Martin Luther King on Christian Social Justice: On Jericho Road
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: This is not just.’ It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: This is not just.’ The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just,” King explained in his April 4, 1967, address at Manhattan’s Riverside Church.
I don’t think it necessary requires scrapping capitalism, but rather harnessing capitalism to do good in the right places–in other words what I’m proposing is a new form of sustainable capitalism. You can read the full speech of “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” One way of creating institutions to sustain a fairer capitalism would be to provide education in the form of entrepreneurship training, mentor ship, and support for emerging entrepreneurs in the developing world.