Economy of Francesco: ‘A better global economy starts with each of us’

The Economy of Francesco kicks off on Thursday, 19 November, and runs for three days online, with the heart of the event taking place in the Italian town of Assisi.Called for by Pope Francis, the event hopes to inspire young people to initiate a process of global change in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi and the encyclical Laudato si’.Another goal is to prod young economists and entrepreneurs to do their part toward imbuing the economic system with justice, inclusivity, and sustainability, along the lines set out in Pope Francis’ recent encyclical Fratelli tutti.The Economy of Francesco will focus on themes such as work, finance, education, and artificial intelligence.

A community working together

According to Anna Maria Geogy, the Economy of Francesco is a “community of people coming from very different walks of life, but who believe that we can do way better than what our economy is right now.”This young Catholic teacher from Bengaluru, India, says she and her colleagues hope to help create a new reality centered on the human person and human dignity.

‘Be the change you want to see’

But how, one might ask, can young people change the global economy for the better?Well, Ms Geogy draws inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi and his encouragement to “Be the change you want to see.”“The world economy, as much as it’s a larger place, can also start with each of us,” she says. “That means it has to begin with youth like me, in my house, in my workplace, and in the choices I make.”Creating a ripple effect, adds Ms Geogy, is how The Economy of Francesco event seeks to effect change, by giving young people across the world a “platform to come together and brainstorm.”

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Global problems, local solutions

When the young member of the Focolare Movement first got involved in the event, she felt the economic problems she saw in her part of the world were specific to that area.Meeting people from other parts of the globe, Ms Geogy realized that “essentially a lot of problems are the same, and the causes behind a lot of these problems are the same.”She diagnoses those causes to “the love of neighbor”, or perhaps the lack thereof.

‘Let the children come to me’

Ms Geogy trained and worked for a time as an architect. But she soon got involved with the Teach for India Fellowship, which led her to teach a host of subjects to low-income children in urban slums.Now she believes that the best place to effect change begins with children.“For the economy to be better, it should treat everyone as a human entity, seeing the human person, and in a special way starting with children,” she says.One way to verify the correctness of an economic system, asserts Ms Geogy, is to evaluate its impact on women and children. “If their health and livelihood are taken care of, if their dignity is taken care of, then that shows you the measure of the society.”


Though the global economy may seem a soulless, impersonal entity, young participants in the Assisi event don’t think it has to be that way.“The Economy of Francesco is trying to give the global economy a soul, a flavor, a personality,” says Ms Geogy. “It’s not something that is uniform, but that comes from the diversity of all the people, putting their little parts together: A creation of a soul for the global economy.”

‘Utopian exercise?’

Is this just a pie-in-the-sky exercise in dialogue?No, affirms Ms Geogy. “This is actually not like a utopia, but is very doable. And there are people everywhere doing it.”

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Interestingly (and perhaps tellingly) I can find no mention of the word “Christ” or even “Christian” in the article you kindly linked to.

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It is even worse than that.

And here come the geriatric Marxists.

These people are speaking in their capacity as ecology specialists and I’m quite sure were not presenting their anti Catholic beliefs at the forum. How can we justify sitting back and criticizing every effort being made to bring about a better world whilst offering and doing nothing about it ourselves? That was never the Catholic response before. Catholics were known for action in the face of all the chattering.

The young adults were joined by experts in their fields who participated in their online discussions, offered encouragement and gave feedback for ways to improve their projects and research.

Paraphrasing a prayer of St. Francis, Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the dicastery, thanked the young adults “for bringing light into our dark world, for bringing love in these times of indifference, for bringing hope to many of us who are in despair, and for bringing faith in a different economy that can serve an inclusive and sustainable world.”

“The economy must serve people, not the other way around,” the cardinal said, and it should do so “by healing what hurts people, meaning inequality, corruption, individualism and all sorts of social illnesses related to the creation of ‘not so good’ wealth.”

“Good wealth,” he said, is not measured simply by quantity; it “promotes integral human development while caring for our common home.”

Pope Francis then went on to note that a change is needed, wanted and seeked. “We do not have adequate and inclusive answers” to the problems that arise, he said, and “we lack the necessary culture and spirituality to allow and stimulate the opening of different visions and that does not allow itself to be locked in by a single dominant logic.”

“If there is an urgent need to find answers, it is essential to grow and support leading groups capable of developing culture, initiate processes - don’t forget this word: initiate processes - chart paths, broaden horizons, create belonging… Every effort to administer, care for and improve our common home, if this effort is to be significant, requires changing “lifestyles, production and consumption models, the consolidated power structures that today govern society”. Without doing this, you will do nothing.”

Too many people are suffering from this social and economic crisis, continued the Pope. “We must return a little to the mystique of the common good.”

In this way, continued the Pope, “the future will be a special time, in which we feel called to recognise the urgency and the beauty of the challenge presented to us”. It will be a time, he continued, “that reminds us that we are not condemned to economic models that focus their immediate interest on profits as a unit of measurement and the pursuit of similar public policies that ignore their human, social and environmental cost.”

We cannot afford to keep putting off certain issues, said the Pope.

Today, thinking of the common good, we need in an inescapable way that politics and the economy, in dialogue, place themselves decisively at the service of life, especially human life". It is not enough to increase the common wealth for it to be equally distributed - no, this is not enough - it is not enough to promote technology so that the earth becomes more human to inhabit". This is not enough either.

Credit systems alone are a road to poverty and dependence, said the Pope. He explained that this “legitimate protest” calls for the stimulation and accompaniment of a model of international solidarity that recognizes and respects the interdependence between nations and favours control mechanisms capable of avoiding any kind of submission, as well as overseeing the promotion of the most disadvantaged and developing countries; each people is called to make itself the author of its own destiny and that of the entire world.

Dear young people, “get your hands dirty” and do not forget, from a crisis we never come out the same: we come out better or worse.

Concluding his videomessage, Pope Francis noted that "History teaches us that there are no systems nor crises able to completely cancel the capacity, the ingenuity, and creativity that God does not cease to stir in hearts. With dedication and fidelity to your people, to your present and your future, you can join others in weaving a new way of making history. Do not be afraid, said the Pope , to get involved and to touch the soul of the cities with the gaze of Jesus; do not be afraid to dwell courageously in conflicts and the crossroads of history so as to anoint them with the aroma of the Beatitudes. Do not be afraid, because no one is saved alone. No one is saved alone. To you young people, coming from 115 countries, I invite you to recognise that we need each other to give life to this economic culture."

One of the key speakers at this conference was Dr. Vandana Shiva:

Read a little about what serious scientists have said publicly.

" Letter regarding Dr Vandana Shiva’s anti-scientific and unethical stances"

Those who support giant agribusiness corporations are fighting hard to quash any pushback against their monopolizing of global produce markets. For example the first complaint they have about Dr Shiva, ie that GMO corporate farms product is taking root in neighboring local farms. That is actually happening all over the world! The most immoral thing is that the corporate GMO agribusinesses have taken to suing those local farmers when they find their product in the neighboring fields. Of course they are accusing anyone of threatening their multibillion dollar gig or being anti science. But there are seriously legitimate questions about the whole GMO industry.

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So it is OK to let a person who is against vaccines speak at a forum about children’s diseases, because they can be trusted to check their views at the door?

Not just any old nutcase but if a person has some expertize in the field that could contribute to a discussion/forum, it’s not unusual at all. The Pontifical Academies invite a variety of experts who aren’t Catholic to contribute to a topic being studied. It is one of Pope Francis’ great charisms ie opening a gap between people to allow the flow of grace to be part of the process and solutions to problems.

Pope: ‘Miracle’ of cooperation based on relationships not profit

The analogy didn’t ask about people who don’t get vaccines. It asked about people who actively oppose vaccinations.

There is a big difference between Non-Catholics and Anti-Catholics.

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