Economic Justice

Quaker concern about Economic Injustice

Quakers believe that there is 'that of God in everyone'. It follows from this conviction that no one person is inherently better or deserving of respect than another. (This is the source of some of the better-known Quaker traditions from times when respect for the social hierarchy was the norm: Quakers used informal pronouns (thee and thou) and men did not raise their hats to show respect to a social better. And, today, QCEA staff still do not use titles of respect, such as Mr or Ms, but rather the full name of anyone whom we are addressing.)

Many Quakers have long held a concern for economic justice, reconciliation, and the right sharing of world resources. In the past, when Quakers and other non-conformists were denied access to universities in the United Kingdom (which then included the whole of Ireland), many started their own businesses. The concern for right treatment of workers was shown by many Quaker business owners. There is now an active group of Quakers in business in Britain who collaborate on improving best practice, as do many Quakers in other countries as well.

Our actions together create our world: Quakers work to ensure that the world we are creating is the world in which we want to live and to share with other people, including our children.

Recent work

Free trade and economic inequality

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
The EU is in the process of negotiating a number of free trade deals. The two largest deals are the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada (signed September 2014, but not yet ratified), and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the United States.

Although free trade is often promoted with promises of increased prosperity, QCEA questions whether the increased wealth predicted will come to ordinary citizens or to multinational corporations. The inclusion in both deals of an investor-state dispute mechanism, by which corporations will be able to sue nations and thereby affect the legislative freedom of democratically elected governments, is of particular concern.