INTERNET APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT
MID MARKET ERP DEVELOPMENT
by Brian Terrell
My 23-year-old daughter, Laura, returned last week after a year in the war against human oppression. She deployed with the Calcutta office of the International Justice Mission (IJM), an organization fighting human trafficking and other forms of violent injustice out of 18 offices scattered around the world. Recently, we sat down to supper, and I asked how the experience had changed her.
Laura sees now how the average American has no idea how rare is our standard of living and respect for the rule of law. These advantages place us in the minority of the world’s people, and we don't even know it. Because the folks I see in my known universe of Canada, Europe, and urban Asia seem to live pretty well, how could she be so confident we breathe such rarefied air? She let me know that 80% of the world lives on less than $10 per day, and 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25. Only Calcutta’s super wealthy, like Bill Gates or Warren Buffett wealthy, enjoy anything close to an average United States standard of living.
Also, authorities in Calcutta do not -- or cannot -- enforce the laws that exist on the books. Bullying is a grown-up art form, and the bad guys grab who or what they want without fear of retribution. There is no functional law enforcement or judicial system to protect the weak and right the wrong. In Calcutta, Laura tells me that it takes, on average, about five years for a court case to be resolved, and 200,000 cases currently await their day in court. She describes a visit to the High Court of Calcutta being like a trip through the warehouse in the closing scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark. There is one pile after the other of legal paperwork stacked floor to ceiling or crammed into thousands of filing cabinets. In this document management nightmare, only five clerks in the whole city know where everything is. Imagine the frustration and hopelessness caused to those who have had their freedom or property stolen. Imagine the fear.
What can we do to help? According to Laura, we underutilize our resources when we apply them to poverty relief, education reform, or health care. In Calcutta, these things benefit only the last thief who steals them. We give with the best of intentions, but it is truly the softer and easier way. However, when we give to organizations that fight violence, we fight the good fight. The good fight stands up to oppressors who steal the widow’s land. The good fight rescues the child from prostitution. The good fight challenges the abuse of power. But, it is the harder fight. It is IJM’s fight.
Does Laura worry about the U.S.? Does our complacency and material culture concern her? Not really, however she does wish we’d appreciate our standard of living. We have freedom, safety, and authorities who play on the same team. Our things may be stolen from time to time, but our police respond to all and not just the highest bidder. Our righteously indignant press works overtime stimulating progressive politicians to rescue at the slightest discomfort, and these things may irk us, especially around April 15th, but all things work together to form the very best bad system in the world. As a result, we live very well, indeed.
How does Laura think her experience in Calcutta changed her? She appreciates our standard of living and the rule of law. She knows the simplest staples of our everyday lives exist only because of unusual fortune and personal sacrifice: free wifi, ice water, blue skies, drive through windows, and fresh lettuce. She thinks our plenty comes with responsibilities. And, she’s not afraid to lose things. For after all, she’s seen happiness and contentment with far less. She understands she could be happy with far less, too.
To support the International Justice Mission in using the system to fight violence around the world, please review their mission with the responsibility that comes with living in the land of plenty...and free wifi.
Well said! I can add nothing but to encourage others to read this and consider what they cando.