Pope: economics without ethics leads to “throw-away” culture
By Robin Gomes
In the face of rising levels of poverty in the world that bear witness to the prevalence of inequality rather than a harmonious integration of persons and nations, what is urgently needed is a fair, trustworthy and capable system to address the most profound challenges of humanity and the planet.
Pope Francis made the comment on Monday while receiving the members of the Council for Inclusive Capitalism, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the inclusive capitalism movement.
He encouraged the Council to “persevere along the path of generous solidarity and to work for the return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings”.
Referring to his encyclical ”Laudato Si”, the Pope said that “business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving our world”. “It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the areas in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good”.
Integral development of every person
He recalled Pope Saint Paul VI, according to whom authentic development cannot be restricted to economic growth alone but must foster the growth of each person and of the whole person. Rather than merely balancing budgets, improving infrastructures or offering a wider variety of consumer goods, this means a “renewal, purification and strengthening of solid economic models based on our own personal conversion and generosity to those in need”.
Ethics, morals in economic system
“An economic system detached from ethical concerns,” he warned, “does not bring about a more just social order, but leads instead to a “throw-away” culture of consumption and waste.” When the moral dimension of economic life is recognized, he said, we are able to “act with fraternal charity, desiring, seeking and protecting the good of others and their integral development.”
The Pope reminded the Council that those engaged in business and economic life have the noble vocation of serving the common good by striving to increase the goods of this world and making them more accessible to all.
“In the end, it is not simply a matter of “having more”, but “being more”, the Pope said, underscoring the need for renewing hearts and minds so that the human person may always be placed at the centre of social, cultural and economic life.
Just and humane economy
The Holy Father expressed his gratitude for the commitment of the Council to the promotion of a more just and humane economy, along the core principles of the social doctrine of the Church, that takes into account the whole person.
“An inclusive capitalism that leaves no one behind, that discards none of our brothers or sisters,” the Pope said, “is a noble aspiration, worthy of your best efforts.”