“Give them something to eat!” was the request Jesus gave to his disciples. This implies not only the cooperation for resolving the STRUCTURAL CAUSES of poverty and to promote the INTEGRAL DEVELOPMENT of the poor, but also the simplest and daily gestures of solidarity towards the very specific miseries we encounter”

“… solidarity is so much more than just some sporadic generous gestures”

The joy of the Gospel, 188. Pope Francis

Pope Francis urges us to cooperate to resolve structural causes of poverty. Do we know what this means? How can we make it more specific? The most important structural cause of poverty is an economic system which is based on inequality.

The structural causes are the ones which rely on a system already implemented. The relevant causes are the ones that aren’t dependent on the same system (for example, the reduction in crops because of climate changes). In architecture, a STRUCTURE is the frame (of steel or reinforced concrete) that, fixed to the ground, is used as a foundation for a building.

What can I do to make an impact on this structure made out of reinforced concrete which is the unjust macroeconomics? We usually see this as a big Goliath, and we decide on “sporadic gestures of generosity” (full of, without a doubt, very good intentions).

As an individual citizen, I am free to choose what I consume and how I consume: what food I buy, which clothes, which kind of transportation I use, what kind of vacations I choose, which bank I put my money in… Every personal act of consumption, every decision, has behind it invisible strings. Long strings that take you to the beginning: where the purchases I made were produced, which hands made them, in which conditions, how much was paid to the manufacturer, how much did the transport cost… who became rich from all these transactions… Likewise, hidden within our bank there are invisible strings. What does the bank do with the money in your account you don’t touch? It may take part in the funding of weaponry campaigns, or in the financing of companies which exploit children in the south…

DON’T CONSUME BLINDLY, don’t live blindly. PULL THE STRING. Solidarity starts by coherence. How are your strings attached to the south? Is your life joined, by invisible strings, to acts that are in favor of exploitation and inequality?

We can, of course, finish our reflection saying that our little grain of sand is of no use against an unjust economic macro system. But it isn’t like that. As many strings make cloth, many grains of sand make a beach. There are already lots of people who consume in another way which has stopped contributing economic suffocation in the south. JOIN THEM. Every time you take part in the economy in any way, you have an impact on it.

  • Think about your life style. PULL THE STRING
  • Find a responsible way of consumption.
  • Research, read about it
  • Make decisions little by little, in different areas of your life
  • Spread this mindset around

If you are interested in this subject, tell us. In the next articles we can give you ideas, provide texts, webs… Meanwhile… PULL THE STRING!!

Written by Ana Isabel Jiménez

Translated by Adrian Chapple