Taking a Wide View of Globalization

Church’s Social Doctrine Helps, Says Philosopher Jesús Villagrasa

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ROME, SEPT. 19, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Making sense of the phenomenon of globalization takes more than just the expertise of specialists, says a philosopher.

Father Jesús Villagrasa makes that point in his just-published book «Globalization: A Better World?» (Trillas). The debate over globalization will likely intensify in the wake of the failed World Trade Organization conference in Mexico.

For a perspective on the issue, ZENIT turned to Father Villagrasa, a professor at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum.

Q: What are the positive effects of globalization at present?

Father Villagrasa: The increase of efficiency and production, the widespread access to new technologies, the intense relations between countries and cultures, the new possibilities to foster peace and solidarity among peoples, the spread of the culture of human rights.

Q: And the negative ones?

Father Villagrasa: The global networks of terrorism, drugs, sexual tourism and forced migrations; the dominance of the economy over any other human value, which leaves cultures soulless; the market logic which, with unjust competition, widens the gap between rich and poor; international bodies in the hands of private interests; great powers that tend to configure monopolies, cancel national sovereignties and make cultural models uniform.

Q: In every chapter of your book, you give space to John Paul II’s thought. Why?

Father Villagrasa: With the help of experts in the matter, the book analyzes the economic, political and cultural aspects of globalization.

Of great help for the evangelical reading of these phenomena is the social doctrine of the Church and, in particular, the social teaching of John Paul II, because the Pope is a sharp analyst of wide horizons, more revolutionary than many of those opposed to globalism; more cautious, purposeful and realistic than the hyper-globalists.

Speaking of globalization, he expressed a phrase that reveals his frame of mind: «It is not enough to criticize. It is necessary to go further: It is necessary to be builders.»

Q: Is an evangelical reading, a Catholic view, of globalization «objective»?

Father Villagrasa: The objective analysis will be the one that best presents the object, the situation studied. Globalization is a complex fact. A «scientific» and «objective» reading of its data is necessary but it is not easy.

In fact, it requires the contribution of many experts. However, the expert in economics, politics, cultural anthropology, sociology and other related sciences tends, by his very specialization, to make very rigorous studies, which are reduced, however, to some aspect or part of the reality.

The results of these studies, if they are to be really objective, respecting the reality and not reduced to only one dimension, must be integrated in a wider view, which embraces and includes the other dimensions of reality.

Q: But to do this, the Gospel is not necessary.

Father Villagrasa: It’s true. But, in addition to its integration, the analyses of the experts must receive a proper interpretation. Philosophy renders great service in this work of integration and interpretation of knowledge.

Moreover, the social doctrine of the Church, although inspired by the Gospel, can also be understood and accepted by a nonbeliever, because it proposes, as a guide for globalization, moral principles attainable to human reason. In the book, I wished to make a reading of this type.

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