in print
62
Money, Money, Money
“You can’t have capitalism without racism.” - Malcolm X
“You can’t have capitalism without racism.” - Malcolm X
Two Paths

Whether we want to or not, we all participate in a capitalist system that places the majority of wealth and decision making in the hands of very few. The world’s richest 1 percent own more wealth than the rest of the global population combined, while those in poorer countries see their natural resources exploited.

How Capitalism Echoes the Bible

As a Chinese American female and the oldest of 12 children who lived in one of the poorest sections in Chicago, I did not grow up having the latest clothes or toys that were flung at us in television commercials.

Yick Wo and the Good Samaritan

We owe a lot to Yick Wo. By we, I mean Asians living in the United States, whether we’re citizens or not. And by Yick Wo, I mean the man who went to jail for running a laundromat in a wooden building.

Erasing Margins
Malaysia’s Legacy of Colonialism and its Profit-Making Roots

I once asked my mom, “Why is it that so many of the models in Malaysian advertisements are white or Eurasian?” “It’s the colonial mindset,” she replied.

From Nepal with Love

I received a call from my Kaki (aunt in Nepalese) in Nepal the other day. It seems she is feeling unwell again, and I am worried her body is becoming weaker day by day.

One Pot of Rice

After graduating from college, I bought a one-way ticket to South Korea. A professor had invited me and two close friends to join a radical progressive group of activists in Incheon, where they were looking for English teachers.

Leaving the Road
Leading from a Different Lens

I always feel like I am translating the latest leadership advice to make it useful. I rarely identify with the opportunities or challenges that these leaders discuss at length.

I Am the One Percent
Leveraging Privilege for Social Change

My grandparents, the first generation in my family to immigrate to the U.S. from Hong Kong, ran multiple restaurants and were considered middle-class. Although they were not rich, they were able to save enough money to invest in real estate where they used most of that money for their current retirement.

Imagining Beyond the Bottom Line

I was too close to the edge of my seat not to fall out, and when I finally did, my partner next to me returned my grin. The film we were watching had my support long before I walked through the movie theater doors, but seeing someone who looked just a little bit like me drew me deeper into the story.

Gut Check
Twenty-Nine Questions to Consider on Capitalism

When I was about 7 years old, I remember feeling very distraught as I questioned why houses in the hills were much nicer than the houses on the boulevard. Our home overlooked Echo Park and downtown Los Angeles, and we could hear the roar of a Dodgers game and see fireworks from the stadium on certain occasions.

Capitalism’s Murky Compass

I’m currently being trained as a Christian social ethicist in a doctoral program. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned so far is that although Christians often assume we “already know” how to discern right from wrong making ethical choices is more complicated than we think.

Do No Harm in a Broken System?
How a Business Model Hurts the Health Care System and the Well-being of Patients and Communities

Our health care system is broken. Few, if any, would disagree, though some might argue the extent of its brokenness.

Moving from Guilt to Responsibility

I recently moved to New York for my first job. For the first time in my life, I am somewhat financially comfortable. Yesterday, a direct deposit into my savings account made me feel independent and safe from having extra money sitting around.

Faith in Action
Dismantling Plantation Capitalism Through Collective Worker Organizing

Over 20 years ago, as a freshly minted lawyer at what was then known as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, I was fortunate to work on a landmark case under the mentorship of Julie Su, representing 80 Thai workers who had been enslaved behind barbed wire in an El Monte sweatshop and forced to sew garments for some of the nation’s leading manufacturers and retailers.

Embracing Inconvenience

“You know you’ve made it into the Mann family when you start washing Ziploc bags to save some plastic.” I laughed at my brother-in-law as we both stared at the dripping Ziploc bags hanging from the kitchen sink handle.

Minimalist Teaching

Facebook recently showed a picture of me as a special education teacher in my very first classroom almost a decade back. When I looked at this image, all I could focus on was all the stuff.

Dumplings and Benjamin Franklin

Russell Jeung says Chinese people can speak two love languages fluently: food and sacrifice.

An Ode to My Melancholy Militants

I have vivid memories of Victory Outreach Church while growing up in northeast Spokane, Washington. Although I was not a congregant, the building that Victory Outreach was housed in was unforgettable, primarily because of the murals it featured on the exterior of the building.

Whether we want to or not, we all participate in a capitalist system that places the majority of wealth and decision making in the hands of very few.

The world’s richest 1 percent own more wealth than the rest of the global population combined, while those in poorer countries see their natural resources exploited. Billionaires like Jeff Bezos continue to amass extraordinary wealth, while many of his Amazon warehouse workers rely on food stamps. More than 10 percent of employees at “the happiest place on Earth” have experienced homelessness in the last two years; 68 percent are “food insecure”, lacking sufficient access to safe and nutritious food. The president at the University of Southern California, my alma mater, is paid almost $2 million annually, while non-tenure track faculty, who teach the majority of classes, are paid $5,000 per course.

How was such accumulation of wealth and inequity addressed by Jesus? In the Gospels, a rich man approaches Jesus, asking how one inherits eternal life, aside from keeping all the commandments. Jesus answers, “Go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor. Come, follow me.”

How was such accumulation of wealth and inequity addressed by Jesus?

In Mark, an extra commandment is added: “You shall not defraud”. Luke includes Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus the tax collector several lines after Jesus’ encounter with the rich man, providing a contrast between the two men’s responses. One, upon hearing what must be done, becomes sad because of his great wealth and his inability to let go of his possessions, and walks away. The other, in the face of Jesus’ presence, proclaims that he will give half of his possessions to the poor and pay back four times those he had cheated, out of recognition that his wealth was sustained by unequal economic conditions.

With these accounts, we consider not only the issue of accumulating things, but also the unjust structure of defrauding and exploiting others to accumulate wealth. Jesus’ teachings are replete with teachings against wealth and storing treasures on earth, for “no one can serve two gods ... You can’t worship God and wealth both.” (Matthew 6:24)

If worshipping God includes loving your neighbor, worshipping wealth in a capitalist system means exploiting your neighbor.

If worshipping God includes loving your neighbor, worshipping wealth in a capitalist system means exploiting your neighbor.

As we examine how capitalism allows rich individuals and companies to enslave our sisters and brothers, devalue the disabled and elderly, and take advantage of the poor, what is our response? Do we choose the path of abundantly interconnected lives? Or will we cling to the idea that our wealth will save us and walk away?

Want this issue in print?
Leaving the Road
Leading from a Different Lens

I always feel like I am translating the latest leadership advice to make it useful. I rarely identify with the opportunities or challenges that these leaders discuss at length.

I Am the One Percent
Leveraging Privilege for Social Change

My grandparents, the first generation in my family to immigrate to the U.S. from Hong Kong, ran multiple restaurants and were considered middle-class. Although they were not rich, they were able to save enough money to invest in real estate where they used most of that money for their current retirement.

Imagining Beyond the Bottom Line

I was too close to the edge of my seat not to fall out, and when I finally did, my partner next to me returned my grin. The film we were watching had my support long before I walked through the movie theater doors, but seeing someone who looked just a little bit like me drew me deeper into the story.

Gut Check
Twenty-Nine Questions to Consider on Capitalism

When I was about 7 years old, I remember feeling very distraught as I questioned why houses in the hills were much nicer than the houses on the boulevard. Our home overlooked Echo Park and downtown Los Angeles, and we could hear the roar of a Dodgers game and see fireworks from the stadium on certain occasions.

Capitalism’s Murky Compass

I’m currently being trained as a Christian social ethicist in a doctoral program. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned so far is that although Christians often assume we “already know” how to discern right from wrong making ethical choices is more complicated than we think.

Do No Harm in a Broken System?
How a Business Model Hurts the Health Care System and the Well-being of Patients and Communities

Our health care system is broken. Few, if any, would disagree, though some might argue the extent of its brokenness.

Moving from Guilt to Responsibility

I recently moved to New York for my first job. For the first time in my life, I am somewhat financially comfortable. Yesterday, a direct deposit into my savings account made me feel independent and safe from having extra money sitting around.

Faith in Action
Dismantling Plantation Capitalism Through Collective Worker Organizing

Over 20 years ago, as a freshly minted lawyer at what was then known as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, I was fortunate to work on a landmark case under the mentorship of Julie Su, representing 80 Thai workers who had been enslaved behind barbed wire in an El Monte sweatshop and forced to sew garments for some of the nation’s leading manufacturers and retailers.

Embracing Inconvenience

“You know you’ve made it into the Mann family when you start washing Ziploc bags to save some plastic.” I laughed at my brother-in-law as we both stared at the dripping Ziploc bags hanging from the kitchen sink handle.

Minimalist Teaching

Facebook recently showed a picture of me as a special education teacher in my very first classroom almost a decade back. When I looked at this image, all I could focus on was all the stuff.

Dumplings and Benjamin Franklin

Russell Jeung says Chinese people can speak two love languages fluently: food and sacrifice.

An Ode to My Melancholy Militants

I have vivid memories of Victory Outreach Church while growing up in northeast Spokane, Washington. Although I was not a congregant, the building that Victory Outreach was housed in was unforgettable, primarily because of the murals it featured on the exterior of the building.