Most world leaders have viewed the financial crisis as a chance to re-think vital financial systems, including free trade, market regulation, and to some extent even capitalism. Not so, the Pope, who in a new encyclical due to be released soon, will demand globalization be harnessed not to make the rich richer, but to help the poor survive during this time of crisis.
It has been well established that poorer and developing countries have been most impacted by the recession, despite the evolution (ahem…sorry, Pontiff) of international financial institutions such as the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund. Yet, in an age of interconnectedness, many developed countries are closing ranks and neglecting to honor established methods of assisting their less fortunate neighbors – even the EU, an economic union, has fallen prey to the Hobbesian practice.
Aiming to reverse this trend, Pope Benedict XVI’s third encyclical urges world leaders to not burden the poor with the costs of financial reregulation – but to instead design the new system with them explicitly in mind. It’s a great idea – now if only the Papacy had the same influence it did, many years ago…