Economic Equality & WOC, Indigenous People, Justice for People of Color, Mutuality Monday, Race & Equity in America, Racial & Gender Mutuality, Rev. Tega Swann, Security & Gender Equality, Stereotyping & Women of Color

Productivity Makes No Sense If You Are Not Adequately Rewarded For It

Too many accuse black people in America of being lazy but is it true?

I have lived in one of the most economically-challenged regions of South Western Pennsylvania and among folks who are typically labeled as “poor.” What I found out was the complete opposite of the assumption about poor people. Poor people are not lazy. They don’t just like their work to be exploited.

Capitalism exploits the most vulnerable – those without power and without a voice and in North America, this typically affects black people the worst. Their labor is used to acquire millions and billions for corporations while the corporations conveniently throw them to the wolves.

The so-called unwillingness to work would disappear IF corporations paid everyone according to the profit the corporations make. It is highly ungodly to live in wealth and luxury while those who make your wealth and luxury possible live in abject poverty.

The Scriptures say that the laborer is worthy of his/her hire. This means that the laborer deserves to be paid at the level of their service. It doesn’t mean getting paid well only IF you have a college degree or have several years of experience. It means getting paid for how your work impacts the overall company. A manufacturing company makes millions, even billions from the work of those in the factories. Therefore, the salary of those in the factories should reflect the wealth the company gains from their labor.

So many proudly defend capitalism without addressing how capitalism exploits and reduces the poor.

So many proudly defend capitalism without coming up with a plan to correct the poverty that capitalism creates in its wake.

Until we end the exploitation of the labor of the poor, corporations and businesses, non-government and government will continue to create more poor people in society. The way to end poverty is to pay people who work for a company what the company is worth. This is the principle of the Kingdom of God.

If we want to boost productivity in our organizations and in the marketplace AND help eradicate poverty, then we must become ardent advocates for and practitioners of fair and just recognition and recompense for employee labor. This is consistent with the economic principles of God’s Kingdom as revealed by Jesus in the Parable of the Talents. In this parable which is rarely preached and taught for employer accountability but which is clearly in the narrative, the employer increases the prestige, status and economic compensation of his employees in direct correlation with their productivity and profit-making. Jesus then concluded that is how things are done in God’s Kingdom.

Jesus also told us that God’s Kingdom is already among us. The implication of this revelation is that we must all start to do things according to how they are done in Heaven.

Such accountability towards employee creativity and productivity as modeled in Jesus’ parable of the Talents would do more to eradicate poverty than any other limp-hearted efforts currently practiced in the world. It would make employees who work for successful companies, successful themselves. They wouldn’t have to bust their butts and sacrifice their families for the success of the company and its owners only to go home to lack and insufficiency as well as invisibility in their workplace.

For as much as Jesus preached and taught about God’s Kingdom, he did it more in economic terms. So that it would be highly ungodly and irresponsible for people who self-identify with God’s Kingdom to support, uphold and or propagate practices of economic injustice. Instead, we must all learn from Jesus’ teaching and recognize that economic laws and practices need to reflect this Kingdom principle in order to eradicate poverty and all its associated ills in society.

Jesus has spoken. Are we listening?

” “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.

The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (Matthew 25:14-23, NIV, emphasis, mine)

Go and do better.

-Oghene’tega Swann


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