The 2010 FIFA World Cup is just around the corner, hosted in a country where the disparity between rich and poor is striking. The paradox of hosting a multi-billion dollar global entertainment event amongst an economically lopsided population brings to light society’s seemingly tunnel-vision attitude towards pleasure-seeking, coupled with an indifferent oversight of attempting to meet the community’s basic needs:
We see amongst us men who are overburdened with riches on the one hand, and on the other those unfortunate ones who starve with nothing; those who possess several stately palaces, and those who have no where to lay their head.
One could mention that an event such as the 2010 FIFA World Cup provides employment for thousands. This may be true, but of a certainty there exist more genuine approaches of sustainable empowerment and community building; approaches that are not the mere by-products of a once-off event.
One could also argue that this camaraderie and entertainment promote personal as well as community well-being. This may be true, but where do our boundaries lie?
One of the signs of a decadent society, a sign which is very evident in the world today, is an almost frenetic devotion to pleasure and diversion, an insatiable thirst for amusement, a fanatical devotion to games and sport, a reluctance to treat any matter seriously, and a scornful, derisory attitude towards virtue and solid worth.. Frivolity palls and eventually leads to boredom and emptiness, but true happiness and joy and humour that are parts of a balanced life that includes serious thought, compassion and humble servitude to God, are characteristics that enrich life and add to its radiance.
(From a letter dated 8 May 1979 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)
Presently, the global sports industry is worth billions. The question is what should it be worth? Are the salaries that individual players earn just and acceptable? Is the importance attached to one’s fanatical devotion to largely commercial entities justified? Importantly, what qualitative value can be attached to sports, as far as the rank of professions and service to society is concerned?
The arrangements of the circumstances of the people must be such that poverty shall disappear, that everyone, as far as possible, according to his rank and position, shall share in comfort and well-being.. Now the remedy must be carefully undertaken. It cannot be done by bringing to pass absolute equality between men.. Equality is a chimera! It is entirely impracticable! Even if equality could be achieved it could not continue — and if its existence were possible, the whole order of the world would be destroyed. The law of order must always obtain in the world of humanity. Heaven has so decreed in the creation of man.
Some are full of intelligence, others have an ordinary amount of it, and others again are devoid of intellect. In these three classes of men there is order but not equality.
Certainly, some being enormously rich and others lamentably poor, an organization is necessary to control and improve this state of affairs. It is important to limit riches, as it is also of importance to limit poverty. Either extreme is not good. To be seated in the mean  is most desirable.
[1 'Give me neither poverty nor riches.' -- Prov. 30: 8]
Abdu’l-Bahá goes on further to outline the basic requirements of preserving the ‘law of order’:
There must be special laws made, dealing with these extremes of riches and of want. The members of the Government should consider the laws of God when they are framing plans for the ruling of the people. The general rights of mankind must be guarded and preserved.
The government of the countries should conform to the Divine Law which gives equal justice to all. This is the only way in which the deplorable superfluity of great wealth and miserable, demoralizing, degrading poverty can be abolished. Not until this is done will the Law of God be obeyed.