Friday, July 03, 2009

Zenit: Holy See on Economic Crisis and Development
"We Reiterate Our Plea That the Poorest Countries Be Given Priority" [2009-07-02]


Consequently, for the Holy See, there is, first and foremost, a compelling moral obligation to address these worsening social and economic disparities which undermine the basic dignity of so many of the world's inhabitants. At the same time Church institutions all over the world have seized the momentum to foment new structures of solidarity and to call for and encourage the redirection of the national and global financial and economic systems towards the principles of justice, solidarity and subsidiarity.

Given the vulnerability of so many of the world's poor, we endorse the proposed approach to protect them with short-term stabilization measures while using longer term measures to help ensure sustainable financial flows and reduce the likelihood of this crisis reoccurring. We also urge that the future agenda be not overly ambitious. Short-term actions must focus on means that are capable of bringing tangible relief within a reasonable time period to individuals most in need. Longer term measures -- which often may require developing a stronger political consensus to realize them -- should focus on actions that support sustainability. We therefore support the proposed practical balance between short-term needs for effective action and the longer term proposals to review the framework of the global economic system.

In terms of specific action, we welcome the commitments made at the G20 London Summit last April to make available more than $1 trillion in additional assistance. Unfortunately, however, only a small part of this assistance was targeted for the poorest developing countries. Hence, it is essential that adequate financial assistance still be directed to these countries, whose financing needs must be closely monitored. It is also important that such assistance be extended with minimal conditionality from the IFIs.

We are conscious of the human and social dimensions of this global crisis. In light of that, we support measures aimed at strengthening food security, the protection of social expenditures, and, more generally, a people centered focus of public expenditure. In this regard, we welcome particularly the proposals for the necessary additional resources to be made to the World Bank's Vulnerability Financing Framework.

New World Bank Group Vulnerability Financing Facility

And then there is this...
As the UN community assumes this collective responsibility to support the poorest developing countries at this time of financial crisis, we believe it is appropriate to recall the reflections of Pope Benedict XVI at the beginning of this year in celebrating World Day of Peace. He placed special emphasis on the essential need for a 'strong sense of global solidarity' between rich and poor countries to address effectively the fight against poverty. His appeal was essentially a moral one, based on the common good for all human beings.
Does the common good of the human race require that the UN undertake the responsibility to support developing countries? How would it enforce the rule of law and bring about justice, both of which are necessary for the common good? Relying on the current system to provide the necessary funds does not seem to be an acceptable solution, if the system is itself a form of exploitation and unjust. I can see why many are wary of redistributionist schemes, and those critics may have a point regarding the taking away of people's income unjustly--but I think the source of the funding and wealth must be examined too. Is Robin Hood just, if he is a representative of the government?

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