Ecumenical News International

EKD Council Chair challenges rich societies to rethink

January 31, 2013

Berlin (epd). The Chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Nikolaus Schneider, has called for a change of attitude in rich societies so that disadvantaged persons can share in prosperity. He shares the view that new mission statements were needed for business, politics and individual lifestyles, Schneider said on Thursday in a lecture at the university TU Berlin. The Protestant theologian argued again for an "ethic of enough".

From the Christian perspective, the concern is for our own daily bread and the bread of our neighbors, Scheider stated. People who continue to pile up wealth ultimately do themselves  a disservice: "For the sake of our soul we, who are already affluent, must not wear ourselves out by striving for more possessions and wealth," he said. "We can share with one another, let others have enough and be content with that."

Schneider recalled that every seventh person on earth lives in extreme poverty. Hunger was being aggravated by the competition between growing food to eat and growing crops to produce fuel. In addition, particularly people in poor countries had to suffer the consequences of climate change, while they contributed the least to the emissions. Industrialized countries would not be able to avoid drastically reducing their carbon emissions, he declared.

Further, Schneider called for the development of new criteria to assess economic success. In his view, the gross national product is not a measure of welfare and quality of life, and policy-making should focus on the well-being of the poor and following generations. He urged the introduction of more equitable trading conditions. The motto for personal lifestyles should be "live well" rather than "own a lot," concluded the EKD Council Chair. (epd)

The full text of the lecture



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