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The Heart and Soul of Globalization

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The consequences of the world’s changing economic order are huge. You are small. Can your actions make a difference? Of course. Activists from the world’s faith traditions are showing the way.

This article appeared in our February 2004 issue. At age 51, Robert Waldrop is six feet, 260 pounds, with a flowing beard and opinions on everything, including a favorite Bible passage: “He who trusts in the Lord shall be made fat. It’s in there somewhere.” Despite his informality, Waldrop is serious about applying his understanding of Roman Catholic teachings to daily living. Those teachings, he says, may be reduced to a simple statement: “Noncooperation with evil, cooperation with virtue.” For Waldrop, the prevailing economic order falls squarely into the former category. He’s one of the growing number of spiritually motivated activists seeking to counter the negative consequences of globalization — the worldwide integration of economic, political, and cultural systems, spearheaded by the United States — that is affecting the human family on a scale comparable to the Age of Exploration and the Industrial Revolution. “Whenever possible,” says Waldrop, “I spend my dollars at locally owned and operated businesses, preferring independents to franchises, and a union label is a plus. In eve …

Ira Rifkin, a former news director at Beliefnet.com and national correspondent for Religion News Service, is the author of Spiritual Perspectives on Globalization: Making Sense of Economic and Cultural Upheaval (SkyLight Paths).


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From the ArchivesActivismSpiritual ActivismEconomicsThich Nhat Hanh

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