News Archives » Economic Justice
Norway Conducts First Creditor Debt Audit August 20th, 2013
August 15 was an historic day for international debt justice. The Norwegian government launched the world’s first audit commissioned by a creditor, which evaluated the debt that developing countries owe to Norway. The report found that four of the 34 contracts were not in line with the UN Principles for Promoting Responsible Sovereign Lending and Borrowing from the UN Conference for Trade and Development (the UNCTAD Principles).
Regulators Warned Against Allowing Abusive Payday Lending March 22nd, 2013
The Oblate JPIC Office joined nearly three hundred national organizations, state and local organizations, and concerned individuals in a letter against payday lending abusers organized by the Center for Responsible Lending.
According to the letter, “Direct deposit “advance” loans offered by a handful of banks, including Wells Fargo, US Bank, Fifth Third, Regions, Bank of Oklahoma and its related banking divisions, and Guaranty Bank, are structured and function just like loans from payday loan stores – carrying a high-cost combined with a short-term balloon repayment. Research has long shown that payday loans trap borrowers in a cycle of expensive long-term debt, causing serious financial harm to borrowers, including increased likelihood of bankruptcy, paying credit card debts and other bills late, delayed medical care, and loss of basic banking privileges because of repeated overdrafts. Payday lending has a particularly adverse impact on African Americans and Latinos, as a disproportionate share of payday borrowers come from communities of color. High cost, short-term balloon repayments, and the consequent series of repeat loans, have long been identified by regulators as features of predatory lending.
Spiritual Grounding for Economics April 1st, 2012
We would like to share a very interesting article on economics (translated from the Portugese) by Father Marcelo Barros, OSB, Brazilian writer and theologian. The article examines the concept of a spiritual economy and the importance of linking human needs and aspirations with the basic rationale of any economy:“As in all fields of life and human activity, spirituality must give a soul to the economy. Without the spirit, the economy lets itself dominate the market as an idol. And money transforms itself into a fetish. The market, that in itself is a human institution of interchange and of relations between persons and between groups, has become an absolute and disconnected from the rest. To such a point that we could denounce with Jesus: “the market was made for human beings and not human beings for the market”. In the last decades of the twentieth century, the economy became more than ever centered in money and in capital titles, with authoritarian neoliberalism and predominance (arrogance).”
Fr. Barros was ordained to the priesthood in 1969 by Dom Helder Camara , and for nearly ten years, from 1967 to 1976 , served as secretary and adviser to Dom Helder for ecumenical affairs. He is the author of at least six books, and has been an active member of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (EATWOT).
Act to Stop Usurious Payday Lending! February 23rd, 2012
US Regulators receive letter from over 250 organizations and individuals on usurious loans.
Over 250 organizations and individual advocates – including the Oblates and other faith-based groups – have joined the call to stop banks from extending predatory payday loans. These loans carry triple-digit annual interest rates of as much as 400 percent.
Consumers can join the call for regulators to stop bank payday lending by signing a petition at: http://rspnsb.li/vZb3iH
Learn about the problem of predatory payday lending in this video from Center for Responsible Lending.
Click here to read more »
January 11, 2012 — Human Trafficking Awareness Day January 5th, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the U.S., thanks to passage of a resolution by the Senate on June 22, 2007 making January 11th a day of awareness and vigilance for the countless victims of Human Trafficking around the world.
Human Trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, and forceful detention of people either from one country to another, or within countries. Threats, force and/or deception are typical. Those being exploited are either unpaid, or given a very small payment for their work, prostitution or other sexual exploitation, and are not free to leave these abusive situations. Each year, there are between 600,000 and 800,000 people trafficked across borders throughout the world. There are many more trafficked within countries as well. The United States is not immune to this problem; Many are trafficked within U.S. borders, as well as into the U.S. from outside.
Human Trafficking is rapidly growing, despite the efforts of many to control it. Wherever there is poverty, war, flood, famine, or any kind of upheaval, unscrupulous people prey on the vulnerable. Women and children are especially affected, but many men are as well.
Many of us are unaware of the number of slaves (yes, slaves) we use to maintain our lifestyles. Go to www.slaveryfootprint.org for a series of questions that will show how many slaves it takes to maintain the way you live.
For ideas on what to do, check out the website for Breaking the Snares – A resource for parishes to use in combating Human Trafficking by the Sisters of the Divine Savior; see their parish resource.
In addition, explore the following:
- Stop Trafficking Newsletter and other resources: http://www.stopenslavement.org/archive.htm#handouts
- End Child Prostitution and Trafficking: www.ecpat.net (Website also available in French and Spanish)
- Google The Dark Side of Chocolate to find several sites that show how children in Africa are involved in the chocolate that is so available to us.
Vatican Suggestions for Financial Reform Debated November 8th, 2011
“Robert A. Sirico’s “The Vatican’s Monetary Wisdom” (op-ed, Oct. 27) correctly praises the analysis of the causes of the financial crisis that was included in the Vatican’s statement on reforming the financial system. His summary dismissal of the suggested responses in the document clearly states that no sovereign or international regulatory authority is up to the task of regulating the major actors in the financial sector. Are we then to believe that they will do it themselves?
Haven’t we just experienced the consequences of deregulation, regulatory arbitrage and the capture of elected officials and assemblies by banks and industry associations? Greater cooperation, coordination and collaboration among sovereign regulators and authorities, as the Vatican suggested, is a step in the right direction if the public is to have a safe, stable and fair financial system that is worthy of their trust and their transactions.”
The Rev. Seamus P. Finn OMI