The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new urgency to adopting an “Economy of Life,” and global religious groups that represent millions of people are saying now is the time.
In a joint message, the World Council of Churches, World Communion of Reformed Churches, Lutheran World Federation, and Council of World Mission urged governments to bolster support for healthcare and social protection.
They further called for debt cancelation and the implementation of the Zacchaeus Tax proposals, including the initiation of progressive wealth taxes at national and global levels to resource the critical response to the pandemic.
“The public health emergency is symptomatic of a deeper economic crisis that undergirds it,” the message reads. “Moreover, ineffective and corrupt governance at national levels has exacerbated the inability of governments to support those who are most vulnerable to the pandemic.”
The ecological crisis facing the world today is closely related to COVID-19, the message notes.
“Measures to address the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic have been merely palliative and have been mainly directed to bailing out corporations rather than people,” the message reads. “In some places, economies are already being restarted at risk of mounting deaths, problematizing the perceived trade-off between rescuing the economy and saving lives.”
People who are already vulnerable are bearing the brunt in terms of loss of lives and livelihoods, the text continues. “The lockdown has also meant many are unable to escape from domestic violence,” the message reads.
“This crisis highlights the immense value of healthcare, the care economy, and women's intensified care work burden.”
We are living in apocalyptic time and are reminded that the term ‘apocalypse’ means to unveil or uncover, the message reads. “In its light we see anew and afresh the distorted realities and inequalities powerful interests have passed off as ‘normal’ and unquestionable… The human causes and systemic roots of this pandemic point to the exigency of systemic change if we are to be converted by the revelation COVID-19 is offering us,” the text reads.
"Online conference calls for an economy of life in a time of COVID-19 pandemic" - WCC news release 1 May 2020
Coping with the Coronavirus - WCC landing page