“Every economic system is legitimate if it thrives not merely through the quantitative development of exchange but rather by its capacity to promote the development of the entire person and of every person.”
This is said in the Holy See’s new document on the economy and finance, published on May 17, 2018, addressing many topics including the regulation of markets, speculation, credit, consumption, savings, fiscal system, offshore sites, public debt, and the banking system.
Signed on January 6 by Monsignor Luis F. Ladaria, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and by Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Development, it offers considerations and points of reference “to all men and women of good will.”
Titled “Oeconomicae et Pecuniariae Quaestiones. Considerations for An Ethical Discernment on Certain Aspects of the Present Economic and Financial System,” the document recommends “what truly humanizes man.”
“Well-being and development both demand and support each other, calling for sustainable policies and perspectives far beyond the short term,” it stressed.
“Money must serve and not govern,” it noted, advocating among other things “the creation of ethical committees within banks” or “a minimum tax on the transactions accomplished offshore . . . to resolve a great part of the problem of hunger in the world.”
In the management of enterprises it deplores, notably, “a profound amoral culture within which one doesn’t hesitate very often to commit offenses when the foreseen advantages outweigh the fixed penalties.”
The Holy See criticizes the morally unacceptable situations, the ethical violations, the “economic cannibalism,” and egoism. It pleads for regulations, for financial transparency and invites each one “as sentinels, to watch over genuine life and to make ourselves catalysts of a new social behavior, shaping our actions to the search for the common good, and establishing it on the sound principles of solidarity and subsidiarity.”
However, it expresses great appreciation for business and financial professionals and institutions and expresses hope for their positive impact to help others.
“In front of the massiveness and pervasiveness of today’s economic-financial systems, we could be tempted to abandon ourselves to cynicism, and to think that with our poor forces we can do very little. In reality,” it notes in the conclusion, “every one of us can do so much, especially if one does not remain alone.”
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