Greed or just good business?

If you subscribe to Michael Douglas’ character in the movie Wall Street, then “greed is right, greed works.”

If you subscribe to Michael Douglas’ character in the movie Wall Street, then “greed is right, greed works.”

The Bible takes a different approach, and says instead: “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

But perhaps a more practical approach is simply that money is necessary in our society as it stands.

However, with the lure of money in front of your face, it doesn’t always occur to a person where that money came from, only that they want it.

In today’s global village, however, money coming and going, whether to buy coffee or to sell wood, has ripple effects around the world. People in Fort St. James feel it when lumber values go down, people in Guatemala feel it even more when the price of coffee does. This week, there was a presentation made to district and council in Fort St. James by the school board promoting a new partnership between the school board and a real estate developer in China.

The partnership could open up very big opportunities for local wood suppliers, and would involve an offshore Canadian school in China to teach wealthy Chinese students and earn them our very valuable Canadian Dogwood diploma.

It could mean a lot of money to our school board and to local investors and regional mills.

But where does this money come from? A huge real estate developer who is going to build an entire city to relocate wealthy citizens from Beijing, which is becoming overcrowded?

China is a country where human rights abuses during large-scale developments are well-known, at least where media have actually managed to get in and examine what is happening. Incidents have been reported on for displacing rural peasants, with little or no compensation, leaving them with nothing. Great place to build a school?

What about the poor children’s educations? I guess they can’t afford the fancy Canadian school so perhaps they don’t count?

The environmental practices of these companies has also been criticized, destroying any natural landscape and ecology in favour of a manufactured park-like setting.

Not to mention the restrictions put on access to information on the internet the students in this “Canadian” school would have to navigate. Google pulled out of China after conflicts with the Chinese government’s policies.

Of course, on the other hand, perhaps by becoming involved, and going in with their eyes open, our local school board could try and influence the development for the better.

Perhaps by having international eyes overseeing the practices of this mega-developer, there is hope it could be done more equitably for those displaced, more environmentally sensitively and the students in the school could be shown what is possible with more freedom and a democratic process.

It would be hard, and it would require a lot of diplomatic skill, and it might not even be possible.

To do it ethically, the school district would have to understand they should be ready to pull out at any point if what they are doing would be contrary to the consciences of the people of School District 91.

If one family is mistreated, one child goes hungry and without shelter due to our greed, is it worth it?

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