So, here at midweek, I share an article from Chuck Missler’s Kononia House on the Vatican’s ideas for fixing the economy and the world: one global, financial body. The article looks at how human nature makes the proposal unrealistic.
I see another red flag. An arm of the Church is calling for a Tower of Babel scenario. Trying to solve the world’s problems by unifying under the power of man is a treachery that was judged by God at Babel. It is Satan’s great deception. The lie convinced Adam and Eve to defy God and will convince much of the world to cede power to one man — the son of perdition, the false messiah — in the name of the common good.
To solve the world’s money woes, give power over the world’s financial markets to one group of men. Wait. Ethical men! They have to be ethical. And all the countries get to give input. This is ultimately what the Vatican said on Monday when it called for the creation of a global economic authority as a way to combat the shortsighted greed that has led to the world’s current economic grief. The document was timed to be disseminated prior to the next G20 meeting on the global economy, scheduled for Cannes, France on November 3-4.
Addressing Woes“The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence,” the Vatican has said in an 18-page document from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The document echoes some of the major gripes of the people “occupying” Wall Street and other financial districts in cities around the county – that selfishness and corporate greed have spread economic injustice. While affirming the free market when it comes to material goods, the Vatican points out the massively poor handling of the monetary markets in recent decades, especially when it has come to extending credit on money that doesn’t really exist. The ensuing bankruptcies and failures of major firms have wreaked havoc on the entire economic system. The document also declares that the gap between rich and poor, both on the individual and national scale, has widened. The negative social impacts of the world’s “idolatry of the market” will lead to discord, instability and even violence if left unchecked, the Vatican said. In many ways, these observations are self evident. But what exactly to do about the problems facing us all? Not so much.
The Hardly Modest ProposalThe Vatican first makes the argument that the human race needs to seek unity, saying “the world’s peoples ought to adopt an ethic of solidarity as the animating core of their action. This implies abandoning all forms of petty selfishness and embracing the logic of the global common good which transcends merely contingent, particular interests.” We all need to recognize that we belong to the same human family, the Vatican says. Next, the Vatican argues for greater legal controls on the market, but not just at the national level. The document asserts that global unity is a good thing, and quotes John XXIII’s view in the Encyclical Pacem in Terris of 1963 that there is too little political cooperation on the world level toward the “objective needs of the universal common good.” Even back then, John XXIII hoped that “a true world political authority” would be formed. This global theme has been long in process.
A Global AuthorityThe document released Monday agrees with John XXIII, making the case that the world needs a single monetary authority that can oversee and regulate the financial markets. “In view of the unification of the world engendered by the complex phenomenon of globalization, and of the importance of guaranteeing, in addition to other collective goods, the good of a free, stable world economic and financial system at the service of the real economy, today the teaching of Pacem in Terris appears to be even more vital and worthy of urgent implementation,” the Vatican document declares. The document also reminds the world that the G20 leaders adopted a similar sentiment in Pittsburgh in 2009 when they stated, “The economic crisis demonstrates the importance of ushering in a new era of sustainable global economic activity grounded in responsibility.” While this global financial power should start with the United Nations, the document says, it should go on to become independent, set up slowly and gradually with input from each of the world’s countries. It would operate under the job description of promoting the common good, with a focus on protecting the underdeveloped countries from exploitation by the wealthy countries. Some specifics of the Vatican’s plan would be a global tax on financial transactions that go to help hurting countries. Banks would be provided with public funds contingent on “virtuous” behaviors that would build the “real economy”, and there would be an effort to manage “shadow markets” which have no controls and limits.
Unicorns and GumdropsWhile social justice and global equity are beautiful goals – biblical goals, even – there is a great lack of realism in the Vatican’s proposal. Very few people will be happy about having a bit of global tax taken out every time they cash a check, or buy a shirt, or make other kinds of financial transactions – all so that Greece or Zimbabwe can get bailed out after gross mismanagement. Even more to the point, the plan provides for all countries to have a voice in the formation of this global economic authority, yet the countries of the world rarely come to an agreement about anything. There is always dissension. Two free human beings in a room can rarely agree about the best way to handle a problem. This even applies when the two people have sworn to themselves to love and faithfulness and unity, as the high divorce rates in the civilized world give evidence. Expecting the world to peacefully form a global financial authority on which everybody can agree is more starry eyed than expecting the Palestinian Authority to just hand over the West Bank to Israel. In other words, it would take an act of God. As much as universities teach ethics, and as seriously as the Vatican would promote unity and peace between all peoples, the reality is that human beings are selfish and sinful and terrified of being given the short end of the stick.
Iron PowerTherefore, if there ever is a global authority in this present age with any power at all, it will not be run through peaceful, wise means in which all the countries of the world are represented and protected. There will be no angels at the helm of this global financial authority, meting out equity according to the dictates of harmonious common good like a group of vegetarian, estrogen-balanced women in flowing robes. If it has any real power, it will have to be handled with a fist of iron. Even when the Messiah comes, in all his perfection and wisdom, his protective and providential care for the poor (Isa 11:1-4), his self-sacrificing love for the world (John 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Heb 12:2) and the fact that he is the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6-7), he still reigns with an iron rod (Rev 19:13-15). Because, as a whole, human beings are rotten. It is foolish to expect any global authority set up by humankind to be run with selfless interest in the common good. If it were given any real authority, such a global body would eventually have to dominate, regardless of dissension. “For the common good.”
- Vatican Urges Economic Reforms, Condemns Collective Greed – Reuters
- Vatican Blasts ‘Idolatry’ of Global Markets – Religion News Service
- Full Text: Note On Financial Reform From The Pontifical Council For Justice And Peace – The Vatican Today
- Fed’s Rosengren Says Global Bank ‘Vulnerabilities’ Must Be Fixed – Bloomberg