of death.” (King Solomon - Proverbs 14:12)
It would be wrong
to criticize the sincere efforts of leaders to grapple with problems,
but the tragedy is that the nations are increasingly rejecting the precepts
of God, and are trying to tackle a complex world in the power of their
own rational minds.
It would be wrong
to blame globalisation for all the poverty of the world. The causes of
economic destitution are many, but very often it is corruption, “politics,”
or simply bad decisions that leaders make.
What must be admitted
is that in spite of our advances and hi-tech, the poor are becoming poorer;
and there is an awful amount of misery out there.
Many will argue that
“the poor you will always have with you,” and that progress
cannot be held up because of those who cannot keep up.
True! And it’s
also true that the World Trade Organisation and the World Economic Forums
are not charity organisations. Their heavyweights are multinationals with
that the opening up of world trade brings many advantages to the developing
world. They say that isolation and tight international trade causes developing
nations to fall behind, and to be deprived of a decent slice of the economic
may be good for the economy, but it can be very vicious when commercial
ventures are not based on the Bible’s principles of righteousness,
unselfishness and genuine concern for the well-being of our fellow-men.
Examine the products
in your supermarkets, for instance, and you will see that most manufacturers
are concerned about your money, not your health. The oil producers, are
not concerned for your comfort and convenience. They’re after your
are not concerned to provide the very best in quality; their main aim
is to extract your money. Most banks say they are there to serve their
customers, but we all know they are motivated by the company’s demand
for greater profits.
You have been told
that credit cards are designed for your convenience! But those who pay
off their credit regularly, and in full, don’t bring much profit
to the institution, do they? And so the debt traps are expanding by the
minute? The Bible is so very true:
rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s
slave.” (Proverbs 22:7)
Our present world
is up to the eyeballs in debt; both governments, and individuals. World
debt is now calculated in the trillions.
We cannot blame globalism
for every disaster, nor can we expect globalism to solve every problem.
We cannot blame leaders for seeking to provide answers to the problems,
nor can we expect human intelligence to usher in a truly righteous new
know, O Yahweh, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in
a man who walks to direct his own steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23)
We can appreciate
the great efforts of organisations such as the UN Commission on Refugees,
the World Food Program, and the World Health Organisation. But it’s
true that relief organisations are often ham-strung by the complacency
and self-centredness of the nations. Good intentions are often thwarted
by selfish motives.
is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
(King Solomon - Proverbs 14:12)
The fact is that
the world is on a rollercoaster, heading for the Great Depression, and
the Great Tribulation. Man needs the Almighty God to direct his steps,
and to deliver him from his self-induced disaster!
Yahweh knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will
perish.” (Psalm 1:6)
NOT THE ANSWER!
August 2000, more than 1,500 religious leaders from over 100 countries
and all religions, gathered in New York for a four-day Peace Summit aimed
at forging a relationship with the United Nations, in an effort to advance
the cause of peace and humanity.
While it is right
that all religions should reject intoler-ance, racism, fanaticism, violence
and terrorism, the answer to the world’s warring, discrimination
and exploitation is not in the hands of the “united religions.”
A gathering of disparate religions simply does not have a true unity or
COMMITTEE IS NOT THE ANSWER!
Henri Spaack, an early planner of the European Common Market, and a secretary-general
of NATO, said in one of his speeches:
“We do not
want another committee. What we want is a man of sufficient stature to
hold the allegiance of all people and to lift us out of the economic morass
into which we are sinking. Send us such a man, and be he God or devil,
we will receive him.”
WORLD NEEDS A SAVIOUR!
day is coming when the world will receive a Satan-possessed man - that
evil one, the Antichrist. And I am sure most of my readers will agree
that we don’t need a devil.
What we need is a
Saviour; but any saviour less than the Almighty will not do. We need God’s
Anointed One. We need Him individually; every nation needs Him.
SOLUTION FOR OUR TROUBLED WORLD IS THE PERSON OF THE MESSIAH - JESUS CHRIST.
is the Messiah who will displace all injustice and unrighteousness. It
is the Messiah who will establish truth and peace; it is He who will restore
our environment and install a true spiritual-social regime where prosperity
and holiness embrace. And Jesus, Y’shua the Messiah - the eternal
Yahweh - is the One who will return soon to reign “from shore to
all the trees of the forest will sing for joy before Yahweh, for He is
coming; for He is coming to judge the earth! He will judge the world in
righteousness, and the peoples in His faithfulness.” (Psalm 96:12-13)
He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet.” (1 Corinthians
Until He returns,
our unjust economic system will continue to get worse; our political systems
will become more totalitarian; our religious systems will become apostate,
and more intolerant. Until Messiah comes, social conditions will deteriorate.
and persecution are marks of history, and they are, tragically, realities
of the present world order. And so alarming conditions have been prophesied
for these end times:
realize this, that in the last days perilous times will come. For men
will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers,
revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy , without natural
affection, unloving, unforgiving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips,,
without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, treacherous, reckless,
conceited, lovers of sensual pleasures rather than lovers of God; holding
to a form of godliness (spiritual life), although they have denied its
power.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
Because of the exploding
wickedness in the world, God has appointed a day of judgment:
has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness.”
That day is called
the Great Tribulation.
there will be great tribulation, such as has never occurred since the
beginning of the world until now; and there will be nothing like it again.”
That is the seven-year
mega-disaster. In fact, it will be a period of disaster upon disaster;
it includes earthquakes, cyclones, famine, plagues, pestilences, wars,
nuclear destruction, scorching heat, poisoned rivers and oceans, asteroids
or comets hitting the earth, a worldwide satanic dictatorship, great persecution,
and much more.
That is not good
news for our present corrupt and violent society. But friend, this is
not the end! There is good news ...
THE MESSIAH IS COMING TO DELIVER HIS PEOPLE
Heavenly Master is coming before the Tribulation, to receive and to deliver
His people. He says to all who trust in Him and confess Him as their Saviour:
not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My
Father’s House are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would
have told you, for I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if
I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to
Myself, so that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3)
How will this happen?
The Bible makes it
“For the Master
Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel,
and with the trumpet call of God. Then the dead in Christ - those who
died in union with the Messiah - shall rise first.
we, the living believers who remain, will simultaneously be caught up
together with them in the clouds, to meet the Master in the air. And so
we will be with the Master for ever.” (2 Thessalonians 4:16-17)