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Consumerism cannot sustain economy, Pope argues

November 15, 2010

The world’s continuing financial woes point to the need for “a profound reform of the global economic development model,” Pope Benedict XVI said at his Angelus audience on Sunday, November 14.

As Italians celebrated their annual day of Thanksgiving, the Holy Father spoke especially about agriculture, arguing that the work of farming requires support. Policy-makers, he said, should recognize the importance of small-scale farming, not merely as a bedrock of old-fashioned virtue but also “as an indispensable resource for the future.”

The Pope reminded his audience of the G20 leadership meeting that had recently convened in Seoul, and said that international leaders must address “the continuing imbalance between wealth and poverty, the scandal of hunger, environmental emergencies now also widespread, and the problem of unemployment.” He added that international trade agreements should not favor the wealthy nations, and the global economy cannot be reliably based on “unsustainable consumerism.”


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  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Nov. 16, 2010 12:38 PM ET USA

    It should be noted that "unsustainable consumerism" is a product of the transformation in economic attitudes spearheaded by Progressive economist John Maynard Keynes, at the start of the Great Depression. Traditional attitudes of saving and frugality, said Keynes, were wrong; the way to restore prosperity was to borrow and spend. That view has been followed by all the Western nations for the last 90 years, to our near-ruin. Teach the virtue of prudence, Holy Father!

  • Posted by: unum - Nov. 16, 2010 9:03 AM ET USA

    I am puzzled by the Holy Father's remarks. While moral principles are involved in the world's economic problems and teaching about moral principles is badly needed, the Pope chose to present positions on specific issues where he has no expertise. For example, promoting small farms to feed a rapidly growing world population strikes me as ill conceived and unhelpful. The world needs the Pope to use his moral authority to teach on moral issues rather than commenting on secular matters.