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A Socially Just Global Vision Jody E.

Boss Springfield College School of Social Work June, 2012 During a time when authoritative and government forces govern human populat ion, living a dignified quality of life and maintaining the overall global social wel fare is currently under great threat. Economic, political, military, and crimina l institutions are examples of powerful forces controlling human behavior within social systems. In looking at the global increase in unemployment, homelessness, crime and poverty, an article published in Social Welfare Policy and Services points out how large spending on militarism has negatively affected the social welfare of the world (Von Soest, 102). It is commonsense to conclude when more money and human energy is needed for one issue, other issues consequently will take an economic and political back burner. Because more money than ever has been allocated for m ilitary spending since the early 1990s, author Dorothy Von Soest writes of the pr oblems caused by a preoccupation with militarism. In an article titled Peace and Social Welfare Von Soest writes, The institutionalization of armed power and the d evelopment of the military-industrial complex appears inaccessible to control by citizens or the U.S. Congress (Von Soest, 201). North Americas most recent war in the Middle East has not only created massive U.S. social and economic consequences, but currently the entire world is experiencing the negative aftermaths of war. With war also comes a significant lack of country human resources. Explorin g the social welfare of a community, Von Soest explains how social welfare canno t be met until the social development needs of society is a top economic and pol itical priority (Soest, 102). Furthermore, when the social welfare of a communit y is being met, the overall population tends to live harmoniously with each othe r striving for dignity and economic, social, and cultural human rights. When peo ples basic human rights are being met; a socially just and peaceful society can a lso be found. In effect, when these human rights are ratified into treaties and written into law governments of countries then have an ethical and legal obligat ion to protect the quality of life of the people of that country. In looking at Dr. David Gils theory of structural violence, the results of l iving in a capitalistic economy are broken down. Capitalism supports the idea th at people should be allowed to earn as much money as they desire through a free market. With optimistic ideas, capitalism mistakenly works against a society bas

ed on human rights. Capitalism creates an economic system with unequal income di stribution opening the door for large portions of people to be exploited by the richest 1 percent of the country. When a countries mission is to make money, reg ardless if people have basic human rights or not, the repressed lower classes wi ll eventually revolt due to their dissatisfied and frustrated unmet lives (Gil, 77-79). High rates of people living in poverty and oppressive conditions eventually cause people to rebel against their own frustrated, unsatisfying lives. Instead of oppressed people rallying together and forming political alliances people un able to obtain sustainable employment, safe and affordable housing, or dignified connections within their communities instead will often times revolt by engagin g in illegal behavior. Due to a lack of knowledge on how to influence structural changes within social environments, frustrated poor people commit law breaking criminal activity, such as drug involvement, theft, or domestic violence. The al ready disempowered poor citizen does not realize through criminal behavior they further disarm their already unmet lives by creating involvements with the crimi nal justice system. Instead of providing more social services in poor neighborhoods, the govern ment currently responds through a counterviolence as Dr. Gil describes (Gil, 81) ; or enforcing harsher jail sentences and increasing law enforcement agencies. I nstead of striving to improve the quality of oppressed peoples lives, building mi litary and prison industrial-complexes in created through public opinion in beli eving we need more laws to protect our homelands both within its borders and out side (Gil, 79-84). With original ideas of saving money by cutting the high cost of crime nationa lly by 20 percent through the construction of a booming prison industrial-comple x, a 2001 study by the U.S. Department of Justice found little economic savings since the early 1980s. The U.S. DOJ reported, Rather than the projected 20 percent savings, the average savings from privatization was only 1 percent, and most of that was achieved through lower labour costs. (Sinden, 46). Instead of incorpora ting more social welfare services into communities that are high in structural v iolence, the North American historic solution to people revolting and breaking t he law has been to increase oppressive government forces, or react through count erviolence (Gil, 78). According to Dr. David Gil, the domination of some individuals for social or economic gain produces structural violence in society. Efforts to eliminate structural vio lence has been grossly protested by populations benefitting from structural viol ence (Gil, 77-78). Today the ideal of having a free economic system has been gro ssly abused through large corporations, investors and CEOs who have nobody to que stion, Where is the money going? In order to reach an all inclusive global social justice, where ones inheren t needs, dignity, and economic, social, and cultural human rights are all readil y available, individual governments must commit to reducing poverty through stra tegic comprehensive long-term plans. Achieving global social justice is best des cribed by Dr. Gil explaining how one meets his or her inherent needs. This is ba sed on their circumstances of living, their relative power, the quality of their social relations and the overall quality of life in their societies. (Gil, 79). W ith that said, unfortunately children are suffering the most from the current gl obal economic crisis, with increasing infant mortality rates in undeveloped thir d world countries (Holy See, 1-2). In capitalism, the majority of people, the middle and lower classes workers e xperience a sense of disempowerment due to living pay check to pay check and str iving to be better than their neighbor. The average American citizen, with a comp

etitive consciousness has been subconsciously bred through the American governmen t. Political and economic forces compete and compare the U.S. market to other c ountries market. This exhausting competitive comparison merely creates a separat ion and the elimination of harmonious efforts with other countries. Because many third world countries depend on developed countries financial aid f or their own human survival, developed countries should eliminate the word compe tition and begin to democratically work in partnership with other countries stri ving for a socially just global vision. This begs the question, how can we realistically reduce poverty rates and li ve in a socially just world with a capitalistic system? A massive reprioritizing of global employment could begin to eliminate wide salary gaps between employees . Eradicating poverty can begin globally if each country focuses on their own em ployment capabilities through natural resources, human labour capabilities and s mall business developmental loans. Creating corporate restrictions on enormous s alaries to some and below cost of living pays to others would support fair-wage pay to everyone, even third world countries. The United Nations Institute for Soc ial Development reminds us the creation of more global jobs would begin to reduce poverty stricken countries. Looking at seven arguments for poverty and inequali ty reduction, the first argument states worldwide employment would benefit all e conomies since income from domestic products would be universally shared in the long run (UNRISD, 4-5). This means with global job growth each country would sha re each others revenue, in affect stimulating global growth and supporting countr ies to work with each other, not against each other. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article # 23 states, Everyone has a right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable condit ions of work and to protection against unemployment (UDHR, 6). Furthermore, in Dr .Wronkas writing titled, Human Rights and Social Justice; he outlines tables with c ore principals from the United Nations. One core principal article # 55, reads th e promotion of full employment elaborates more by saying this should include the p romotion of higher standards of living, and the development of conditions of eco nomic and social progress (Wronka, 68). Without jobs people cannot work and suppo rt themselves which grossly affects their quality of life and ability to reach t heir full human potentials. In developed countries where the desire to have more rules society, wi thout a job a person is left with government run social welfare programs to supp ort him or her pushing them deeper below poverty thresholds with an inability to fully accomplish article # 1 which states, All humans are born free and equal w ith dignity and rights (UDHR,1). Another way to eradicate poverty is to restructure government priorities to increase social service and educational programs in concentrated inner cities whe re structural violence is high. From a social workers perspective, an advanced generalist practice must work to ensure crucial human rights becomes available to oppressed populations of pe ople. When enough social workers, public health officials, political activists a nd educators begin to look at ones life not just from the micro level, but the me zzo and macro alike; real change and empowerment is more likely to happen. In re gards to working for the influence of human rights for people who are vulnerable , oppressed, and living in poverty, social workers involved in the political aren a (macro-level) have more influence than social workers dedicated to individual clients (micro-level). Dr. Wronka states making human rights legally binding is how people become committed to following the standards of ensuring human rights for all people. In 1999, the National Association of Social Work (NASW) stated i t supports the concept that human rights be adopted as a foundation principle upo n all of which social work theory and applied knowledge rests (Wronka, 223-224).

When the government passes new laws that works to improve the human rights of the most vulnerable people, this lets the public know the government is also accountable to the betterment of society as a whole. In an upcoming publication by Sage Press, scholars write that human rights make us conscious of what humans are capable of doing to each other. Social workers primary role is to work with in social systems of society ensuring the protection, advancement, and empowerme nt of the most disadvantaged populations throughout the world. Ignored human inj ustices that are caused by the powerlessness of people, groups, or social minori ties is precisely why social workers, especially; must strive for economic, soci al and cultural rights of all people. Without human dignity first, the base of human rights cannot be attained ac cording to the Sage Press article. Human dignity is described in terms of having an unconditional respect in interactions as well as being institutionalized in f air social rules of societal power-structures which guarantee this respect. (Marg alit (1999:23). (Wronka & Staub Bernasconi, 70-74 & 80). In a structurally violent society, true egalitarianism, where people are fr ee to nurture their own human potentials is an almost impossible feat to accomp lish. Although the United Nations currently has almost two hundred countries ser ving on board who strive for the implementation of human rights worldwide, the r esults of a capitalistic economic system inadvertently produces violations of hu man rights. Overturning and re-constructing government priorities would allow st ructural violence to decompensate. A long-term comprehensive strategic plan to r educe poverty globally would begin to shift government responsibilities to the w orldwide economic crisis.Penalizing people already living in structural violence , or poverty stricken vulnerable communities through cutting social service, hea lthcare or educational funding is not the solution. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the beginning of arti cle 25 states Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and med ical care and necessary social services. (UDHR, 5). Ten years ago Holy See wrote to the president begging him to reach an understanding and agreement in terms o f how Americas money is distributed. Instead of protecting and valuing all people s standard of living as a human right, we have forgotten To have patriotism, does not mean influencing the cruel and selfish elimination of other countries (Holy See, 1-3). When the overall social welfare of a social system is no longer a priority, achieving social justice or human rights is not possible. Maintaining ones human dignity, with lives truly rich in non-discrimination, with civil, political, ec onomic, social and cultural rights for all people regardless of their class can be found when the government takes a political risk and cuts the military annual budget and increases the social welfare of the country. If citizens dont pressur e the government through demanding a peaceful and radical democratic reconstruct ion, poverty as we know it today may continue to increase. If poverty continues to increase globally, large masses of global militia with weapons of mass destru ction will continue on fighting. Tragically a constant world war can unintention ally ensue an all encompassing accidental global human genocide. Bibliography: Gil, D. (1996). Preventing violence in a structurally violent society: Mission i mpossible. American Orthopsychiatric Association, (pp.77-84). Waltham, MA. Holy See. (2009). Statement by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Apostolic Nuncio to th e 10th session of the Human Rights Council: The Impact of the Global Economic an

d Financial Crises on Human Rights (pp.1-2). Geneva: United Nations. Sinden, J. (2003). In Coyle, A., Campbell, A. and Neufeld, R. Capitalist Punishm ent. Atlanta, GA. (pp. 44-46). Atlanta, Clarity. United Nations Research Institute (2010). Combating Poverty and Inequality, Stru ctural Change, Social Policy and Politics. United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. (pp. 4-5). United Nations (1948). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (pp. 6). (www.u n.org/en/documents/udhr) NY, NY. Von, Soest, D. (1992).The Economic Impacts of Militarism on Social Welfare Polic y and Services. (pp. 102). Von, Soest, D. (1990). Peace and social welfare. Social welfare policy module pa rt three. National Association of Social Workers. (pp 201), Silver Spring, MD. Wronka, J. (2008). Human rights and social justice. Social action and service fo r the helping professions. (pp. 68). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA. Wronka, J. (2004). Human rights and advanced generalist practice. In Roy, A. and Vecchiolla, F. (Eds.). Thoughts on an advanced generalist education: Models, re adings, and essays. (pp.223-241). Peosta, IA: Eddie Bowers.