Pope Francis loves to talk economics. And when you're the pope and you want to talk economics, you call a meeting and all the important players want to be there. There was such a meeting at the Vatican over this past weekend. The subject of the meeting was making the global economy more inclusive. The name of the conference was “The Global Common Good: Towards a more inclusive economy”. Among those attending were Bangladeshi economist Prof Muhammad Yunus. Mr. Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with microfinance. Also, Mark Carney, governor of Bank of England, Michel Camdessus, former managing director of International Monetary Fund and many other notables were in attendance.
Social activism in the global economy is not new to the Vatican. In October 2011, during the papacy of Benedict XVI, he called for a Global Financial Authority. He wanted to see the UN take on a role of policing the financial markets and make them more ethical. He said this despite the fact that the UN has no history of ever having made an ethical decision.
And Pope Francis has been talking a lot of economics lately as we here at DTTO News have been dutifully reporting. Reading through these articles will give you a good idea just where the pope's head is at.
All of this taken together paints a picture of a pope who would like to see a general redistribution of wealth on a global scale. He thinks the global common good is brought about by cold hard cash. Maybe the pope has been spending to much time his new "prosperity gospel" friends.
Here are two articles and links from the news media about this weekend's conference that I think you will find interesting.
Pope seeks advice from Yunus
Pope Francis, an outspoken critic of the current global economic system, has sought advice from Bangladeshi economist Prof Muhammad Yunus and other global thinkers to formulate an inclusive global economic policy. "The Catholic Church under the leadership of Pope Francis is seeking to formulate a new economic policy, taking into account the spiritual perspective," said a statement issued by Yunus Centre in Dhaka yesterday.
The leader of the worldwide Catholic Church invited the Nobel peace laureate and some other influential thinkers to a conference on “The Global Common Good: Towards a More Inclusive Economy” in Vatican City on July 11-12. The Pope took the initiative to hold the consultation meeting on what is needed at the global policy level to overcome the social plagues that humiliate the dignity of people.
In line with his predecessors, the Pope has declared his opposition to the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and to an attitude of indifference that characterises today's political, economic and social situation. He also expressed a keen interest in the social business idea developed by Prof Yunus and his view about the role of selflessness in the economy, according to the statement.
During the conference organised by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Prof Yunus highlighted his views about poverty, unemployment and state charity. He explained to the church leaders how social businesses could create a world free from unemployment, poverty, and dependence on state charity. "The present conceptual framework of capitalist economy is morally wrong and is based on a very narrow interpretation of human beings, which assigns a role which is antagonistic to the unleashing of basic human qualities of sharing and caring," Yunus said.
Global thinkers who attended the meeting include Jose Angel Gurria, secretary general of OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development); Mark Carney, governor of Bank of England; Michel Camdessus, former managing director of International Monetary Fund; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, finance minister of Nigeria; Donald Kaberuka, president of African Development Bank; Huguette Labelle, chairman of Transparency International, and Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute of Columbia University.
Conference underlines Pope’s social justice teachings
(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, in collaboration with the Secretariat of State, held a two-day conference, 12-13 July, at the Vatican on the concept of “inclusive economy”, which Pope Francis proposes in Evangelii Gaudium.
Some 70 scholars and representatives from business and international organizations participated in the closed-door sessions, aimed at deepening the thought and perspectives on social justice that Pope Francis puts forth in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.
Msgr Mario Toso, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, offered the keynote address. In an interview with Vatican Radio, he said distorted interpretations of the Pope’s words and accusations of Marxism underlined the need to explain that the Pope’s proposal for an “economy that is always more inclusive” does not imply the abandonment of a market economy, and that his allusion to an “economy that kills” refers to the idolatry of money.