Anthea Cox speaks at the launch of "Prosperity With a Purpose"

"It continues to be a radical concept to create wealth withthe purpose of delivering social justice."

Anthea Cox, Methodist Coordinating Secretary for Public Life andSocial Justice, spoke today at the launch of the ecumenical reportProsperity With a Purpose. Two books were launched, both aimed atchurches seeking to explore ethical and Christian responses toeconomic issues. Prosperity with a Purpose: Christians and theEthics of Affluence contains the conclusions and recommendations ofthe working party that produced the report. Prosperity with aPurpose: Exploring the Ethics of Affluence is a collection ofessays offering a range of detailed individual opinions fromworking party members.

Prosperity with a Purpose is a major ecumenical project producedby Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI). It drawstogether all the issues relating to economic life, including trade,environmentalism, poverty, development and equality, and looks atChristian responses to all of these. It aims to spark discussionwithin and between churches as the best ways to look at prosperityfor the entire world from a Christian viewpoint.

Anthea Cox was one of the invited speakers at the launch, heldtoday at the House of Lords. Other speakers were Clifford Longley;the Rev Tom Butler, Bishop of Southwark; Bishop Bernard Longley ofthe Roman Catholic church; and the Rev Alison Elliot, Moderator ofthe General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

An edited version of Anthea's talk is given below. A fullversion is available on request.

"I am grateful to the working group and authors of Prosperitywith a Purpose for working ecumenically to identify thatprosperity, social justice and the alleviation of poverty travelhand in hand and envisioning how this journey may continue.

Last week I found myself acting against my principles andstanding in a long queue in Nike World in Oxford Circus in order tobuy a black and white anti racism wristband for my 11-year-old son.Nike is essentially a marketing and design firm. Like allsuccessful global brands it makes a profit from the world'sinequalities. Philip Knight, the chairman of Nike, receives asalary bonuses and other compensation totalling over $4.2 million.The Indonesian workers employed to produce goods for Nike earn $786a year, just 0.02 of 1% of Chairman's Salary and Bonus

Every encounter we have with each person and product has thestory of globalisation behind it. But it is only occasionally thatwe have this revealed to us. Our daily existence is continuallydependent upon unseen injustice elsewhere in the world.

How do we break out of this cycle?

We live in the same pattern the world over, cities that look thesame, where the dominant culture is globalised, where you listen toreggae on your iPod, watch westerns, eat MacDonald's, drinkStarbucks, wear Paris perfume. We end up with cities that displaythe extremes of wealth and poverty side by side.

At the end of last year I was able to visit Nanjing in Chinawhere you can almost see economic change happening like a speededup film. Increasing national GDP is clearly lifting many out ofpoverty, but at the same time there was the sobering realisationthat prosperity is being built upon exploitive employmentconditions and massive environmental damage. W

There is a danger that we are living in an age where economicintegration and development financial global power has outstrippedthe growth of civil society or international legal protection forthe poor and marginalized. Governments need to define the frameworkto enable globalisation to benefit all. The shaping of globalstructures needs to balance the motivation of a narrowself-interest with adequate concern for a concept of the commongood.

Ultimately we require a partnership across many levels withbusiness and civil society working in partnership to defineprosperity in terms that all can understand.

Buying fairly traded coffee is important, but it is not going tochange a world where 30,000 die on a daily basis due to poverty.Instead taking personal responsibility for effecting change incorporate and political processes does have the potential to makechange.

By mobilising mass concern, MAKE POVERTY HISTORY has thepotential to influence and change corporate and politicalstructures in a way that could break the spiral of increasingglobalisation. It is right that the churches are a significantvoice in the coalition.

The churches can offer a vision of mutuality and responsibilitythat enables a claiming back of our world. We can continue toquestion hierarchies and domination and make persistent demand forsocial equality and justice.

If every encounter has the story of globalisation behind it,there are unlimited possibilities of meeting strangers in ourmidst. We see the face of the world in our every day lives. Perhapsone of the most powerful aspects of the fair trade agenda isenabling the consumer to relate to the producer.

Social Justice cannot be delivered without prosperity and thecreation of wealth. But it continues to be a radical concept tocreate wealth with the purpose of delivering social justice. Socialjustice cannot be a maybe that comes when wealth has been createdas the end result of a process that has been exploitative of peopleor the environment.

Prosperity with a Purpose shows that the churches have a role inenvisioning a better world, as churches we are part of our ownglobal network that has power of influence and thought, we canbring the conscience of the world's poor to the board room and thefactory and the debating chamber.

Let us do so."


More information about Prosperity with a Purpose can be found atthe CTBI web site: http://www.ctbi.org.uk/index.php?op=modload&name=knowledge&file=kbasepage&LinkID=295
That pages also contains information about ordering copies of thebooks.