Big business and Vatican join in push for ‘system change’

business and Vatican

The Catholic Church and more than 100 ‘big business’ entities launched a Council for Inclusive Capitalism at the Vatican seeking fundamental economic change.

The companies are participating, “under the moral guidance of His Holiness Pope Francis,” the Council said in a statement.

“An economic system that is fair, trustworthy, and capable of addressing the most profound challenges facing humanity and our planet is urgently needed,” Pope Francis said in a press release.

The member companies of the new council represent more than $US10.5 trillion in assets under management, $US2.1 trillion of market capitalisation, and 200 million workers in over 163 countries.

Francis added that the companies and business leaders on the council “have taken up the challenge by seeking ways to make capitalism become a more inclusive instrument for integral human well-being.”

Council founder Lynn Forester de Rothschild said in an interview that the body is focused on measurable actions for “true system change,” connected to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

Rothschild decried today’s forms of capitalism where some workers need welfare assistance. “Are you kidding me? You’re a Fortune 500 company and your employees are on the public dole?” she said.

To join the council, business leaders must commit to measurable steps to create a more equitable and fair economic system. This includes adherence to the UN’s sustainable development goals.

The companies must also take steps toward ending poverty, providing access to clean water, and reducing income inequality.

The group includes chief executive officers from “every part of the economic ecosystem,” according to Rothschild. “Guardians” of the project include leaders from the Bank of America, Visa, Mastercard, the International Trade Union Confederation and CalPERS, America’s biggest pension fund. There is also representation from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

This is not the first time the pope has taken a strong stance on capitalism. In the third encyclical of his papacy in October, Pope Francis rebuked free market capitalism.

In 2013, Pope Francis wrote an apostolic exhortation, chiding trickle-down economics. This theory suggests as the rich get richer, wealth trickles down and raises the middle class and poor.

“The marketplace, by itself, cannot resolve every problem, however much we are asked to believe this dogma of neoliberal faith,” he wrote in the encyclical letter.

“We’re going to fail. But that’s no reason for not trying” Rothschild said. “We’re not going to just turn on a switch and make greed go away. But one thing that’s nice about business being connected to the Vatican is a Christian principle of redemption and forgiveness.”



Business Insider


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