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Globalization and Jesuit Mission:GC35-S.Asian Perpective

Posted on: 1 Dec, 2014

Modified on: 1 Dec, 2014

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1. Context.

1.1. India is emerging as a new economic and technological superpower and elicits new responses (negative and positive) from the world community and other countries of S.Asia.

1.2. India also faces the challenges of economic exclusion from the many heterogynous groups of semi-rural, tribal and OBC masses.

1.3. India is looking for much grater geo-political role in Asia, wanting to establish an Asian common market.

1.4. Jesuits challenged to take a clear stand with the marginalized n the wake of globalization.


2. Globalization.
In general globalization refers to a dynamic that expands interconnectedness in the world. It is a complex phenomenon that affects the social, economic, political, cultural and religious dimensions. Predominantly it is an economic phenomenon that speaks of development of neo-liberal capitalism helped by technological and informational changes, including aspects like liberalization of international trade, expansion of foreign direct investment, cross-border production systems, privatization of the public sector, liberalization of labour laws, and other government regulatory systems.

3.Positive and Negative Impacts.

3.1. Positively: globalization offers us the possibility of building up one human community in the world. When there is disaster anywhere in the world aid in the form of food, medicines, resources and services can be rushed. The global economy can be promoted as a mutual and just sharing of natural and manufactured resources through equitable commercial and trade relations. Human and social rights can be promoted and defended across the globe. Social and political movements can network with each other to acquire a global character and impact. A new global system of participative, political democracy can be developed through international institutions. Global exchange of knowledge and services can lead to mutual benefit and enrichment. Conditions and possibilities today exist to construct a world of universal harmony and peace. Globalization has brought benefits in terms of infrastructure facilities, knowledge resources, efficient and quality services, dismantling of monopolies in trade and commerce and revolution in communication.

3.2. Negatively: the possibilities of globalization can be abused to globalize economic, political and social injustice. The globalization of the market can be used to promote global monopolies of multi-national and trans-national corporations. The centuries of political colonialism and the global inequalities it created is now facilitating an economic colonialism. Exploitation has become global. The world is being divided into rich and poor poles. The poor are becoming poorer. Under the guise of the free movement of capital the weak are sacrificed to the strong. There is an attempt to create a unipolar world dominated, economically, politically and militarily by one superpower. This domination is supported by the diffusion of a global commercial culture encouraging materialistic consumerism. International institutions are manipulated and used to favour the rich and the powerful. Everyone is obliged to play the same game. Unequal trade conditions are imposed on the poorer nations. Efforts to evolve a multi-polar world do not seem to be succeeding.

The powerless are trying to organizing themselves through ethnic, cultural and linguistic identities, some of which are fundamentalist in nature. Globalization denationalizes nation-states and its sovereignty; it encourages privatization which adversely affects the poor; government spending on services are cut down, making the poor and the aged more vulnerable. Globaliation has replaced labour intensive mode of agriculture to capital-intensive mode. Communities who were conserving and multiplying natural assets have been replaced and resulting in suicide of farmers. Cheap labour and style of MNCs have altered the culture of our cities. Globalization is an imposition of western model of development as the only way and our cultural identities are transformed into a single economic identity of consumers.

3.4. Impact of globalization on Jesuits: Progressively, the Jesuits are becoming aware of the fact that they too have been affected by the process of globalization. It is also being recognized that the Jesuits belong to that group of people who are benefiting from the opportunities brought by globalization. Both at the individual and collective levels there is a realization among Jesuits that globalization has also added to the already existing tensions and has created new forms of tensions. Some of these are: a) individualism versus common identity and mission; b) consumerism versus voluntary poverty; c) self-fulfillment and comfort seeking versus commitment; d) openness and universality versus regionalism and parochialism; e) pioneering versus following beaten path; f) community life and team work versus individual gratification etc. It is at this juncture in preparation to the forthcoming 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus that the Jesuits of South Asia are called upon to examine their identity and mission in the light of globalization and marginalisation

4. Critical Issues:
4.1.) To face the aspirations of peoples for identities and to combat violent religious and cultural conflicts; 4.2.) To identify with the marginalized (cultural, religious and economic) and yet face the challenge of globalization; to promote leadership (including Jesuit leadership) from the marginalized groups; 4.3.) To define our primary identities (ethnic, caste, linguist, national) vis a vis Jesuit identity in a globalized world? 4.4.) To explore the relationship of democracy to globalization.

5.Jesuit response to globalization. 5.1.) Globalization is both a new opportunity and a new challenge for the mission of Jesus. Kingdom of God is a universal communion of the humans characterized by freedom, fellowship and justice. The church and the SJ, being themselves global bodies, can be both symbol and servants of global communion. 5.2.) such communion would respect the pluralism of ethnic groups, cultures and religions. Mission affirms such identities. Jesuits, particularly committed to culture and education can promote dialogue using facilities of information technology; 5.3.) SJ can network with peoples, local and global social movements to fight against global exploitation and monopoly, and expose the marginalization of native peoples, Dalits, refugees and women. 5.4.) SJ could play vital role in helping the universal church, by example and word, to become an authentic communion of local churches, respecting, accepting and encouraging cultural, theological spiritual and organizational diversities; 5.5.) SJ in S.Asia should adopt social audit or strategic planning extending to the whole assistancy, networking with nodal agencies; 5.6.) SJ communities in S.Asia should adopt ‘open houses’ /ashrams style in the midst of the poor and the exploited, and along with the laity; 5.7.) SJ in S.Asia should search for an alternate common vision to globalization and the dominant economic models; 5.8) With our network of schools and colleges, we in S.Asia could bring together all people of good will under a common mission to denounce the corporate agenda and to fight for the marginalized. 5.9.) we Jesuits should internationalize local struggles through our network. 5.10). Initiating processes and building up institutions that address policy matters at the SAARC; 5.11) Educational institutions to network with other similar institutions and lobbying and advocacy with the Govt to influence policy decisions.

6. Questions for Reflection:
6.1.) What are the impacts of globalization on the country/ on S.Asia? 6.2.) What are the impacts of globalization on our life style as Jesuits? 6.3.) How has globalization impacted our mission, negatively and positively? 6.4.) What are the implications of globalization for us Jesuits as an international body? 6.5.) How does globalization challenge the social inequalities, caste affiliations and religious exclusivisms?