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Jeremy Crooks

Jeremy grew up in Sydney Australia. He has tertiary qualifications in business, training, and Bible. With experience in both church ministry and corporate human resources, Jeremy has a strong interest in how faith is demonstrated in our homes and workplaces. You can contact Jeremy at jeremy@teaminfocus.com.au.

11 Comments

  1. avatar

    PJ

    ‘Should Christians be involved in public activism?’

    Only so far as it does not distract from fulfilling the Great Commission.

    I have found political activism can be a great distraction in church – after the service we’re not talking about the message or about our walk with God, instead we’re talking about political issues and political activism.

    Also I’ve found some political issues have become moral/spiritual ones for Believers when really they’re not. For example, I’ve had contact with Believers who characterise the recent debate over carbon pricing as a moral/spiritual issue and they’re engaging in political activism over it. Whatever you’re view, it is manifestly NOT a moral or spiritual issue and sadly for some it has become a distraction from the main thing.

    We know it’s all going to end badly for the world so I believe we should focus on making a difference one soul at a time.

    Reply
  2. avatar

    Jason Harris

    “James tells us that it is the rich that oppress us.”

    I’m interested in what you are referring to specifically here. Could you point out the reference for this?

    Reply
  3. avatar

    Jeremy Crooks

    James 2:6-7

    But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? (NIV). My NLT version uses the word oppress instead of exploit.

    Reply
  4. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Interesting. I’ve never seen that passage like that before…

    Reply
  5. avatar

    Jeremy

    To comment further on the issue of rich verses poor:

    Let me say that being rich or poor is neither intrinsically evil or good. The key issue is righteousness. The reality is that with wealth comes power and influence. A righteous rich person can be used by God for great social good. Unrighteous rich people (in James day and in our current time) exploit the common man.

    I support free enterprise and entrepreneurs. However, our current capitalistic system has become corrupt and it is not a level playing field. It has been stacked in favour of the rich and privileged. I think that is why the 99% are angry.

    Having said that, just because the 1% may be wrong, it does not make the 99% right. Future anarchy may make the current state of affairs seem desirable.

    I do find it interesting that Jesus did not spend his time protesting the Roman occupation of Palestine. Instead he was the gospel. I find in interesting and disturbing at just how much time I (we) spend looking at economic and financial issues. At one level I am convinced that it is important that we build and protect a righteous community economically and socially. Howvever, I recognise as PJ said, that this is not the main game.

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  6. avatar

    Jason Harris

    In what ways would you say the rich are exploiting the poor in Australia? For instance, do you feel that Alan Joyce is exploiting the Qantas workers?

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  7. avatar

    Jeremy

    The issue of Qantas is a bit unique. I believe that Qantas workers should have a right to expect that many jobs remain in Australia and that those jobs should pay decent wages. However, many Qantas pilots earn more than the Prime Minister. The average Qantas worker earn 35% more than their equivalent at Virgin. To ask for more at the moment is just greed. The unions need to learn to have about sustainability in their demands or else they will kill the airline and lose their members their jobs.

    On the other side of the equation:

    6 ways I see the rich expoiting the poor today are as follows (and these are more broad than Qantas)

    1. Outsourcing – making employment decisions solely on numbers rather than giving back to the communities in which they operate.
    2. Extremely progressive pay systems – executives earn 100x as much as frontline workers mainly based on cutting staff.
    3. Legal loopholes (for tax avoidance and suing for profit)
    4. Tipping pay system (USA). Seems like modern day slavery to me.
    5. Finance – the system is skewed to take from the poor and reward the rich (it is built on ‘clever forumulas’ rather than productivity.
    6. Property – Existing home owners lobby government to support artifically high home prices and lock the next generation out of the market.

    The context of the exploitation would have been different through history, but money has always meant power. (and human nature shows us that power is inevitably abused.)

    Reply
  8. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Interesting. Thanks for your thoughts on Qantas.

    I’ll offer counterpoints on the six points, though I do agree with you that in each of these areas, exploitation does happen…

    1) Principles of comparative advantage argue that, all things being equal, though an individual person or industry might be disadvantaged as a result of “importing labour,” that the country as a whole is better off. Modern Western economic history has demonstrated a constant pattern of shifting labour and industry segments, yet increasing GDP and increasing personal wealth.

    2) Is not the labourer worthy of his hire? Should not labour be rewarded based on its value to the company?

    3) We call them “loopholes,” but do we not just mean that the person is following the law? Is it wrong for me to try my hardest to pay as little tax as possible within the law? Additionally, do not such attempts serve to bring such issues to the attention of the government so that the law can be changed?

    4) It seems to me that the tipping system demonstrates an inherently Christian view of man as self-serving and needing incentives to serve others. In my experiences over the years, those who do their jobs well usually make exceptionally good money on this system (though I don’t like the system from a purely preferential basis).

    5) Are not those “clever formulas” simply ways of calculating the time value of money? A dollar today is not worth the same as a dollar tomorrow so any handling of finance that does not take that into account is inherently exploitative. Of course if you are referring to the credit card companies that intentionally mislead, entrap, or gouge customers, then fair enough…

    6) The real estate market is a market, and as such, over time, the real estate will be valued by the market… Of course if you’re referring to value bubbles, then fair enough, that is an issue of exploitation by the greedy…

    Anyway, I can see your point in most of those points, but I do struggle with a popular tendency to do what sometimes seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. That said, what we’re really discussing here is social and economic theory, and from that point of view, I’m not sure agreement is necessarily likely… nor necessary. =)

    Reply
  9. avatar

    Jeremy

    I appreciate your comments Jason. I love discussing these topics as my day job is often at the coal-face of these employment related issues.

    You make valid counter points which I can agree with. For the most part we are talking tendencies and we can each find examples that support or counter our generalized assessments. I would say that none of those six examples are intrinsically bad, but it is the degree to which they are applied within society that determines whether they are oppressive.

    Reply
  10. avatar

    Jason Harris

    At my day job, we generally stay right clear of the coal-face. =P

    Thanks for the discussion. Grace to you.

    Reply

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