• Poor Service: What Poverty Eradication Day Means in Ireland

    Eradicate poverty day jcfj webThe only public service available to the poor, for which there is no waiting list, is the prison service, says Peter McVerry SJ.

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  • The Emaciated Conversation about Global Poverty

    global growth webGlobal poverty is one of those seemingly rare topics where there might be good news to celebrate, says Kevin Hargaden.

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  • Poverty and the Environment

    poverty ecologyPoverty is an ecological problem. Although degradation of the environment affects all human populations, it hits those living in poverty the hardest, says Catherine Devitt.

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  • Ending Poverty For All Must Include Prisoners

    Prison 400 x 297The first of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals commits to ending poverty in all forms everywhere. If we are to take this seriously it needs to include people in prison and their families, says Eoin Carroll.

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About the Centre

The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice works to combat injustice and marginalisation in Irish society, through social analysis, education and advocacy.

The Centre highlights complex social issues, informs opinion and advocates for governmental policy change to create a fair and equitable society for all.

Analysis on our Key Issues

People in prison are amongst the most marginalised and vulnerable in our society. The majority have left school early, experience literacy and learning difficulties and have a history of unemployment... Click here to view all of our material on Penal Policy

Environmental protection has emerged as a key element of social justice debates in recent decades... Click here to view all of our material on Environmental Justice

The right to a safe and secure place to live is one of the most basic human rights, it is fundamental to enable people to live a dignified life... Click here to view all of our material on Housing Policy

In our political discourse, every question of human flourishing seems to be reduced to bottom-line thinking. This focus on riches impoverishes our shared discourse and has serious negative consequences for society Click here to view material on Economic Justice

The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice focuses on a number of other issues... Explore all here

Our Journal


Exploring Social Justice

Why Care - Social Justice Awareness for Younger People

The Future of the Euro?

euro crisis 250There is an economic crisis in Europe, in particular a deepening crisis in euro zone countries. What is the future of the Euro?

This issue of Working Notes contains four articles that address this question. The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice is one of a number of Jesuit social centres in Europe featuring articles on these topics in Jesuit-published journals during spring/summer 2012.

In the opening article of this issue, Kevin O'Rourke provides an historical perspective on the development of European Monetary Union (EMU) and the difficulties with which it is now faced. He suggests that the process of designing EMU in the 1980s reflected 'the intellectual fashions and policy preoccupations of that decade'. These fashions and preoccupations were 'at odds' with Europe's post-war tradition of social democracy (which had both shaped the economic and social policies of individual countries and influenced the movement towards European integration) and at odds too with the economic lessons of the 1930s. He argues: 'Europe needs to relearn those lessons, and re-engage with its social democratic past, if it is to survive this crisis unscathed'. He points to the dangers of the 'drive towards generalised austerity', and suggests that it is not just the economic harm of such an approach but the even higher political costs in the longer term that should be of concern.

In the second article, Tom McDonnell writes that the creation of a European single currency was 'arguably the most ambitious experiment in monetary union ever undertaken', with the euro instantly becoming the second most important currency on the planet. However, over the past four years the twin sovereign and banking crises have exposed the deficiencies and internal inconsistencies of the 'architecture' of EMU. Tom McDonnell suggests that many of these architectural flaws can be remedied, and that 'ultimately the success or failure of EMU will come down to political capacity and will'. He argues that changes to the system of economic governance of the EU need to include monitoring of social indicators such as poverty rates and income distribution, and concludes: 'The euro zone of 2020 should be a union that puts social justice centre- stage'.

The social impact of the euro crisis, and of the overall economic situation in the EU, is the theme of an article by Robin Hanan of the European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN) Ireland. Drawing on information and analyses assembled by EAPN members throughout Europe, he shows the multiple and in many cases devastating social effects of the crisis. Not only has unemployment risen significantly but in many countries there has been curtailment of employee rights, as well as an increasingly harsh application of work activation policies. Living standards have been squeezed from many directions, with reductions in incomes, increases in taxes and charges, and cuts in benefits and services. Robin Hanan argues that austerity policies risk undermining social rights and the European social model. He calls for social impact assessments of the causes and consequences of the crisis and a re-think of the development model that has predominated in recent decades.

In the final article of this issue, Ray Kinsella and Maurice Kinsella suggest that the post-2007 global financial crisis is above all an ethical crisis, which has seen a collapse of solidarity within the European Union. They argue that, in the aftermath of the Second World War, it was the principle of solidarity which generated the dynamic for a new beginning – one which opened the way for the nations of Europe to build economic and social relationships based on shared values such as freedom, justice, equality and mutual respect. That solidarity has, they suggest, been 'crowded out' in the EU's management of the euro crisis; there has been an absence of vision, a failure of leadership, a marginalisation of the people of Europe from the decision-making process and the imposition of heavy burdens on weaker Member States. In the authors' view: 'Unless and until the true meaning of solidarity is rediscovered and reanimated within the political leadership of the EU, there is unlikely to be economic stabilisation and recovery.'

* The other Jesuit centres involved in the initiative are: Ceras-Projet, Paris (http://www.ceras-projet.org); Centre Avec, Brussels (http://www.centreavec.be); Aggiornamenti Sociali, Milan (http://www.aggiornamentisociali.it); Jesuit European Social Centre, Brussels (http://www.jesc.net); Cristianisme i Justícia, Barcelona (http://www.cristianismeijusticia.net).

European Monetary Union in Historical Perspective

The Social Impact of the Economic Crisis in Europe

Where Do We Want the Euro to be in 2020 and How Do We Get There? 

The Implosion of Solidarity: A Critique of the Euro Zone Crisis 

Posted in Economic Policy News

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