“For the record, minimum wage in Honduras is over a dollar an hour. The rest of Central America is similar. On the off chance you care.”
This was a tweet-response that a classmate of mine wrote today as we hit some final topics in our Theology and Culture class, while the professor talked about Globalization. And my immediate response was to jokingly say who does care? Not because that’s what I actually think, but that’s how I think we actually operate.
But then the thought occurred to me. We get outraged (or pretend to be) by the unequal distribution of wealth. And I think that reveals an underlying worship of money. We see our global neighbors living in squalor, and if we’re motivated enough, we throw some money at them–or try to. And how much actually gets to where we think it needs to go, anyway? How much is our belief system Money Will Make It All Better actually working?
I don’t really see money as the actual source of happiness and well-being. Quality of life is not exclusively linked to finances.
So when I see my friend’s comment about the wages in Central America, I don’t get particularly outraged or saddened. What I want to know is, do they have access to education? Health care? Sanitation? Avenues of communication? Vaccines? Clean water? Governments and police forces run with far less corruption?
But Nicky, you say, those things take money. And yes, that can’t be gotten away from, in the current state of our world. But what I am saying, is that if we simply send more money, or get the minimum wage to be doubled in Honduras, the problems aren’t going to go away.
I’m asking, what will it take to improve the quality of life for those people who make $1 per hour? I’m suggesting it will take more than our money. It takes our participation. It takes our community.
At that point, we can bring our cash with us if we like.