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The “Big G” these days is globalization by which the left means America’s economic exploitation of Third World nations. This summer, young people in the United Methodist denomination are participating in a “mission study” utilizing the pedagogy of Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator best known for mixing “Marxism with Christianity” in his brand of “liberation theology.”

Utilizing “music with a message,” students begin with Nancy Schimmel’s 1492 which the study calls an introduction to the “Columbus controversy,” a way to “teach for justice in an unjust world.” Schimmel’s lyrics repeat the refrain that when Columbus arrived in America “someone was already here” and ask the question, “Could anyone discover the place when someone was already here?”

The authors recommend various reggae and rap songs about “theft of land from the aborigines” and “police brutality.” Then there is the guilt-inducing song about “look how you’re living First World, look what you did to Third World.” There is also the accusation about “doublespeak of powerful groups who use words like peace and justice when the opposite is true.” How about the tune described as a “wonderfully spirited song” portraying the “environmental crisis from an anti-corporate perspective.” If that doesn’t move your teens to deeper spirituality, you might want to expose them to the recommended “bouncy punk song.”

The basic message of the mission study is that “financial power” is concentrated in the “hands of global elites.” In other words, capitalism is inherently bad and is the source of all the world’s problems. Further, they claim, “capital flows” are totally unregulated.” Since they appear to be calling for regulation, whom I wonder, do they recommend to “regulate” the monetary flow among nations? The United Nations? A cabal of Third World dictators?

According to these people who don’t believe in adults influencing teens, young people need to review the whole litany of historical events around the world that happened because of America’s “economics of greed.” For instance, the 1997 financial crisis in Asia according to the youth in the Philippines who are, of course, experts in such matters came about because of America. Here is an example of the logical arguments throughout the study: A major problem in the Philippines is that people prefer Hershey’s chocolate and M&Ms to the local brands and that doesn’t help people with their health care benefits. The Group of 8 (Japan, Germany, France, U.K., Canada, Italy, Australia and the U.S.) is working together (this was written in all seriousness and is laughable to people who have observed those nations trying to agree over anything) to “concentrate enormous wealth (power and control) into their hands.”

With the typical technique of the demagogue, the author quotes (out of context) from an old Mark Twain piece where he describes “civilized power” as holding a “banner of the Prince of Peace” in one hand while holding a “loot basket and butcher-knife” in the other.

Ultimately, though, the study realizes that globalization is about more than just profit and losses; it is also about politics globalization means privatization. This statement is fraught with horror! The authors warn that, as capitalization makes the people poorer; then, military forces have to come in to suppress the masses. Never mind the real world situations and circumstances of countries where the likes of Castro, Kim Jung Il, and Mugabe rule by absolute dictatorship.

The study includes a whole chapter bashing Wal-Mart for publishing its ads in the local papers on the day that welfare checks come out. They “promote themselves to low income people.” The study quotes a union leader who said that Sam Walton’s real genius was “appealing to the poor.” A plus-sized woman was quoted complaining that Wal-Mart campaigns for the “rich and thin elites.” A preschool teacher complained that she could fill a shopping cart at Wal-Mart with her $200 whereas at other stores she’d only get a sack full of stuff. Another women argues that working class people ought to be able to afford a “new car and a house and they ought not to have to park their car on the lawn.”

The study suggests that the key to solving the problems of globalization is to buy from artisans, shop at locally owned businesses, buy only fair-trade coffee, and wear only sweat-free-label clothing.

Ultimately though, the study’s solution is much more pragmatic: If everyone would just quit drinking bottled water, the world would be a better place and we could end poverty and injustice.

A lifelong United Methodist, Janice Shaw Crouse was twice an official U.S. delegate to the United Nations. She is at the forefront of national and international policy making and analysis on issues such as globalization, human trafficking, human rights, women’s issues and religious freedom.

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