Reflection > Thurs Week 4

[Note: I missed class yesterday to spend this weekend in Philadelphia for a cousin’s wedding. This is a substitue reflection about a conversation I had on the flight out with my seatmate.]

Gosh, it’s so weird to come out of a bubble: seminary back into the real world.

I sat next to this guy on the plane to Philadelphia who’s an electrical engineer for a power company in New Jersey. His job has him traveling all over the country to oversee production and installation of parts like transformers, etc. He didn’t know what to do with me when I said I was getting a Masters in Theology.

“Theater?”
“No, theology.”
*blank stare*
“Christian theology, the study of religion.”

I asked him about his job, and somehow we got to talking about economics. I mentioned I was reading about globalization and the WTO (Naomi Klien‘s Fences and Windows – watch for a book review). He perked up and said he loved economics, etc. I mentioned I was reading about the protests surrounding the WTO and how globalization is effecting everyone – all levels of society.

He stiffened a bit, “Oh, that’s right, you’re in that good-doers school.”

Sigh. I wish I was quicker on my feet to verbalize this book wasn’t even written from a Christian point of view – there is a growing population concerned about the rest of the world. But regardless, what is that reaction?

Granted I have almost zero knowledge on politics and trade, but it was interesting to hear his reaction to NAFTA He thought the trade agreement it was really helping Mexicans out since the power of the peso is actually doing better than the dollar comparatively (according to him). I had just finished reading a chapter on what Klien says is happening in Mexico – mass unemployment and poverty. When I mentioned this, he blamed it on a corrupt government, and wished all countries could have a good government (implying ours was the good).

It was a jolt to the system to have a conversation, and is making me realize how others might react to the case Klien is building, that the brand of democracy seeped in free trade might not actually trickle down, it just makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. Seems this is pretty hard for the world, or at least comfortable Americans, to listen to with open ears.

Oh gosh, this is making me want to subscribe to Adbusters again.

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