Thinking about inheritance: BBC Radio Scotland, 7 December

By Simon Barrow
December 6, 2014

Tomorrow morning (Sunday 7 December) I am taking part in a discussion on BBC Radio Scotland unpacking the ethics of inheritance, how it touches our heads and hearts, and how it relates to issues of social justice for this and future generations.

"Sunday Morning with…" begins at 7.05am and can be heard online (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04t9g7x). Writer and commentator Katie Grant is in the Glasgow studio for this item, while I'm with presenter Cathy Macdonald in Edinburgh. The item will be broadcast some time before 8am.

The issue of inheritance is a tough one. On the one hand it is a transfer of wealth between generations which has the effect of hugely widening growing inequalities in society; on the other, it is a very human impulse to pass something on to loved ones.

My approach will be to stress that we need a wider view of what we pass on to future generations - thinking of our legacy in terms of what we leave the earth, the local community and the global community, as well as family and friends. It is part of our interdependence across time and geography.

Christian and other religious traditions encourage us to think of "worldly goods" as just that – goods to be shared, not products to be hoarded. There are also more imaginative ways in which public policy can and must tackle the problem of large concentrations of unaccountable, unearned wealth so that people and planet truly benefit.

These and other issues will be among the discussion points. The item, as part of the longer programme, will also be available to listen online: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007wbls/episodes/guide

More to follow. In the meantime I commend this thoughtful piece by Gabby Hinsliff: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/04/obsession-inheritan...

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© Simon Barrow is co-director of Ekklesia.

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