Ben, thank you for sharing your thoughts here and adding so much to the conversation. 🙂
“Or should we work on ourselves so that we can come to that point where parting with some of our wealth, time, and talent is not charity but doing justice?” Yes, I believe that is what we should be doing. Other things can and should be done in parallel (volunteer, donate, share talents, etc.), but unless we understand deep inside why we’re doing those things, unless we genuinely want to give, we won’t be doing them for the right reasons.
It’s true that the societies in developed countries are privileged and that we need to stop consuming and wasting so much, but I don’t think it should all be “thrown away”. There is so much good that can be taken and applied in a more sustainable way. And if we, the privileged societies, set and example and lead the way to a more sustainable way to live with abundance, then we will help lead the rest of the world in a better direction. Because no matter how screwed up, unsustainable, and unhealthy our way of life may be, we are still seen as the leaders. We are the trendsetters. We are who developing countries look to for the direction of their own future.
Let’s set a better example for them and lead the rest of the world to a more sustainable path by fixing our own personal lifestyles and finding ways to make the abundance we have access to sustainable.