how to live justly???

Overloaded mule

I attended a short seminar on the concept of justice in leadership today. It was not well attended, but the information covered was excellent. There are thousands of books on leadership, there are blogs and podcasts, research institutes and journals. I have never heard it said that justice lies at the heart of good leadership before today.

So, today was a time to reflect and think about what leadership means. In the context of the seminar, the natural question is what does justice mean? I have been reading a book recently that discusses the beginnings of the industrial age and how that contributed to women being kept out of the workforce, and thus marginalised for centuries. The issue of justice comes into play there.

The government in Australia is refusing to acknowledge refugees who do not fly into the country, rejecting “boat people” as if they are impostors. If people are fleeing injustice, how does Australia serve justice? It is not just a question of people arriving without permission, or of how much they paid to get here, there are wider questions of justice at play.

The earth will not recover from the lifestyles we in the West currently seek to live. There is a question of justice for future generations, to whom we are leaving a damaged planet. It is not fair that they do not get to enjoy the abundance of the earth while we have built multinationals and put lots of tokens of wealth in the bank.

In order for me to buy cheap clothes, someone in a third world country has to work 16 hour days in a sweatshop under hazardous conditions. While they are there, they have no contact with their families, they are paid a pittance, and sometimes they are not even allowed to use the bathroom. Where is justice in my shopping?

Those are the big picture questions. The smaller picture questions are about how I manage to live justly in my life. How does the minutiae of daily life as I live it reflect justice? How can I live in a way that is just? How do I bring justice into daily life, in my dealings with other people, how I manage resources, how I live on this planet??? There is no simple answer, and I have no instructions for you. I only have more questions about how to live in a way that brings justice.

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