Gerry O'Hanlon in Tasc blog: Asking the Right Question

We are understandably concerned about economic recovery in Ireland these days. But given that ‘recovery’ might be taken to imply a return to a previously desirable state, perhaps we need to reframe the question that we ask. If we ask ‘how do we recover’, we are in danger, in our public discourse, of letting conventional indicators like a pick-up in retail sales, an increase in property values, a rise in consumer sentiment, even – the Holy Grail! – growth in GDP and GNP, become the sole normative criteria for what might too easily become a return to ‘business as usual’. That would be a pity. Given what we have learned about the serious flaws in our ‘business as usual’ model, it might be better to ask a different sort of question that might push us in a more radical direction – so, for example, ‘how do we create a new economic model that is sustainable’?
The predominantly neo-liberal, infinite-growth model of the recent past has let us down. It was shot through with an economism which meant that an obsession with economic growth trumped so many other human values. It was riddled with inequalities both within and between nations, in ways which made solidarity unsustainable. And its focus on consumption did serious damage to our planet, as well as failing to make us happier.

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Working Notes: A New Economic Paradigm?

Working Notes: A New Economic Paradigm?

Even as the global economy shows signs of recovery from the financial and economic shocks of the past two years, worrying questions remain. Just how robust is the recovery: is it possible we may yet face a ‘double dip’ recession? How long until economic growth translates into a fall in unemployment? How severe will be the social, as well as the economic, impact of governments having to deal with the public debt incurred in order to prevent a deeper recession?

More fundamental questions are also emerging. The word ‘recovery’ implies a return to a desired state. However, it is increasingly being argued that resumption of a consumption-driven and environmentally-damaging form of growth is neither feasible nor desirable. Commentators coming from very different starting points are drawing attention to the need for radical change in our thinking and policies if we are to achieve just and sustainable development.

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The Recession and God: Where do we go from here?

The Recession and God: Where do we go from here?A Public Talk by
Fr. Gerry O’Hanlon, S.J., (Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice)
and
Dr. Nat O'Connor (TASC)

Chairperson:  Ms. Dearbhail McDonald (Irish Independent)

Thursday, 11 March, 2010 - Manresa

The Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising…it counts the destruction of the redwood…it does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials…it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile’ - Robert Kennedy, 1968.

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Poor pay for reckless spending, says priest

PATSY McGARRY Religious Affairs Correspondent

Mon, Nov 16, 2009

A JESUIT priest has challenged possible reductions in social welfare, stating that the poorest were being forced to pay for reckless spending.

Why, given the behaviour of our banks, given Nama (National Asset Management Agency), are we talking about reducing social welfare rates, asked Fr Gerry O’Hanlon. It suggested “that Ireland’s poorest people are being forced to pay for the recklessness and corrupt activity of a number of extremely wealthy people and institutions”, he said.

Fr O’Hanlon was speaking at the annual citizenship service in Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral yesterday.

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Government Proposals to Deal with Economic Crisis Lack Fairness

News Release

Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice

Jesuit priest and leading social campaigner, Fr Peter McVerry SJ, has claimed that the Government’s approach to dealing with the current economic crisis is marked by a lack of fairness and an unwillingness to ask the wealthy to contribute in proportion to their resources. In effect, he says, the poor can’t pay; those who can, aren’t being asked to.

Writing in the November 2009 issue of Working Notes, the journal of the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, Fr McVerry says that the approach being adopted reflects the reality that people who are poor or vulnerable have little or no influence on policy, and that those who make the decisions reflect the views and interests of the better-off sections of our society, of which they themselves are part.

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