Cardinal Turkson Calls for "Inclusive and Sustainable" Global Economy

Urges “Globalisation of the Common Good” in Address to London School of Economics

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Attempts made to achieve financial gains for the few while ignoring the needs of very many “is no longer intelligent, productive or justifiable. This is according to Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice in Peace, during a lecture at the London School of Economics.

Economic inequality has been on the rise since the financial crash six years ago that resulted in the global recession, he said, and a solution to the crisis has yet to be established.

The cardinal called for an “inclusive and sustainable” global economy, where rich and poor nations are integrated and work together. The common good, the goal of all human striving, is personal and social and universal,” he said. “A most important corollary is that persons and communities who are economic actors are also moral actors. The same point can be made in another way: all economic choices, whether as consumers, business leaders, bankers, or policy-makers, inescapably have a moral dimension.

The economy, he continued, is no more a morality-free zone than politics, civil society, or the family. Economics, like all sciences, contains its own truths, which are studied and furthered by economic historians, philosophers, mathematicians and other specialists. To this, the Church offers the dialogue of faith. Economy needs to recover its sense of responsibility for the welfare of all denizens of the global household, he said.

Cardinal Turkson also reiterated his Pontifical Council’s controversial 2011 call for a global authority to regulate the global economy, which urges the world community to recognize that the global common good is seriously compromised by the failings of the international financial and monetary systems, and accordingly to exercise proportional responsibility for it.

Moreover, he noted how with globalization, what we experience, increasingly, is the complex interdependence of many human realities that we used to think of as separate from one another. He quoted Pope Francis, saying: It is intolerable that thousands of people continue to die every day from hunger, even though substantial quantities of food are available, and often simply wasted. The Holy Father went on to denounce what he referred to as the globalization of indifference.

On the contrary, said Cardinal Turkson, globalisation should finally also mean the globalisation of the common good. He said: “We must set aside familiar nostrums about invisible hands and unseen forces that largely leave out the vast majority, ignore the natural environment, and support the status quo.” Quoting Pope Francis, he added: A crisis can become a time of purification and a time to rethink our socio-economic models and of a certain understanding of progress that fed illusions, in order to recover what is most fully human.

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Full text of Cardinal Turkson’s lecture:

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