“The Global Economic Crisis and its impact on Social – Spiritual – Cultural European tradition. The Role of Orthodoxy”
The General Assembly of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, in which 25 parliaments and parliamentary groups from all around the world participate, having listened carefully to the reports presented by the expert rapporteurs as well as the interventions of its members and following the overview of the results of the international conference organized by the I.A.O. Committee on International Policy, held in Evia, Greece, on May 28 2009 with subject “The Orthodox Community tried by the global economic crisis”, has reached the following conclusions:
Globalized trade, the world economy, are going through a deep crisis, the biggest in the last 80 years, the duration and intensity of which still cannot be estimated.
This crisis coexists with the general crisis of the society, the crisis of its value system, with which last year’s I.A.O. General Assembly, dealt with extensively; which of course constitutes the “moral” base of the economic crisis.
It is common knowledge that the social structure as well as economic structures, during the last years of great technological achievements have been altered and cannot guarantee anymore for a steady and long term balance.
At the same time, the economic crisis has helped towards raising pathogenic as well as distorted phenomena, such as the increasing and ultimately definitive impact of banks and international capital in the exercise of political power.
An illustrative example is the dominion of oligopoly in the market, which instead of leading to the reduction of product prices has led to their increase, while increasing at the same time room for profit.
Moreover, multiethnic enterprises seem to only compress the working cost of labour, the excessive compression of which has caused, in turn, distortions within markets, resulting to consumption reduction and to the intense redistribution of income and wealth.
It is a crisis, which, from being economic soon converted into a crisis of trust against the very same ‘credible’ evaluators, who have survived for a series of years; the very same, who collaborating with ‘credible’ mass media, at times spread threatening assessments against states and set up profiteering businesses.
Youth, the labour force, the whole world has witnessed in awe incredible money sums changing hands from one moment to another, stocks vanishing into the thin air, while the golden boys and financial bank managers were selling to one another (but also to citizens) plain papers with complex mathematical formulas’ the credibility and return of which rely on one and only factor, the credibility of the simple loanee, which the very same people had on purpose overestimated from the beginning.
All these are happening, as the simple citizen witnesses the concept of labour, as a divine mandate and as participation in co-creation and provision for the whole world, being altered, since it now constitutes for the holders of power, a means for illegal and unethical wealth.
Moreover, labour has converted into anxiety for meeting a chain of needs, which, when satisfied, give in turn rise to new other needs.
All these are happening as the ‘government’ and the natural power agents are awkwardly running behind developments, incapable even now to establish managing rules for economic development and for the use of the new technological means.
All these are happening while the citizen is called to deal with the harsh daily routine, exposed to the merits of profiteers, with the ‘government’ having kept for itself the role of a simple commentor of reality.
All these are happening, finally while decision making institutions are increasingly converting into mechanisms of ‘legalizing’ decisions made by centers outside institutions.
This is the ugly face of our society that of the globalised commerce and new technologies.
The economic policies of countries are designed, imposed and materialized by extra-institutional centers of economy and of side-economy.
Today, the same people, other times taking on the form of ‘evaluators’ and other times taking on the form of government agents, are looking for a ‘solution’, on the precise reasons and factors having impregnated the problem and having led the peoples of the earth to today’s landscape of uncertainty and meteorism.
It could be no different, when financial analysts and governments, while making decisions and taking measures for overcoming the crisis they do it using conservative methods of perpetuating the factors having created it, just safeguarding the cruel and mere fact that the crisis, as well as uncontrolled profiteering shall be always present.
Today, it is necessary more than ever and of special importance in our era to reaffirm the role of the state, delimiting it on the basis of human rights and its duty to guarantee for human freedom as opposed to objectives of groups and interests pursuing the manipulation of man.
Problems today are expanding and go beyond borders. The world has turned into a global village. Simple criticism or even the condemnation of human acts causing problems is not enough.
And while religious and social movements project the necessity of developing a society of solidarity in our times, there are some people who destroy the social web unpunished, in the name of personal moneymaking.
It is necessary to think over about society and the needs of its members. We can’t afford to orient our interest just for the benefit of the powerful and manipulating profit makers.
Social and moral forces must try to redefine limits between freedom and justice, in a way not touching upon the rights of the powerless.
Today, it is necessary more than ever to redefine the role of state, at least as a guarantee for the freedom and dignity of each citizen.
We must make man the criterion for economic practices.
Today, it is necessary more than ever to develop new social concepts that will make modern society, a society of solidarity.
Before the hazard of a total social degradation, religions as forces of value system development are called to realize the demand of our times and to overcome obstacles and hindrances so as to contribute positively to the solution of citizens’ problems.
Therefore, the message coming from the Head of Orthodox Churches in Constantinople, 12/10/2008 is of special importance in our days, correctly stating that the gap between the rich and the poor is dramatically expanding because of the economic crisis “… which is usually the result of obsessive profiteerism of the part of the agents and of distorted economic activity, which deprived from human dimension and sensitivity, does not ultimately serve the real needs of mankind. Sustainable economy is that of combining effectiveness with justice and social solidarity…”.
Christianity, Orthodoxy must actively stand by the side of the suffering and finically powerless, defending the interests of the majority.
Developing volunteerism in the frame of Church activity may constitute a first answer in a society that has stopped being solid.
Today, it is necessary more than ever for the political world to respond to the call for comprehending the need of radically reversing that landscape, for the concept of Democracy as well as the concept of virtuous State to return to the forefront of political reality.
The parliaments, institutions of Democracy, must, on the basis of political criteria only, make decisions supporting the interests of the majority and protecting the powerless.
Each representative of the people is called to comprehend the need for undertaking the necessary initiatives that will reverse the present situation, restituting politics in the forefront of reality.
The economic enterprises, the mass media and all kinds of interest lobbies must limit their role within the frame of democratic polity.
Finally, the General Assembly calls upon each Member of Parliament to undertake dynamic initiatives, within the frame of his political party, so as to make the necessary decisions and undertake the necessary initiatives, which will restitute the concept of Democracy back to the forefront, affirming the capacity of MP as an expressor of popular interest only.
Simple fact finding is not enough. Simple declarations are not enough.
Our times call for the taking of dynamic measures for securing public interest.
The I.A.O. will continue to work on this issue and contribute to the best of its power, so as to give rise to the necessary political initiatives that will lead the world to a kind of development with a human face and an ecological conscience.