In a new document, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development have hit out at the global financial system slamming markets for serving the wealthiest and prioritising resulting in “a profoundly amoral culture,” NCR Online reports.
Entitled Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones and subtitled “Considerations for an Ethical Discernment Regarding Some Aspects of the Present Economic-Financial System,” the document warns that global markets are returning to past heights of “myopic egoism” 10 years after the financial crisis of 2008.
“Markets, the powerful propeller of the economy, are not capable of governing themselves,” the document says.
“It is time to initiate the recovery of what is authentically human, to expand the horizons of minds and hearts,” it continues. “It is … the duty of the competent agents and of those responsible to develop new forms of the economy and of finance, with rules and regulations that are directed towards the progress of the common good.”
The document argues that the economic system should “aim above all to promote the global quality of life that, before the indiscriminate expansion of profits, leads the way toward the integral well-being of the entire person and of every person.”
“No profit is in fact legitimate when it falls short of the objective of the integral promotion of the human person, the universal destination of goods, and the preferential option for the poor,” it states.
While it acknowledges that many financiers and stock traders are “animated by good and right intentions,” it says global markets have become “a place where selfishness and the abuse of power have the potential to harm the community beyond match.”
It says that although some modern wealth creation techniques are not “directly unacceptable from an ethical point of view,” they can be “instances of proximate immorality, that is, occasions that readily generate the kind of abuse and deception that can damage less advantaged counterparts.”
“Money in itself is a good instrument … and is a means to order one’s freedom and to expand one’s possibilities,” it continues. “Nevertheless, the means can easily turn against the person.”
“Likewise, the financial dimension of the business world, focusing business on the access of money through the gateway of the world of stock exchange, is as such something positive,” it states. “Such a phenomenon, however, today risks accentuating bad financial practices concentrated primarily on speculative transactions of virtual wealth.”
The document strongly criticise financial leaders, saying “the objective of mere profit easily creates a perverse and selective logic that often favors the advancement of business leaders who are capable, but greedy and unscrupulous.”
Such training, it says, helps “create and diffuse a profoundly amoral culture — in which one often does not hesitate to commit a crime when the foreseen benefits exceed the expected penalty.”
“Such behavior gravely pollutes the health of every economic-social system,” it continues. “It endangers the functionality and seriously harms the effective realization of that common good, upon which is necessarily founded every form of social institution.”
The document concludes with a call for all people, even modest consumers, to work towards making the financial system fairer.
Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones; Considerations for an ethical discernment regarding some aspects of the present economic-financial system” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Dicastery For Promoting Integral Human Development)