excellent article by paul farmer, harvard medical school, on

Fri, 21 Feb 1997 10:40:33 +0100 (MET)

Dear colleagues,

I just wanted to draw your attention to the excellent article written by Paul
Farmer from Harvard Medical School, written in Daedalus, Winter 1996, page 261
ff. on the political psychology of suffering in a Third World Country (Haiti)
with far-reaching general implications. The article's title is:

On Suffering and Structural Violence: A View from Below

I noted with interest that Farmer re-discovers there also the significance of
the contributions of liberation theology.

I am in the process of editing, together with Paul Zulehner from Vienna
University, a volume on this subject. I include here parts of our introduction,
and the list of invited contributors.


On November 16th 1989, at the time of opimism connected with what then was
perceived to be the end-of-history, created by the Fall of the Berlin Wall and
the successful revolutions in Eastern Europe, 5 leading proponents of liberation
theology, among them the Jesuit Fathers Ignacio Ellacuria and Juan Luis Segundo
Montes, were assassinated in San Salvador together with two Salvadorian
employees of their University.
Far from participating in the optimism prevailing at that time, Ellacuria even
foresaw in his very last article (1989) the ever-larger emergence of
contradictions of the capitalist order on a world scale and the necessity of
divinity studies to come to terms with a capitalist system that is a world-wide
Liberation theology is not a theoretical exercise: as Jon Sobrino so aptly
writes in his introduction to the volume Sobrino/Ellacuria, 1993 (second edition

‘It is only from amidst oppression, carried to its maximal expression in
martyrdom, that the theology of liberation can be understood (...) But what
continues to give life to this theology is the pathos of liberation that
pervades it, a pathos that not only stands at the origin but also originates the
theological reflection.’ (Sobrino in Sobrino/Ellacuria, 1993/96: x-xi)

Even in the secularised countries of the developed world, this pathos is well
understood, far beyond the social strata that, in one way or the other, are
active in the main ecumenical denominations. The life and death of Archibishop
Oscar Arnulfo Romero symbolises the martyrdom of well over a thousand clerics
who paid their committment to the cause of the poor with their life since the
Bishop’s Conference of Medellin in 1968.
With social contradictions rising on a global scale and affecting more and more
the so-called developed countries as well, we think the time has come to return
once again to liberation theology and the question it posed - to both the social
sciences and divinity studies. Many believed at the time of the demise of
communism in Eastern Europe, that dependency theory, liberation theology, and
the writings on periphery capitalism, of which they were part, can safely be
Liberation theology, especially for the development researcher, was and
continues to be an interesting meeting place between economics and
theology/social philosophy. It reminds the social scientific profession of the
origins of economic science in moral philosophy, and it also reminds us that the
great issues of the scriptures, like poverty and the struggle of the poor for
self-determination, are an ever-more important reality in the contemporary world
system. As the dictionary defintion will have it,

‘Liberation theology: a term covering various theological movements which have
developed since the mid-1960s and which are concerned to understand the
Christian Gospel in terms of current needs for establishing human freedom. Four
areas of oppression particularly treated by these movements are the economic
exploitation of the less-developed countries, sexual prejudice against women
(...) racial discrimination, and political tyranny. The liberation theologies,
which often adopt analyses of social situatuations from Marxism, interpret
redemption as liberation, see Jesus Christ as identified with the oppressed, and
challenge the male-dominated conceptualities of theology and culture’ (Hinnells,

During the late 1980s and the early 1990s, it became clearer and clearer for the
political economic profession, that one has to go back to the foundations of
political economy and anthroplogy in order to understand the workings and
contradictions of capitalism on our globe and with our globe. At the time of the
crisis of dependency theory, Karl Polanyi and the world systems school, founded
by him, now seem to provide a coherent scientific answer to the questions left
unanswered by 1989 and by the forceful return of the ‘market principle’ on the
world-wide ideological arena. Karl Polanyi, post-Marxist
Hungaro-Austrian-Canadian anthroplogist, Socialist, Christian and Jew, began to
present with his ‘Great Transformation’ in 1944 a theory of the world system
that can serve as a starting point for a renewed encounter between the social
sciences and theology.
The issues of social policy on a global scale, thought to be overcome by 1989,
are back again on the agenda. Even in most highly developed countries, social
marginalisation, poverty, and homelessness have increased.
Globalisation negatively affected the lifes of around 1.5 thousand million
people on earth, whose per-capita incomes were lower than in earlier decades.
These 1.5 thousand million people live in around 100 countries; while 15 nations
experienced rapid capitalist development over the last decade. Among the world’s
desparate nations, 43 countries had a per-capita income which was lower - in
real terms - than that of of the 1970s. The poorest 20% of the world saw their
share in global product reduced from 2.3% to 1.4% over the past 30 years. The
share of the richest 20% rose from 70% to 85%, with the differences between
these two rising from 30:1 to 61:1 (UNDP, 1996).
The wave of the world recession - or as we prefer to say, the Kondratieff
B-phase - first hit Africa in the 1970s, and rolled on to hit Latin America and
the Arab world in the 1980s and Eastern Europe in the 1990s. Even in the highly
industrialised countries, capitalist development became more and more

(i) jobless: in the countries of the European Union in 1993, there were 16.86
million unemployed people

(ii) ruthless: global GNP grew by 40%, but the number of poor grew by 17%. In
the European Union, the ratio between the richest 20% and the bottom 20% is now
7.5 in France, 9.6 in the UK, 7.1 in Denmark, 5.8 in Germany, and 6.0 in Italy

(iii) voiceless: human and political rights performance on a global scale has
deteriorated in many countries according to the well-known Freedom House data
series (Stiftung, 1996); even in the countries of the European Union, the
following performances in 1993 were below the maximum value ‘1’

Germany: civil rights 2
France: civil rights 2
Greece: civil rights 3
Great Britain: civil rights 2
Northern Ireland-political rights 5
civil rights 4
Irish Republic: civil rights 2
Italy: civil rights 3
Spain: civil rights 2

(iv) rootless: 10000 cultures o humans and millions of species are on the verge
of disappearance world-wide; local human dialects, cultures and accents,
disappear also in Europe at a rapid pace. Nationality conflicts and regional
conflicts have increased in many countries of Europe over the last decade.
Low-quality satellite TV more and more substitutes national TV output; the
transnational economy dominates more and more domains of radio, TV, and the
press. Even in EU countries, nationally made films amount to only 2% (Greece) to
34.9% (France) of all films shown in cinemas. The US film industry holds a
market-share of 2/3 or ¾ and more. At the same time, social deviance increases
in the age of rootless growth or stagnation. In the European Union, there were
77 prisoners per 100 000 people in 1987; now there are 87. The intentional
homicide rate is Union-wide 7.7 per 100 000. 44% of all male EU adults smoke
(women: 25%), alcohol consumption is 9.6 litres per capita and year, and the
male cancer rate is 235, the female cancer rate is 171 Union-wide. Television
takes up now some 40% of the free time of the average American, and
participation in voluntary associations such as the Red Cross has declined by
25-50%. The basic networks, necessary for the functioning of democracies, are on
the retreat around the globe. Trade Union membership rates declined in the
Netherlands from 39% in 1978 to 25% in 1991; from 30% to 15% in the USA et
cetera. In the Union as a whole, trade union membership declined from 37% in
1970 to 33%; in Austria and in many other countries, the decline was even more
dramatic (from 62% to 46%).

(v) futureless: annual fresh water withdrawals amount to 862 m^3 in the Union.
Commercial energy use in oil equivalents is 3588 kg per capita in oil
equivalents, and each year, the Union produces 15.13% of the world’s greenhouse
gas emissions, 3373 metric tons of heavy metal from nuclear reactors, 48220 tons
of hazardous highly-toxic waste. The average Union citizen produces 399 kg of
municipal waste a year, and recycles only 45% of his or her paper and 52% of his
or her glass.

During 1965-90, world merchandise trade tripled, and financial cross-border
flows exceed a trillion US $ a day. Unfortunately, there is still too little
attention being paid to his legacy of the world system school in the debate
between the social sciences and the divinity schools. Starting with Karl Polanyi
in 1944, a number of authors - among them Samir Amin, Andre Gunder Frank, Folker
Fröbel, Jürgen Heirnichs, Otto Kreye and Immanuel Wallerstein - have taken up
the challenge of the analysis if capitalism as a world system. While imperialism
theories were mainly fixed at the centres, and dependency theories on the
peripheries (more often than not, Latin America), the world system school looked
at the totality of capitalism on a global scale. Polanyi’s reading of the
history of capitalism as a single world economy is a continuation of the
analysis of capitalism as a world system, inherent in the third volume of Das
Kapital; yet Polanyi’s social anthropology is definitively post-Marxist, leaving
behind much of the pre-totalitarian German philosophy that has daunted the
trajectory of Marxism since 1917. Polanyi, in addition, to be sure, was among
the early European socialists to re-discover the great spiritual wealth of the
Judeo-Christian tradition, and his anthropology assumes - in the moving final
chapter of his ‘Great Transformation’ - the concept of the immortality of the
human soul, so central for the Judeo-Christian tradition and the religions of
the book (Polanyi, 1944: ; Khoury, 1994). Polanyi was not a human being of books
alone - he was among the first to lay the intellectual foundations for the joint
resistance of Christians and Socialists against the rising tide of fascism in
Europe in the late 1920s and the 1930s, and he deeply believed in a lively
worker’s democratic movement. A refugee from the totalitarian forms of power of
both the extreme left and the right, Polanyi led a ‘world’s life’ that brought
him to reflect early on on such issues as ‘globalisation’, ‘international
finance’ and the instability of democracy in periphery regions. Polanyi’s theory
is also much more sensitive to the concerns of the world environment than
classical marxism all too often is; thus overcoming the red/green divide.
In the light of a Polanyiean anthropology, yes, dependency theory as a critique
of developmentalism in the 1960s might indeed be dead, and with it the proper
social scientific foundation of classical theologies of liberation, but the
contradictions of the world system have even deepened, before, during and after
the ominous year 1989. World systems theories can provide a solid, even more
encompassing theoretical frame of reference for theology, while contemporary
‘critical theology’ poses some of the most relevant questions for the social
sciences in return. A fruitful, and hopefully long dialogue might be ahead.
However valid the reception of the critique of ‘developmentalism’ in Latin
America in the 1960s and early 1970s by dependency theory in the theological
discourse of that time might still be, new problems call for new comprehensive
theoretical approaches. Surveying some central recent theological publications
(Brackley, 1996; Fornet-Betancourt, 1991; Hessel, 1996; Sobrino/Ellacuria, 1994;
Schüssler-Fiorenza, 1996), one is led to the conclusion as a social scientist,
that the world systems approach as the legitimate successor to dependency
studies even ideally fits itself to become the future social scientific basis of
‘critical theological writing’ in the 1990s, so heavily involved in the debate
about feminism, the ecology, inequality, and people empowerment or - if you
prefer Brackley’s term - the Divine Revolution.

This renewed encounter between development theory and theology is the aim of
this book. We have invited a great number of authors, and we are particularly
pleased that the debate between liberation theology and the world system school
- with this volume - finally gets underway.
Today’s conflict lines are not just a mere reflection of the old conflict line
between wage labour and capital. Marginalisation affects the distribution of
power between the genders, marginalisation takes on not only economic, but also
ecological forms, and more importantly than ever before, it is the logic of
world-wide accumulation that endangers life on our planet itself. Polanyi’s
concern for international peace in the nuclear age was taken up later by
scholars like Joshua Goldstein, who reflect - often with quantitative data
analysis - on the propensity of the world capitalist system to lead to global
wars and to global conflicts.
The tasks ahead of people, caring for and loving themselves and the other
creatures on our planet, are simply enormous. In the Christian churches, among
them in the 2000 year old Catholic Church, the willingness to confront these
tasks are growing. It is no coincidence, that at a time of the retreat of the
social democratic worker’s movement in the West, at a time of the retreat of the
trade unions and the social democratic parties, like in the United States of
America, also in Europe the Churches - or rather - the socially most conscious
segments of them - rediscover the ‘southern’ heritage of liberation theology and
social doctrine, because with the process of globalisation, ‘we’ in the
developed West begin to learn that poverty is among us, that tuberculosis and
diphteria, homelessness and other processes, known twenty years ago to most of
us from the history books - are again in the midst of the ‘developed countries’.
Germans, French, Italian, Austrian workers, intellectuals, service-sector
employees make, more and more, the experience of unemployment, insecurity, and
the uncertainty of tomorrow.

(Zulehner: Christian social engagement and the tasks of the 1990s in the light
of Church documents in the 1990s and in the light of new basic Church

After 1945, an entire generation of people, living in Western Europe and the
other OECD countries, became accustomed to rising real wages in the rythm of
productivity increases. Since the mid-1960s, with a new international division
of labour on the horizon, these old certainties disappeared, in some countries
more rapidly than in others. The wave of Thatcherism and Reaganomics, began in
the UK and in the USA in the 1980s, seems to be gaining ground in Europe right
now; with Germany leading the trend and introducing tax-cuts for the highest
income groups, but taxes for the unemployed. After the Second World War,
development theory was first dominated by development planning and
structuralism. Later on, when the contradictions of Third World development
became ever more apparent, more radical approaches on both the Left and the
Right gained ground, basically neo-liberal and neo-conservative approaches on
the one hand, and dependency theory on the other hand. Although dependency
theory was widely received in the moral and social theology profession, even at
the height of Vatican documents, it is interesting to note for the social
scientific community, that the legitimate successor to dependency theory in the
social sciences - the world system approach - has not received an equal share of
world-wide attention.

(here follows the introduction to the different contributions)

Finally, the international readership of this book might permit us to explain
the particular Austrian connection in the lives of Ellacuria and Segundo. Both
of them studied theology at Innsbruck University (Ellacuria from 1958 to 1962;
Segundo from 1960 to 1964), both of them were disciples of the Austrian Karl
Rahner and presented their master’s thesis (Ellacuria in 1962, Segundo in 1964),
and both of them were ordained to the priesthood in Austria (Ellacuria on July
26th, 1961, Segundo on July 25th 1963). These two martyrs of the poor were among
us, living 4 years with us, and receiving their call to follow the Lord in
Innsbruck. So let this book be a bunch of roses that we thus lay down at the
grave of Don Ignacio and Don Juan Luis and their slain sisters and brothers in
their tormented far-away country, which bears the name of El Salvador, the
Saviour, perhaps remembering a bit the words of the Rabbi from Nazareth:

‘And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not
without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house’ (Matthews, 13,

Arno Tausch, Warsaw
Paul Zulehner, Vienna


Global Capitalism, Liberation Theology amd the Scoial Sciences
An Analysis of the Structures of Dependency at the Turn of the

A. Tausch & P.M. Zulehner (eds)

Arno Tausch & Paul M. Zulehner

A general introduction by the editors

Samir Amin
(Professor, Forum du Tiers Monde, Dakar, Senegal)

The Spirit of Our Time, Religion and Liberation

Amin discusses the relation between present economic policies, relgion
and the self-assertion of peoples. Interestingly, the retreat of
critical approaches in economics and social sciences during the recent
past was accompanied by new and radically conservative tendencies in
religious thinking, which can be seen globally and in more than one
religion at present.

Gustavo Gutierrez
Dependency Theory, Liberation Theology after the Downfall of Communism

Jon Sobrino, San Salvador
Global Capitalism and the Kingdom of God

(still to be confirmed)
Ignacio Ellacuria (posthumously)

Utopia and profetism from Latin America. A cocnrete essay of historical
(his political testament, as yet untranslated into English. It appeared in
Revista Latinoamericana de Teologia, 6, 17: 141-84; copyright for the English
translation from the Jesuits in El Salvador would have to be cleared for
Macmillan by Prof. Zulehner)

Arno Tausch
(Associate Prof. of Political Science, University of Innsbruck,
Austria) The Social Scientific Relevance of Liberation Theology in the
Light of Recent Macroquantitative Evidence on World Development

Tausch analyses the underlying basic instability of the capitalist
world system by using quantitative multiple-regressions, using 19,
mostly UNDP based development indicators. Stocks of Foreign Direct
Investment (measured as a percentage of host country GDP) are shown to
affect subsequent development in a very negative way.

Elisabeth Schuessler-Fiorenza
(Stendahl Professor of Holy Scripture, Harvard University)
The Feminist Movement and Liberation Theology

Schuessler-Fiorenza analyses in her article the connections between feminist
theologies and liberation theologies

Inge Kaul
(Director, Office of Development Studies, UNDP, New York)
Global Public Goods: A New Rationale for Development Co-operation

An increasingly globalising world calls for "global public goods",
such as the provision of international communications ans
transportation systems, global health, balanced environmental
conditions, international peace and security dependening more and more
on human security. A growing number of arrangements to provide such
public goods has already emerged. Discussing the concept of "global
public goods" Kaul suggests to expand the concept of international
development co-operation to include the provision of global public
goods besides "aid".

Krystyna Tausch
(writer and specialist on Peruvian affairs, Salzburg)
Luis Zambrano (theologian and parish priest, former Commissioner of Human
Rights, Diocese of Puno, Peru) The 'Greening' of Liberation Theology - The
Peruvian Experience

Feminism and environmental concerns are relatively new issues for
liberation theology. The authors use the example of Peru to show the
relevance of this 'greening' of liberation theology. They focus on the
history and the recent experience of the feminism in Peru as well as
the environmental concerns of the Church in the Altiplano region.

Mansoob Murshed
(Lecturer in Economics, Dept. of European Studies, University of
Bradford) Development in the Light of Recent Debates about Development

Murshed deals with dependency theory as a means to analyse the process
of economic development after the Cold War. The East asian experience
shows that some economies with low income inequality do well in terms
of growth and may be more able to cope with economic shocks. The
concepts of dependency and unequal exchange are occasionally turned on
their heads as North-South trade is said to hurt unskilled workers in
the developed North.

Kunibert Raffer
(Associate Professor, Dept. of Economics, University of Vienna)
New Forms of Dependency in the World System

New and stronger froms of dependency developed during the 1980s and
1990s, ironically at a time, when the dependency approach had largely
vanished from academic debate. The debt problem, globalisation, and
changes in the economic framework, most notably by the Uruguay Round,
reduced the options of "developing countries" substantially, demanding
a new formulation of dependency relations.

Severin Renoldner
(social scientist, Linz, Austria, former Assistant Prof. and Member of
Parliament for the Austrian Green Party) Towards a Theology of the
Democratisation of Europe

Drawing on Renoldner’s experience as a theologian and a former
member of the Austrian Parliament for the Green Party he develops a
theology of democratisation. His new framework is to provide a
theoretical base for the evolution of alternative structures in

Robert J. Ross
(Professor of Sociology, Clark University, Worcester, Mass., USA)
NAFTA, the American Left and the Forces of Contradiction and
Contention in the Emerging World Order

Starting from his theory of global capitalism as a critique of former
dependency and imperialism theories Ross discusses the North Amercian
Free Trade Associatian (NAFTA). He shows how this form of capitalist
transnational integration affects the livelihoods and perspectives of
the working class in the United States.

A. Pieris
(Jesuit Priest, member of the board of editors, Concilium; Director of Tulana
Research Center, Sri Lanka, recognized by Buddhist authorities as master of
research and insight into ancient Pali texts)
The Theology of Harmony and the Contradictions of the Asian Economic Miracle

Starting from the inisght, that there is no room for Christ in Asia if the
Crhist being spoken of is a Western Christ, Pieris develops his ‘Asian Theology
of Liberation’

Paul Michael Zulehner
(Prof. of Theology, University of Vienna)
The Curch in Eastern Europe after the Transformation

The Church in Eastern Europe before the transformation was portrayed by many to
be a counter-model to liberation theology. Zulehner looks at the sociological
development of the Church in Eastern Europe after 1989 and discusses the
implications of the secularization process in the region for the perspectives on
liberation theology

Aims and objectives

Marking the demise of the Soviet-led Communist "East" the year 1989 is
often hailed as the final victory of capitalism. In the social
sciences this event is often said to signify the end of theories
analysing the present world system critically. Conservative and "pure
capitalist" ideas have, in fact, dominated thinking as well as
practical politics during the last years.

This has happened at the same time while the dependence of the South
and impoverishment in the North have increased dramatically. Now an
urgent need exists to analyse these new tendencies appropriately. A
revival of the results of dependency thinking and liberation theology,
two schools of thinking emanating from the South, has become
mandatory. It is necessary to take up the challenge of presently
ruling orthodox thinking by clarifying, elaborating and defending the
ideas of dependency theory, the world system approach, and liberation
theology as well as their strong relevance in and for the new,
post-1989 world system. Our interdisciplinary and ecumenical book does
so. At a time, when the economic and social viability of present
policies are increasingly doubted, these critical approaches can
provide useful insights and a better understanding of the mechanisms
of the world system, stimualating the discussion on present trends and

Intended Markets

As an interdisciplinary volume our book will be of great interest to
both social scientists and theologians, as well as to a readership
interested in present global trends and interdisciplinary research.
Markets would thus be

- universities and other academic libraries (in particular but not
exclusively in the social sciences and theology) as well as people
working in universities or research institutions - international
organisations, such as the UNDP, the OECD or the World Council of
Churches - Non-Governmental Organisations working on international
issues - scientists and politicians interested in issues of global
governance, which have increasingly become of interest in the recent
past - development institutions and agencies - interested individuals
and the general public - church groups of various denominations


None. This is precisely the reason why we decided to produce this


Dependency theory and liberation theology based on it are becoming
increasingly relevant concepts to analyse the present world system
marked by even stronger forms of dependence than those existing when
these schools of thinking emerged. This book takes up the challenges
to defend and clarify the important insights of these approaches
against the present conservative tide. Authors with different
scientific backgrounds elaborate and develop these critical approaches
further in the light of present tendencies towards crisis in the world


List of e-mail Addresses:


In case you might be interested in this subject further on, or perhaps you think
about sending me an extra top-quality-paper, please feel free to do it. We will
still carefully consider your contribution, although we're already pretty
tightened-up spacewise.

Kind regards from Warsaw and Salzburg (where I spend my weekends with my family)

Your colleague on the wsn
Arno Tausch