I asked my students today if they would rather have the Egyptian pyramids and the practice of slavery; or no pyramids, and no slavery? They didn’t know. So, I asked them if they would rather have the privileges of property ownership and African slavery, or no privileges and no slavery? They didn’t know (I have few African Americans in my class). For those of us who enjoy social privileges, this is a hard question. But we face an even more difficult question today. Would you rather have the next empire (Chinese?) and the destruction of the planet, or the end of empire and the preservation of the planet?
It would make a world of difference if we stopped treating land and labor as commodities and began to recognize them as providers of wealth. It might make an even greater difference if we discarded our childhood view of money as something to put in a piggy bank and took a more adult view of money as something we share in common.