unctad.org | Pope’s envoy decries lost chance to reform global finance system
Pope’s envoy decries lost chance to reform global finance system
06 June 2018
TDB 65th
Cardinal Peter Turkson, who leads the Vatican’s work on “Humanam progressionem” (Latin for “Human Development”), discussed a new report on the ethics of globalization at the Trade and Development Board.


A chance was lost to reform the global economy in the decade since the 2008 financial crisis, says a Vatican report into the current economic-financial system that has been launched in Geneva, Switzerland at an UNCTAD meeting.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development – a department in the Vatican created by Pope Francis in 2016 – discussed the report on 6 June during the sixty-fifth session of the Trade and Development Board.

“The global financial crisis of 2008 was a potential watershed moment,” Mr. Turkson said. “Yet, this chance for wider reflection and the promotion of reform was missed.”

The report, “Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones. Considerations for an ethical discernment on certain aspects of the current economic-financial system 2018,” was initially released in Rome, Italy, earlier this year.

Cardinal Peter Turkson

“The growing influence of financial markets on the material well-being of most of humankind remains a core obstacle to progress, reform and the promotion of integral human development,” Mr. Turkson said.

“What is more, ‘hyperglobalization’ has by now resulted in structural shifts in the relations between nation states and large corporations. These are not limited to financial markets, but as UNCTAD has rightly  pointed out in its most recent Trade and Development Report, have produced a new breed of corporate rentierism that has largely succeeded in leveraging growing market and lobbying powers to influence national and regional regulatory policy frameworks in a number of key areas for development to facilitate corporate rent-extraction.”

Mr. Turkson said that the Holy See had a duty to speak out on the ethics of economic-financial systems and development because “development is about the human person” and the well-being of the human person was clearly a church matter.

The Holy See has had observer status in the United Nations system since 1964, and is a full member of UNCTAD.

“It is in our view indispensable that we find our way back to a global financial system that is again built on firm ethical principles and their daily application, of justice, truth fairness and solidarity,” Mr. Turkson said.

“I am sure that the Holy See and UNCTAD share a deep commitment to these values and objectives,” he said.

Earlier, the Cardinal joked that he did not represent an “advance party” for Pope Francis, who was due to visit Geneva on 21 June.


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