Saturday, February 4, 2023

WORLD | 05-02-2020 16:17

Pope Francis warns of 'unbearable sacrifices' caused by debt

The Catholic leader spoke before IMF leaders and Economy Minister Martin Guzmán, expressing concern about the social costs of massive debt. In addition, he warned of the consequences of the separation of the financial and real economies.

Pope Francis declared before International Monetary Fund (IMF) authorities that it shouldn’t allow countries to face “unbearable sacrifices” for their people in order to settle their liabilities.

The statement came during a seminar called “New Forms of Solidarity”, which was organised by the Social Sciences Pontifical Academy in Vatican.

This event reunited his homeland's key actors of the debt negotiation, such as Economy Minister Martin Guzmán and IMF new director Kristalina Georgieva.

The Pope criticised the lack of concerns from the Institution over the social costs of massive debt in countries like Argentina.

He claimed that public debt is in many cases first hand contracted to boost economic development to turn later as the linchpin of social exclusion, when it ends up enhancing financial speculation or capital flights.

Ethical imperatives

The moral demands of St. John Paul II in 1991 are surprisingly current today, affirmed the leader of the Catholic Church and quoted: "It is certainly the principle that debts must be paid. It is not right, however, to demand or seek their payment when it would in fact impose political choices that would lead entire populations to hunger and despair.”

"It cannot be claimed that debts incurred are paid with unbearable sacrifices. In these cases it is necessary to find ways of reducing, delaying or extinguishing the debt compatible with the fundamental right of peoples to subsistence and progress," completed Francisco's quote from St. John Paul II.

Consequently, Pope Francis denounced the existence of “sin structures” that includes repeated tax cuts for the wealthiest and the possibility of corruption from the world’s largest corporations.

He implied that tax havens and corporate profits, justified by investment and development rhetorics, can lead to collusion between economic and political worlds at the expense of the neediest population.

With Guzmán and Georgieva sitting next to him, the highest authority of the Catholic Church called for the building of "bridges that will favour the development of a united vision from the point of view of banks, finance, governments and economic decisions".

"I have called the globalization of indifference, ‘inaction’. St. John Paul II called them ‘structures of sin’.” said the Catholic leader. 

Such structures find an atmosphere conducive to their expansion whenever the common good is reduced or limited to certain sectors or when the economy and finance become an end in themselves. It is the idolatry of money, greed and speculation," pointed Francis.

He concluded that the technological exponential expansion will more than ever increase the velocity of exchanges and sources of concentrated profits without the creation of any viable ties to the real economy.



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