The sin of economic injustice

“There are few things more thoroughly sinful than economic injustice.” – Martin Luther King, Jr., from Bearing the Cross by David Garrow

Published by

Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

2 thoughts on “The sin of economic injustice”

  1. Why is it a sin? Not being generous to a fellow man in need, yes – but……..well, perhaps I need further elaboration on what he meant by economic injustice – you mean women not being paid the same as men……..or that trash collectors don’t make as much money as computer geeks? Or secretaries not getting paid as much as the business owner? Is it then also a sin if someone works half day, and makes less than the person who works 60 hours a week? You know I love how your quote are brain twisters for me, Erd. 🙂


    1. I think that social injustice as a sin would include discriminating against women, not paying women as much as men. It would include discrimination of any kind in compensating people for their labor. MLK was dealing with blacks being excluded from finding jobs and economic opportunity. Jobs and educational facilities were primarily available to whites in the white areas where whites lived. Most blacks were largely segregated from those opportunities. I would say that such segregation still exists today, only I would not limit this to blacks. Poor people live in poor areas, have limited educational opportunities, and there are very limited economic opportunities within their areas of poverty.

      Economic injustice would also include exploitation. This occurs on a massive, global scale today. In fact, it is the heart of global capitalism and the foundation of our current economy. We move our companies and production facilities into areas of extreme poverty, where people are starving, and pay them twenty five cents (or less) an hour to crank out our electronic toys, plastic goods, and gap jeans. In my opinion, such practices are sinful.

      To me, the above are some obvious examples of economic injustice as sin. I would not include as “economic injustice” people who do not get paid as much as others who work more. Those who work hard should receive more compensation. You know me, though, I don’t think there should be massive compensation gulfs between different occupations. Those who collect trash are just as valuable as computer geeks and should therefore be compensated at roughly the same amount.


Consider this post an invitation, an invitation to comment and collaborate ~ In Solidarity, JE

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