Pope Francis recently released his encyclical highlighting the moral imperative to address the climate crisis, massive poverty and the links these two crises have to the globalized capitalist economy.
There were multiple stories with historic significance in the news, but the possible impact this encyclical could have on our global society cannot be overstated.
Worldwide, others have tried to highlight the need for environmental preservation, but none have so bluntly connected the global economic system to both poverty and environmental degradation.
Making this connection, the pope magnifies the moral dimension of the debate over our global economy, bringing a moral voice to a conversation that desperately needs moral leadership.
The reality that unregulated markets concentrate wealth in a few people’s hands and that environmental and social costs of unfettered capitalism continue unabated are signs that capitalism may not be the solution to the world’s problems but may lie at the root of the problems themselves.
We must begin to question some of capitalism’s basic assumptions, such as profits as the basic motivator of human effort, of markets as efficient means to allocate goods and services, that growth is necessary and good, and most importantly, the private ownership of massive multinational corporations by less than 0.01 percent of the world’s population.
As the repercussions of continued inaction begin to compound, a growing number of global citizens are beginning to make the connection between corporate reign with environmental and social exploitation.
If we open our eyes and look around the world, it is obvious the trajectory we are on is unsustainable. It is this observation that drove the pope to sound the alarm, to do what he could, and it is also what must drive each one of us to get involved and help make change, for inaction is morally intolerable.