Friday, June 17, 2011

Examining Caritas in Veritate, Part 3

Parts 1 and 2 focused on the Introduction and Chapter 1 of CV, which were concerned with the purpose and scope of the encyclical. Chapter 2 dives into applying this broader picture to specific situations or principles.

Pope Benedict XVI first reviews the situation today in light of Pope Paul VI's vision of development:
Paul VI had an articulated vision of development. He understood the term to indicate the goal of rescuing peoples, first and foremost, from hunger, deprivation, endemic diseases and illiteracy. From the economic point of view, this meant their active participation, on equal terms, in the international economic process; from the social point of view, it meant their evolution into educated societies marked by solidarity; from the political point of view, it meant the consolidation of democratic regimes capable of ensuring freedom and peace.

The proper role of profit and economic growth within human development:
Profit is useful if it serves as a means towards an end that provides a sense both of how to produce it and how to make good use of it. Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty. The economic development that Paul VI hoped to see was meant to produce real growth, of benefit to everyone and genuinely sustainable. It is true that growth has taken place, and it continues to be a positive factor that has lifted billions of people out of misery — recently it has given many countries the possibility of becoming effective players in international politics. Yet it must be acknowledged that this same economic growth has been and continues to be weighed down by malfunctions and dramatic problems, highlighted even further by the current crisis.

Current socioeconomic problems plauging the world:
1) "The technical forces in play,
2) the global interrelations,
3) the damaging effects on the real economy of badly managed and largely speculative financial dealing,
4) large-scale migration of peoples, often provoked by some particular circumstance and then given insufficient attention,
5) the unregulated exploitation of the earth's resources...

...all this leads us today to reflect on the measures that would be necessary to provide a solution to problems that are not only new in comparison to those addressed by Pope Paul VI, but also, and above all, of decisive impact upon the present and future good of humanity."

More problems to address:
6) Increases in overall wealth, but also increasing poverty and growing inequalities:
The world's wealth is growing in absolute terms, but inequalities are on the increase. In rich countries, new sectors of society are succumbing to poverty and new forms of poverty are emerging. In poorer areas some groups enjoy a sort of “superdevelopment” of a wasteful and consumerist kind which forms an unacceptable contrast with the ongoing situations of dehumanizing deprivation. “The scandal of glaring inequalities” continues.

7) Corruption and exploitation are still rampant:
Corruption and illegality are unfortunately evident in the conduct of the economic and political class in rich countries, both old and new, as well as in poor ones. Among those who sometimes fail to respect the human rights of workers are large multinational companies as well as local producers.

8) Int'l aid is often loaded with alterior motives:
International aid has often been diverted from its proper ends, through irresponsible actions both within the chain of donors and within that of the beneficiaries.

9 & 10) Rich countries are overly protective of their wealth and intellectual property and social norms in poorer countries are preventing authentic development:
On the part of rich countries there is excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property, especially in the field of health care. At the same time, in some poor countries, cultural models and social norms of behaviour persist which hinder the process of development.

Despite all these, Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that the current economic crisis offers us "an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future."

More importantly, he reminds us that "progress of a merely economic and technological kind is insufficient. Development needs above all to be true and integral."

Part 4 will take a closer look at some of these problems and other problems occuring in our time.

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