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Link to the mandala of Brother Nicholas of the Flueli
Christoph Albrecht SJ

No Alliance with Structural Violence!

Necessary Church Developments
in the Age of Globalization

German Version


    Published in: Anna Findl-Ludescher and others. (Ed.), Die Welt in der Nussschale, Impulse aus Ortskirchen im Horizont der Weltkirche, Echter-Verlag Würzburg 2005, 239-256.



1.   Introduction - A Biographical Placing
2.  The Splitting of Mankind - A Minority Swimming in the Gold Stream,
      the Majority Hungering and Thirsting in the Desert
2.1. Causes and Consequences of the neo-liberal Globalization
       - Phenomenological Approach
2.2. The Internal Logic of the neo-liberal Globalization - Social-Ethical Uncovering
2.3. A Mistake of Grave Consequence - Theological Clarification
3.   Challenges from a Christian and Church View
3.1. Three Levels of Christian Alternatives
3.2. The Conflict at the Root of Inner-Church Arguments
3.3. Inter and Transconfessional Alliance in View of the "New" Empire
4.   "Things Not Done by You, Cannot Be Thought by You"


1. Introduction - A Biographical Placing

From 1993 to 1995 I lived on the outskirts of the Bolivian city Cochabamba. I worked at a boarding school for young people from different regions of Bolivia. All pupils came from families that belong to the large majority of the poor. Their parents actively participated in the organization of social life in their Barrios or remote village settlements. The everyday contact with those young people gave me a lively impression of the cultural variety of the Bolivian people. The different ways, in which they tackled the school challenges, their different behaviour patterns in social life surprised me time and again. But the school administration regarded just those differences as chance for a common intercultural learning.

The fact that I as European could become to a certain degree a member of that learning community gave me an impression how it could be on a large scale. The title of this book is "The World in a Nutshell". Please, do not misunderstand it as the attempt to show the complex global reality with all its facets quasi in miniature. By my cooperation in that school I rather felt the value of the innumerable small projects of international cooperation which are dedicated to the promotion of an alternative economic project {1}. In the following sections I will return to the urgency to stabilize and link local and regional structures of a non-neo-liberalistic economy.

At the same time I become aware of the limits of my personal solidarity whenever my Bolivian friends encourage me to come soon to Bolivia again. How can I accept such an invitation in the knowledge that I can afford such a journey from Switzerland at relatively small expenses, whereas for them a journey from Bolivia to Europe would only be possible at large financial expenditures, and only by the support of family members? Here I clearly feel the inequality of living conditions, by which people of the industrialized countries are separated from those who are living in the formerly so-called "Third World" {2}.

Those two seemingly harmless examples let me feel the ambivalence of a world-wide effective process generally called globalization. Globalization is a bundle of quite different phenomena which have in common that they are expressions of an intensified world-wide entwinement of events and actions. Even when I cannot deal in this article with all the questions suggesting themselves with it, I would like to mention here some of them, in order to open the horizon within which I expose the further steps: What does the real existing globalization mean for the different countries, peoples and cultures? Who does predominantly profit by the at present dominant neo-liberal globalization? Who are its losers? How do the different models of globalization behave to each other? And: What has the church which is entrusted with the message of a universal salvation to say about a society structured by mechanisms of exclusion? What role is played by the different people movements (movimientos populares), the church base communities, and the theologies of liberation in the struggle for alternative models of globalization? What basic options and decisions are to be made by the church hierarchy, in order to avoid that destructive powers see themselves ideologically supported by a doubtful theological justification?


2. The Splitting of Mankind
A Minority Swimming in the Gold Stream
The Majority Hungering and Thirsting in the Desert

2.1. Consequences and Causes of the Neo-Liberal Globalization - Phenomenological Approach

There are places where the things that everywhere happen come more clearly to light, because here people suffer decidedly more from the destructive consequences than elsewhere. In this sense in countries that are more strongly affected by neo-liberal prescriptions than others a particularly informative observation of social developments is possible.

In order to specify and coordinate their apostolic priorities for the first decade of the new millennium the Bolivian Jesuits launched in 1999 a consultation and discussion process which aimed at the social, economic, political, and religious development of the country {3}. One of the most significant observations was the increasing social distance between those who can use the new communication technologies, the increasing offers of the market, travel possibilities, liberty of financial transactions and those who are excluded from them by lack of money, knowledge or relations. Xavier Albó SJ, who as anthropologist examined the social dimension of Bolivia's development, stated that a thin middle upper class as well as an even thinner upper class which are more familiar with the advantages of globalization than with the reality of their neighbourhood, live in so-called 'civilization islands' with all-round providing, whereas in the adjacent quarters of the poor the living conditions constantly worsen {4}.

That tendency is not limited to the Bolivian reality. Following Ulrich Beck I call that development "Brasilianization" of society {5}. What does it mean? - The islands of prosperity, which have more in common with castles than with islands, distinguish themselves in the heavily indebted countries already more pronouncedly from the neglected public areas. They form the longer the more a net of production, distribution and consumption that functions completely independently of those people who fall out of that process. In the discourse of the neo-liberal system they are regarded as superfluous and annoying. The cynicism of politics supporting that system appears in the economic and military measures which indirectly or directly aim at decimating the number of those excluded people {6}.

The scandal of that polarization lies not only in the fact that the army of the excluded is kept away from the castles of Western civilization but that those castles destroy the rest of the world; after they have economically exploited it, now they also ecologically plunder it and swamp it with garbage and poison. As a result the conditions on which the excluded live become worse and worse. Ethically quite well meant solutions proceeding from the question how the excluded can be taken into the castles go not far enough for reasons of ecology: First, raw materials and bound sources of energy are limited; secondly, the extra burden of discharged poisonous substances would definitely tilt the balance of the biosphere {7}. But also for reasons of anthropology and theology a one-sided integration of the excluded cannot succeed. For that would mean that they were forced to ignore their own culture and to accept the culture of the dominant castle system.

A practicable as well as ethically and theologically correct way rather leads to promoting the culture and the life of the excluded, protecting the bases for their life, and saving them from the final exploitation by the castles.

But a policy and market regulation that differs from the neo-liberal deregulation is not only crucial for the surviving of the people who are excluded from the prosperity castles, but on a fairly long-term basis also for those who participate in prosperity. For the prosperity bringing effects of the capitalist system are spatially and temporally limited. In view of the saturated markets the law of forced growth demands the further expansion of the capitalistic exploitation of work and matter. From the beginning of colonization its exploitative effects could be removed to the respectively most disadvantaged regions. But the earth has firm boundaries. The growth of turnover and profit, i.e. of accumulation necessary for the maintenance of the system must therefore continue in a different direction. First it happens by privatisation of all socially shared goods, such as services and biological and intellectual resources. But where accumulation by production no longer exists, there accumulation is done via expropriation {8}. Apparently expropriation can peacefully occur: via devaluation of foreign economies or by buying them up - as it happened e.g. in 1997 with the Asiatic Tiger States, or by with military means, when the present centre of power does no longer see any possibility of securing its supremacy with the help of the financial establishment and of large combines {9}. On the basis of the present development of the US-American economic policy can be seen once more how a system that promotes shocking economic inequality amongst people, must from a certain point of time become totalitarian when it does nothing against the more and more glaring contrasts. Capitalism becomes totalitarian where it is not by political instruments confronted with different values, as in the Rhenish Capitalism {10}. Neo-liberal capitalism is an illusionary taking the bull by the horns. As ideology it is unable to accept different political concepts {11}.


2.2. The Inner Logic of neo-liberal Globalization - Social Ethical Uncovering

Among the economic experts are only a few who realize that the largest economic challenges cannot be mastered by economic strategies alone and who have the courage to call a spade a spade {12}. An ethically founded criticism of the ideological character of neo-liberalism was and is done by numerous philosophers {13} and theologians {14}. They uncover the neo-liberal logic as a system that argues with religious terms and asks for an absolute belief in the functioning of the unimpaired market.

Already in the seventies of the last century Friedrich August von Hayek, the "father" of neo-liberalism, presented the philosophical-theological theory proceeding from the epistemological principle that it is impossible to know completely the functioning of economy and market relations. From there Hayek draws the conclusion that the fundamental evil, the original sin, is man's desire to create the good, what presupposed the arrogance of knowledge. Since it is impossible to do the good, the only concern must be to avoid as far as possible any wrongdoing. In that logic the basic evil to be fought is "the temptation to do the good" {15}. The distortion of the meaning of solidarity and justice carried out with it is based on a pessimistic view of humankind which is applied to the sphere of economy in such a way that you advice people to reject any responsibility for social inequalities {16}. Every decision that tries to correct the mechanisms proceeding "by itself" - for instance by solidarity with the economical losers - would reduce the efficiency of the "free market" {17}.

According to the neo-liberal paradigm "morally good" is what promotes efficiency most. Solidarity with the poor and compensation of incomes outside the market mechanisms distort competition and obstruct the "good" functioning of the market. Thus justice gets the meaning of obedience to the "natural law" of the market. It would be "unjust" and "sin" to terminate solidarity with the competitor by sharing and solidarity with the needy {18}. Ethical and moral basic conceptions have an ideological basis. But what "God" is hidden behind the exclusion of the neediest?


2.3. A Mistake of Grave Consequence - Theological Clarification

In an impressing way Thomas Ruster shows how also within Christianity and within the churches the God of Jesus Christ can time and again be confused with idols, what leads to serious consequences for the churches' part in moulding society {19}. First he discusses Walter Benjamin's thesis that capitalism was to be regarded as religion {20}. According to Ruster this applies under the precondition of an understanding of religion in which religion is the representation of that reality which determines everything {21}. That means "the original paganism [has] at first understood religion certainly not as 'higher', 'moral' interest but as the most immediate practical"; as "today's capitalism too is not aware of its 'non-material' or 'transcendental' nature" {22}. According to Benjamin capitalism satisfies "essentially the same worries, agonies and unrests which formerly had been answered by the so-called religions". It is "a pure cult religion" and "is probably the first case of a cult that does not expiate but encumber with debts" {23}.

Just in that functionalistic understanding of religion the God of capitalism is Money. The God-like qualities of money can be seen by many examples. "Money is omnipresent and omnipotent, and it lets those who have enough of it participate in these divine attributes." Reversely it "depends on faith like God". Money is provided with security by faith in its value {24}. With the help of John May Keyne's analyses Ruster proves that money, as soon as it makes itself independent of its function as mere medium of exchange and serves for the accumulation of values, will be used to secure one's future. "For the importance of money comes essentially from the fact that is a link between present and future" {25}. That is the reason for the liquidity preference of money, which leads to its accumulation. But this accumulation, which - due to interest and speculation - is possible even without any production of goods, causes on the one hand an artificial shortage of capital and on the other hand its devaluation {26}. From there Ruster reminds of the dramatic observations of Martin Luther, who had to witness how usury, which was called in the entire Biblical tradition "vice, sin or dishonour", was praised as "sheer virtue and honour" {27}. Luther recognized in the power that money can exert over human decisions, the "most mean idol", "that is called Mammon"{28}. In a society determined by money it will be the social reality that determines everything. That means, in the conflict between God and idol God obviously stands on the side of the losers {29}. The consequences of that discovery become apparent in the conflict of Christian communities and churches about the socio-political and pastoral basic options.


3. Challenges from a Christian and Church View

3.1. Three Levels of Christian Alternatives

It is often overlooked that there are - from the church basis up to the highest ranges of church organizations - clear answers to the exploitation and destruction logic of the (financial) powers, and that innumerable people testify with their (way of) life Christ's message of universal solidarity. In the context of the question about basic alternatives to neo-liberal capitalism as way of life, I would like to distinguish here three levels. On each of them an engagement for the weak is possible, but unfortunately these levels are seldom connected with each other. Hence the synergies which would be possible from their interaction are rather seldom used. I will return to this problem further below. For the present the three levels are briefly outlined here:

With the first level I mean the life choice of those who live amongst the poor and show their solidarity by accepting the possibly same living conditions in order to make the excluded more familiar with the gospel, out of which they as community and as individuals experience an empowerment and an authorization for independent action {30}. To it belong the 'communities of insertion' {31} as well as many projects (schools, hospitals, workshops) in the southern countries built and also supported by Christian welfare organizations and churches. Like a large patch carpet they all contribute to improve locally or regionally the economical and social conditions. But they formulate no explicit resistance against the totalitarian tendencies in economy and politics.

The second level marks the protest and resistance movements. There are such that develop from church initiatives, others unite people who cooperate from a decidedly Christian conviction or also such ones that call themselves neither church nor Christian but are moulded by Christian basic values {32}.

A third level on which possibly an engagement for justice for the poor can be seen is formed by the representative organs of church communities. Also on this highest level in different churches, religious communities, and bishop's committees efforts are made to condemn with clear words the scandal of social and ecological injustice and of structural violence against the weak. Just in general statements the church hierarchies find time and again amazingly clear words and there is no lack of church documents clarifying social-ethical principles. From the papal circular Rerum novarum (1891) up to the newest encyclical letter Centesimus annus (1991) the Popes accuse unrestricted capitalism as well as the national expropriation principles of communism. John Paul II warned against an "untamed capitalism", demanded for all countries a "fair access to the international market" {33}, and underlined the necessity for political restrictions of the market {34}. The Latin American bishops gave their view on these questions even more clearly at the second and third general assembly of the Latin American Bishops' Conferences in Medellín and Puebla {35}. The meeting in Puebla emphasized the judgement about systems which set wealth absolute, for this plunges the majority of people into extreme poverty {36}.


3.2. The Conflict at the Root of Inner-Church Arguments

Why could those comprehensive socio-political apostolic efforts up to now effect no turn? Answers to such a question can surely be given on each of the three levels with the statement: the forces of liberation are faced by powers that are stronger. There is, e.g. compared with the total number of pastoral workers a relatively small number of people who are living as 'communities of insertion'. But in that kind of pastoral and social projects people engaged in them could learn best from those whom they wish to help. Often just those people who make in a certain sense an existential "downward career" are so enabled to 'look beyond the edge of the plate' of their own organization or church. They even join social movements to support political demands in favour of the weakest {37}. Religious orders and dioceses should therefore let their students of theology live close to the poor {38}.

On the level of protest- and resistance movements above all the problem of lacking support within traditional church circles is pressing. The commitment of those who have become active in that way is still too little supported or even disapproved of by large parts of the church. While on the first level many donations are made even from people who rather belong to the politically right spectrum, the protest- and resistance movements get far less confidence from the inner church circles. But those movements could become the (missing) link to the third level, so that church teachings on social and economic questions become relevant also for decisions in the economic-political everyday life.

Just in view of the fact that the neo-liberal paradigm has seized even large parts of the churches, the church hierarchy should more decidedly demand to co-operate with social movements. Just because in the neo-liberal logic the "striving for the good is regarded as principal cause for evil" and "cold-bloodedness and cynicism - in view of the social problems - as highest ethical virtue, […] it is not enough to demand social justice and solidarity in an abstract doctrinal way" {39}. That lament remains ineffective when it has no self-obligating character. In spite of (his) directive social encyclical letters, John Paul II did e.g. not succeed in drawing - from the positions represented there - consequences for his personnel policy. For more than a quarter of a century he appointed bishops only those who practically associated more intimately with advocates of the liberalized market than with laymen, members of religious orders and priests engaged in social justice {40}. Bishops however who use their social position to help those who lead a marginal existence to get a voice, are distrustfully observed from Rome {41}, or even removed from their office{42}. So at present the Catholic church even in Latin America lives under the tension of a permanent struggle for the practical realization of the theoretical insights formulated in Medellín, Puebla and Santo Domingo {43}.

The recent history of bishop appointments and the development in the Latin American Bishops' Conference connected with it as well as the disciplinary measures against church office-bearers do not happen in a vacuum. The root problem of many conflicts that are settled today between different "political" camps within the churches is that the prosperity of a smaller and smaller number of people can only be maintained by excluding the respectively weakest human beings from it {44}. That means even for church communities that they support the global debt spiral as well as the accumulation dynamics by their participation in functioning financial systems on which they depend in their present organization, although they too will in the long run be losers with it.

In that situation you can understand the fear and the embarrassment of church authorities that do not dare the step to a radical refusal of Mammon's system. The churches' dilemma is the impossibility of a neutral position in view of a situation in which individuals and groups enrich themselves at the expense of others. How difficult the concrete decision for God and against Mammon is, and how serious the consequences of a missing decision becomes clear by the considerations made in 2.3.. Nevertheless, the churches are by virtue of their message often the last bastions of humanity, as the history of Chile with Pinochet or of Bolivia with Bánzer shows {45}. The fact that vice versa an economic-political and military elite tries from strategic considerations to influence the faith understanding of the faithful, shows with what opponents the socio-politically engaged Christians have to reckon {46}.


3.3. Inter- and Trans-Confessional Alliance in View of the "New" Empire

How can it come to an effective alliance of all those initiatives between the churches as well as on all three (above described) levels also within the denominations, so that the local and regional alternatives can be protected against the destruction by neo-liberal mechanisms and claims to power?

Such an alliance will not develop from today to tomorrow. Innumerable small steps in the sense of a network {47} on local and regional level are necessary, but also that many small initiatives find concrete support by courageous bishops, politicians, and the management of companies. The listening to the people concerned is substantial for such a cross-linking that includes all levels. The movement of the Latin American base communities remains - despite the loss of support in the bourgeois church - a great bearer of hope {48}. In their "Address to the Communities" the delegates said in the final message of the Tenth Inter-ecclesial Meeting of Brazil's Church Base Communities: "Due to our prophetic activity we often made society change its agenda and take care of the poor. Thus we got a grip on the defence of human rights. [...] Our churches felt often called to open their doors and to take in the dreams and suggestions of the excluded. [...] With the aim to build an alternative society we wanted to elect by all means politicians who are obliged to administrative organs that are close to the citizens and fairly distribute the budget" {49}.

But the movements of base communities were not left alone. In 1996 the Provincials of the Jesuits in Latin America addressed all Jesuits in a letter, in which they explain why and how neo-liberalism is to be fought. First they analyse the social, psycho-social and ideological factors, then they give guidelines for the apostolic work: formation of solidarity communities with the 'excluded', strengthening of the traditional identity of the peoples, spreading of the insights about the negative effects of neo-liberalism, and promotion of those values which enable alternatives or developments of practicable solutions within those ranges where global and macro-economic decisions are made {50}. In concrete terms, companies which violate human rights or ignore the protection of the environment should not be supported {51}.

Just as impressive - and with regard to their spreading within the middle class of the countries of the north-western hemisphere perhaps even more important - are the efforts within the Reformed Churches. The Twenty Fourth General Assembly of the Reformed World League stated - with a clarity which left nothing to be desired - the ecological and social destruction dynamics of that "world order" that subordinates everything to economic growth and accumulation of capital {52}. Particularly important is the fact that also the representatives from the industrialized countries agreed to make a faith obligation. That means a lot, for there it says:

"We believe that God is sovereign over all creation. [...] Therefore, we reject the current world economic order imposed by global neoliberal capitalism. [...] We believe that human beings are called to choose God over Mammon and that confessing our faith is an act of obedience. [...] Therefore we reject any ideology or economic regime that [...] privatizes those gifts of God meant for all. [...] Therefore we reject any theology that claims that God is only with the rich and that poverty is the fault of the poor." {53}.

Up to this point the document has the same function as the clear statements of Medellín and Puebla. But the assembled churches go a step further by assuring each other mutual support by a federation, and where they dare concrete steps in the conflict with the totalitarian system. Following the status confessionis of the Barmer Declaration, made by the Confessing Church under Nazi rule, the assembly demands to take definitely this way on all levels:

"We commit ourselves to seek a global covenant for justice in the economy and the earth in the household of God. [...] On this common journey, some churches have already expressed their commitment in a confession of faith. We urge them to continue to translate this confession into concrete actions both regionally and locally. [...] To those other churches, which are still in the process of recognition, we urge them on the basis of our mutual covenanting accountability, to deepen their education and move forward towards confession. [...] The General Council commits the World Alliance of Reformed Churches to work together with other communions, the ecumenical community, the community of other faiths, civil movements and people’s movements for a just economy and the integrity of creation and calls upon our member churches to do the same." {54}.

The meeting deals with the different situations of the churches, but it insists on the liability with which the most central question of a religious community, namely that of faith must be asked anew. For this faith has to stand the test, i.e. to direct our behaviour towards a system that despises human beings.

In this matter the Roman Catholic Church can form a stronger alliance with the Reformed Churches {55}. In the Christians' common commitment to the protection of human beings and other animals threatened by the imperial mechanisms, even the ecumenical questions about liturgical, mystagogical and structural differences can lose their paralysing weight.

The concretizing of that obligation challenges just those churches, communities and groups that are up to now in rather comfortable conditions, i.e. financially well secured, but also more deeply involved in the international financial system than those that share already the life of the excluded. In this sense groups comparable to base communities and 'communities of insertion' are not only visionary models for a "church from below", they are also places where the 'confession' (see above) of all churches, communities and social movements can most likely be realized. The system of exclusion can best be forced open from below.


4. "You Cannot Think What You Not Do"{56}

The reflections on the challenges of the churches presented here I do not make as an outsider, because I am, as it were, involved in a twofold sense. Firstly, I belong as Catholic, Jesuit and theologian to those who are asked first what they themselves contribute to the necessary church developments, and secondly, for the time being I'm living in an existentially secured situation binding me to the network of the financial institutions. That does not only concern my personal situation but also that of the retreat and education house to the management of which I belong.

From that place I hear the demand for an alliance with the excluded. I am challenged to represent in the house a life and work culture which avoids the illusion of "more and more" and "faster and faster", to use products of ecological and socially fair trade, to arrange a course program that strengthens people in their ability to act freely and decidedly, if necessary also against the mainstream, and not least to keep the financial basis of this house as independent as possible from speculative capital. But the alliance with the excluded calls me also to cooperate with non-church groups and movements which in the framework of development policy {57} globalization critique {58}, building of awareness {59} and human rights {60} contribute to a solidary and sustainable consumer behaviour and to the political mobilization against war and neo-liberal agendas.

There are always more possibilities than I am able to realize, and sometimes the feeling creeps upon me that these things are only 'drops on the hot stone'. This is probably for many a reason to end their engagement after some time, or not to begin it at all. That is why I on the one hand give priority to the knitting and arranging of personal contacts between different groups with overlapping requests. On the other hand the personal contact with the poor is, just in the question of constant renewal and deepening the call, of crucial importance for me. They are it from whom I learn a new view on society, and with them I discover something from that liberating commitment to which the alliance with and among the losers of the system calls. Of course, they are losers only in that absolute sense of the word, as they are avoided by others. But where I together with others - across different milieus - stand up for better living conditions for the disadvantaged, just they will become the source of courage and wisdom, for new possibilities of human living together that will make us all "winners" or rather recipients of a shared life in abundance - without any self-produced scarcities.



{1} Cf. Norbert Mette, "Ein neues Millennium ohne Ausgeschlossene", Neuere Entwicklungen in der lateinamerikanischen Theologie und Pastoral der Befreiung, in: Ottmar Fuchs (editor), Pastoraltheologische Interventionen im Quintett, Zukunft des Evangeliums in Kirche und Gesellschaft, Norbert Greinacher zum 70. Geburtstag (Tübinger Perspektiven zur Pastoraltheologie und Religionspädagogik, volume 11), Münster 2001, 56-57.

{2} To me it is completely clear that an overseas flight for a considerable part of the population in so called rich countries likewise means a with difficulty affordable journey. But also then further inequalities remain: like that of the life costs during the stay, or the different entry conditions etc.

{3} Cf. Paneles Bolivia al 2010, Documento de trabajo para la Planificación Estratégica de la Compañía de Jesús en Bolivia, Cochabamba 2000. To the four ranges: Society, economics, politics, and religion in each case a Jesuit, specialized in the topic concerned, presented his research results, which were commentated by experts from different cities, who are at home - either theoretical or practical - in the respective range. The text is accessible as pdf document on the website of the Bolivian Jesuits:, access: 13.9.2004.

{4} Cf. Xavier Albó, Sociedad Boliviana al 2010, In the same place, 12-14.

{5} Strictly speaking Beck speaks of the "Brasilianization of Europe", but since this tendency takes place also in countries such as Bolivia, yes, has often already made much further progress there, I prefer to speak of a Brasilianization of society.

{6} Cf. Franz Josef Hinkelammert, Der Schrei des Subjekts, Vom Welttheater des Johannesevangeliums zu den Hundejahren der Globalisierung, Luzern 2001, especially chapter VI: Zur Kritik des Zynischen Kapitalismus - Die Ideologiekritik und die Kritik des Nihilismus, 319-340.

{7} Cf. Carl Amery, Global Exit, Die Kirchen und der Totale Markt, München 2002, 204-210.

{8} One has analyzed these mechanisms at different historical and topical examples: To the soil question in England, cf. Paul Dumouchel, Die Ambivalenz der Knappheit, in: the same/Dupuy, Die Hölle der Dinge, BMT 9, Thaur 1999, 283-308; to the present-day dynamism of the concentration of capital, cf. Michel Husson, Kapitalismus nach der "neuen Ökonomie", in: Christian Zeller (Editor), Die globale Enteignungsökonomie, Münster 2004, 127-159.

{9} When the USA at the beginning of the seventies of the last century got into a trade deficit, they were able to create by different measures - like the abolition of the gold reserve of the US dollar and the associated flexible courses - a "new international financial architecture". Now also that does no longer guarantee the stability of the US economy. Therefore they seek to secure the control of the key raw material oil with military means. (Cf. David Harvey, Die Geographie des "neuen" Imperialismus: Akkumulation durch Enteignung, in: Zeller, Enteignungsökonomie, 198-207).

{10} 'Rhenish Capitalism' is called the social free-market economy, as it was propagated in the Federal Republic of Germany in the fifties of the last century by Konrad Adenauer. In that, since the seventies also 'eco-social free-market economy' called model the political basic conditions ensure the equilibrium of four factors which cannot be reduced to each other: social justice, sustainable development, economical efficiency, and political participation.

{11} In this connection Margaret Thatcher created the expression: There is no alternative, TINA.

{12} Vgl. Joseph Stiglitz, Die Schatten der Globalisierung, Berlin 2002, 227-232 und 246-255; cf. ders., Die Roaring Nineties. Der entzauberte Boom, Berlin 2004, especially chapter 9: Winners and losers of the globalization, 209-236; cf. Amartya Sen, Ökonomie für den Menschen, München 1999; cf. Franz Hinkelammert, Die ideologischen Waffen des Todes. Zur Metaphysik des Kapitalismus, Freiburg i.Ü./Münster 1985; cf. the same, Über den Markt zum Reich Gottes? Von der Verurteilung zur Vereinnahmung der Befreiungstheologie, in: Orientierung 32 (1996) 98-102.115-120.

{13} Cf. Amery, Global, 13-28; cf. Dumouchel, Ambivalenz der Knappheit, 175-319; cf. Enrique Dussel, Der Markt aus der ethischen Perspektive der Theologie der Befreiung, in: Conc 33 (1997), 217-232.

{14} Cf. Franz Segbers, Die Hausordnung der Thora. Biblische Impulse für eine theologische Wirtschaftsethik, (Theologie in Geschichte und Gesellschaft 7), Luzern 1999; cf. Jung Mo Sung, Teología y economía: repensando la teología de la liberación y utopías, Madrid 1996; the same, Das Böse in der Ideologie des freien Marktes, in: Conc 33 (1997), 606-614.

{15} Cf. Friedrich A. von Hayek, Die Anmassung von Wissen, in: Ordo (Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft) 26 (1975), 12-21, cf. Sung, Böse, 610.

{16} Amartya Sen examined reasons, progress, and extent of famines, and found that tragically enough most of the victims died of hunger because the neighbours were not willing to share. Then he underlines that only extremely seldom more than 5-10% of the population are stricken by famines. Democracy and free press could help that this part, which is living at the margin of society, is recognized and supplied. See Sen, Ökonomie, 218-219; cf. the same, Poverty and Famines - An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation, Oxford 1981, 52-60.

{17} Where the argumentation from the "utopian" tilts into the "nihilistic capitalism", i.e. where the conviction that the "total market" serves the common weal at best is given up in favour for the cynicism of the "largest efficiency" of the system, happens that tautology which quite simply negates the question about the concrete living conditions. (see Hinkelammert, Schrei, 331-332.)

{18} Cf. Sung, Böse, 612.

{19} Cf. Thomas Ruster, Der verwechselbare Gott, Theologie nach der Entflechtung von Christentum und Religion, QD 181, Freiburg/Br. 2000, 124-165.

{20} Cf. Walter Benjamin, Kapitalismus als Religion, Gesammelte Schriften VI, Frankfurt 1991, 100-103.

{21} Cf. Ruster, Gott, 127-128.140.

{22} Rudolf Thiessen, Kapitalismus als Religion, in: Prokla, Zeitschrift für kritische Sozialwissenschaft, 24/3 (1994) 400-418.

{23} Benjamin, Kapitalismus, 100.

{24} Ruster, Gott, 142.

{25} John Maynard Keynes, Allgemeine Theorie der Beschäftigung, des Zinses und des Geldes, Berlin 51974, 248.

{26} Cf. Ruster, Gott, 147-150.

{27} Martin Luther 1540 in einer Schrift an die Pfarrherren Resumé, cited from: Ruster, 155.

{28} Luther, Großer Katechismus, 133, cited from: Ruster, 159.

{29} Cf. Ruster, Gott, 162-165.

{30} The story of an authorization to independent acting out of the gospel is told for instance by Alexander P. Zatyrka S.J., Die autochthone Kirche in der Mission Bachajón (Chiapas). Erfahrung einer erfolgreichen Inkulturation. See to authorizing processes in the church also the contributions of Maria Elisabeth Aigner, Anna Findl-Ludescher und Veronika Prüller-Jagenteufel.

{31} These are Order- and other church communities. Social and pastoral workers advisers, members of religious orders and priests mostly belong regarding their possibilities to those social classes which are globally interlaced. With the 'insertion' they make a step into the ranges of the excluded part of the population. Where a community goes seriously the way of solidarizing with the poor, the French Jesuits speak of a 'communauté d'insertion'.

{32} While the action of the Christians for the abolishment of torture (ACAT), is explicitly Christian motivated, there are many movements, e.g. the international movement for the taxation of financial transactions (attac), which make no confessional statements but where engaged Christians from diverse churches and denominations are active.

{33} Cf. Pope John Paul II, Encyclic 'Centesimus Annus' (1.05.1991), in: Verlautbarungen des Apostolischen Stuhls 101, edited by the office of the German Bishops' Conference, Bonn 1991, Nr.33.

{34} Cf. at the same place no. 40. There is among other things said literally: "It is the task of the State to provide for the defence and preservation of common goods such as the natural and human environments, which cannot be safeguarded simply by market forces. Just as in the time of primitive capitalism the State had the duty of defending the basic rights of workers, so now, with the new capitalism, the State and all of society have the duty of defending those collective goods which, among others, constitute the essential framework for the legitimate pursuit of personal goals on the part of each individual."

{35} Cf. Medellín, Dokument 1: "Gerechtigkeit", no. 10, in: CELAM, Die Kirche in der gegenwärtigen Umwandlung Lateinamerikas im Lichte des Konzils. Sämtliche Beschlüsse der II. Generalversammlung des Lateinamerikanischen Episkopates. Medellín 24.8.-6.9.1968, in: Sekretariat der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz (Editor), Die Kirche Lateinamerikas. Dokumente der II. und III. Generalversammlung des Lateinamerikanischen Episkopates in Medellín und Puebla, Stimmen der Weltkirche 8, Bonn 1979.

{36} Cf. Puebla, Schlussdokument, no. 494, in: CELAM, Die Kirche in der gegenwärtigen Umwandlung Lateinamerikas im Lichte des Konzils. Sämtliche Beschlüsse der III. Generalversammlung des Lateinamerikanischen Episkopates. Puebla 26.1.-13.2.1979, in the same place.

{37} Here may be mentioned the example of Christian Herwartz SJ, who lives together for years with people in emergency situations, and commits himself among other things engaged to the group of members of religious orders against exclusion. He tries to make the view from below comprehensible also for other people by offering 'Retreats on the Street', where I too have been taking part as spiritual director since 2003, cf. Spiritual Exercises on the Road, access: 18.1.2005.

{38} My own experience has shown me how my theological thinking has been coined not only by my stay in Bolivia, but particularly by my life in a 'Communauté d'Insertion' in Cergy, in an agglomeration near Paris shaken by social problems. For further questions of the priest training see in this book: Christian Hartl, Feldarbeiter in die Verantwortung nehmen. Zur Neuinterpretation eines Leitbildes in der Priesterausbildung.

{39} Cf. Sung, Böse, 611.

{40} Cf. Horst Goldstein, Immer ist sie befehdet worden..., Zur Geschichte des Kampfes gegen die Befreiungstheologie und zur Vorgeschichte der Instruktion; in: Hermann-Josef Venetz/Herbert Vorgrimler (Editors), Das Lehramt der Kirche und der Schrei der Armen. Analysen zur Instruktion der Kongregation für die Glaubenslehre über einige Aspekte der "Theologie der Befreiung", Freiburg i.Ü. 1985, 32-56; cf. Heiner Boberski, Die Divisionäre des Papstes, Bischofsernennungen unter Johannes Paul II., Salzburg 1992, 237-242.

{41} Some Latin American bishops let also actual deeds follow their words; they understood the statements of Medellín and Puebla as programmatic documents for their structural and personnel decisions. Bishops such as Dom Hélder Câmara, Erwin Kräutler, Pedro Casaldáliga, Samuel Ruiz, Oscar Romero stand for a church which goes with the people, is rooted in the people, goes out from the people and commits itself to the people. See Teófilo Cabestrero, Mystik der Befreiung, Ein Portrait des Bischofs Pedro Casaldáliga in Brasilien, Wuppertal 1981, 3 and 165-177; cf. also "Die dreizehn Selbstverpflichtungen ungenannter Bischöfe auf dem Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzil", in: Conc 13 (1977), 262-263.

{42} Cf. Thomas Seiterich-Kreuzkamp (Editor), Der Fall Gaillot und die neue Inquisition, Oberursel 1995.

{43} Cf. Puebla, No. 2, 92, 476, 487, 527, 1138-1140, 1159-1163, 1277-1281 and 1292; cf. Santo Domingo, No. 166-168.

{44} Cf. the description of that mechanism in section 2.1. Cf. also Harvey, Geographie, 194-198.

{45} Cf. William T. Cavanaugh, Torture and Eucharist, Oxford 1998; cf. Christoph Albrecht, Den Unterdrückten eine Stimme geben. Das Lebenszeugnis von P. Luis Espinal - Impulse für eine prophetische Kirche in einer ökonomisch globalisierten Apartheidgesellschaft, Luzern 2005, 279-303.

{46} Thus for instance the First Santa Fe-paper of the US secret services, which was made available at the beginning of the Reagan era: "The American foreign policy must begin to fight against the liberation politics, as it is done in Latin America by a part of the clergy, and not only react to it. The role of the church in Latin America is crucial for the concept of political liberty." And further down follows: "The USA must launch an ideological and economic campaign [...] by training and educating programs which aim at winning the heads and hearts of people. For the ideas which stand behind the policy are substantial for the victory. Naturally there is no replacement for [armed] warfare, and the USA are in the 'Third World' War." (Documento de Santa Fe I, 2. La subversión interna, No. 3 and Resumen,, access: 23.1.2005).

{47} Cross-linking does not already mean network. A network is a net with several centers of different kind. (see Michael Hochschild, Kirche in Bewegung, Münster 2001, 101-103.) In this sense the necessary networks should connect church communities with non-church organizations and movements, and also the three in 3.1. mentioned levels.

{48} The wrong message spread by the mass media, that this theological movement was condemned by the church leaders, led to the opinion that the time of the base communities is over. See José Marins, El presente de las comunidades eclesiales de base, in: Service of Documentation and Studies on Mission auf:, access: 25.7.2004.

{49} Kirchliche Basisgemeinden: 2000 Jahre auf dem Weg, Schlussbotschaft des 10. Interekklesialen Treffens der Basisgemeinden Brasiliens, No. 7-8, 21, in: Weltkirche 7 (2000) 196.

{50} Cf. Carta de los Provinciales Latinoamericanos de la Compañía de Jesús, "El Neoliberalismo en América Latina", Ciudad de México, 14.11.1996, no. 23, see:, access: 18.9.2004.

{51} Cf. in the same place, No. 24.

{52} Cf. Bund für wirtschaftliche und ökologische Gerechtigkeit, Schlusserklärung des Reformierten Weltbundes (RWB) an der 24. Generalversammlung in Accra vom 30. Juli - 13. August 2004, No. 8-11; in: Neue Wege 10 (2004), 292.

{53} In the same place, No. 18-19, 22, 25, 27.

{54} In the same place, No. 33, 38, 41.

{55} A positive example on a regional level is to be mentioned: Since 2003 in Switzerland the aliens act against asylum-seekers is constantly intensified on federal level. In cases of hardship the cantons have the right to address a request to the Swiss Federal Law and Police Department, which has the final appellate jurisdiction. The government of the canton Waadt committed itself up to now like no other canton to asylum-seekers, but now it is under pressure, because 523 people have - on resolution of the federal authorities - to be deported. In this situation the leaders of the church of Waadt called in an ecumenical solidarity action a three-day-long fasting. (see Reformierte Nachrichten,, access: 2.2.2005).

{56} Dorothee Sölle, Mystik und Widerstand, Hamburg 1997, 21.

{57} Declaration of Bern, cf.

{58}, cf., Social forums on regional to world-wide level, cf.

{59} Lassalle-Friedensbewegung, cf.

{60} CEDRI, Comité Européen pour la Défense des Réfugiés et Immigrés - Europäisches Komitee zur Verteidigung der Flüchtlinge und GastarbeiterInnen.



Link to 'Public Con-Spiracy for-with-of the Poor'