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The conscience dilemmas of the First World

By: M. V. Tronson
Christian Today Australia Columnist
Wednesday, 28 January 2009, 8:51 (EST)
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Tweed Heads: Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson, a Baptist minister of 31 years asks the question: 'Do those of us in the First World as a matter of principle lower our living standards (or not raise them further) so as to give that money to the Second and Third Worlds, or is there a legitimate aim that endeavours to bring those countries less prosperous to a higher standard of living?'

To illustrate, with an example of First World monies 'unspent', M V Tronson cites Queensland's Gold Coast airport new development will not include 'air-bridges'. This was raised again recently when passengers were kept aboard an arriving flight for 60 minutes as they were not permitted to walk across the tarmac during an hour long electrical storm.

Gold Coast resident Warwick Capper the former Sydney Swans champion AFL footballer happened to be on board that particular aircraft and hence the public interest as he is reconsidering standing for Mayor at the next local elections.

Dismay that air-bridges will not be part of the new airport development is old news, and Chief Operations Officer of the Gold Coast Airport Mr Paul Donovan is unrepentant in that air-bridges increase charges (Tweed/Border Mail, 8 January 2009). As the Gold Coast airport had just under 5 million passenger turn-around last year, Capper said, “It makes the Gold Coast look like a hick destination.”

“I doubt whether those Gold Coast airport's new development corporate dollar savings will go to aid the Second or Third Worlds,” M V Tronson commented.

“The First World person of conscience is legitimately filled with remorse but is also faced with issues of economic and political corruption. It seems slow going even with the help of NGO international aid organisations and Government to Government relaxation of debt.”

It is more than a realisation that the Third and Second world needs help, says M V Tronson. In recent months he says there has been a string of news items brought to the national consciousness that is sending subliminal messages to keep such problems out of Australia.

The First World, M V Tronson says, appears to be bunkering down and it's not only being seen in Australia, but Europe has been moving in this direction for some time and cites Holland's recent new laws regarding immigration.

If this is the direction in which the First World is heading, M V Tronson asks, what realistically might be done to assist in the process of bringing the Third and Second toward First World standards. Even churches are considering these questions.

“The suburban church my wife and I worship is currently engaging in five weeks of studies on the sort of genuine aid we in the First World might offer. There is certainly a 'one by one' emphasis heavily controlled by people on the ground in such needy nations, rather than the big black hole of the bigger picture,” M V Tronson noted.

This illustrates the heightened tension, says M V Tronson, between those in the First World with a world view that seeks to migrate disadvantaged peoples to First World nations, and those whose world view seeks to help those same people in their own situations through welfare, health, education, industry and commerce.


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