BUILDING BRIDGES

The Duty to Extend a Hand

Close up of businessman's hand extended palm up
The rich must help the poor.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Modern capitalism is no longer about the “haves” and the “have nots.” Instead, it’s all about who’s on the inside and who’s left out in the cold. If we want a fairer world, writes the author, both sides must extend a hand to the other.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Poor countries are not those that are run down by Western companies, but rather those which are not integrated into global trade, says the author.
    • Geography plays a role. In Europe, for instance, crisis countries in the south like Greece and Portugal are far from the core of the euro-zone economy.
    • Insiders who remain indifferent to social problems, and outsiders who only see themselves as victims, are both in the wrong, writes the author.
  • Audio

    Audio

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For thousands of years, there was a clear explanation for social injustice. German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel called it “master and servant” — one has the power and the other must obey.

But with the end of feudalism and the emergence of capitalism, this power relationship faded into the background.

Now, workers can make contracts with companies – or not.

But economic inequality didn’t create any other choice than to “freely” choose to become a servant. At the same time, this inequality was reproduced, because workers had to cede added value to their employers.

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